In January 2016, inspired by reading Cal Newport's blog over the years and his latest book, I started removing things that I thought were distractions in my life . I took inventory and realized that I was spending hours upon hours on social media and watching programs on streaming services. I had this belief that I was using my social media accounts to build community and develop leads for paid clients. I believed that watching programs online was a productive way to relax and unwind.
After spending months removed from social media and online streaming services, I realized that people who used my services typically connected with me via word of mouth referral. I noticed that most of my blog traffic came from my email newsletter or search engines. I also noticed that I was going out more.
After canceling my streaming services and reducing my social media activity, I noticed some subtle changes. I was going to the movie theater alone or with friends more than I had in years. I was writing more frequently and getting great engagement from readers. I started creating some interesting articles on my blog, including the Intellectual Will and the Learn. Grow. Pass digest. I started a craft night with friends, I joined a makerspace, I wrote more letters, and overall had a more engaging social life.
I left digital social media and joined analog social media. This is what Cal Newport describes as "organizations, activities and traditions that require you to interact with interesting people and encounter interesting things in the real world." [emphasis his]
As I was thinking about the theme for this January 2019 newsletter, I toyed around with some ideas about moving on from perfection and just doing your best or talking about how 2019 will be the year we all make change in our lives that move us closer to our potential, or talking about how 2019 marks 10 years of blogging and the many ways I want to celebrate it. However, as I reflected more, I realized that was not what I wanted to talk about.
I have had so much fun over the last two weeks in New York for my winter break and I did nothing, but hang out with friends and socialize in-person; I felt so fulfilled. When I read Cal Newport's blog post a few days ago, I realized that my January 2019 newsletter would be a call to action instead. My call to action is that you reach out to at least two people this year; one new and one old and ask them "would you like to meet up sometime soon?"
I encourage you to go out more and engage with new and old friends in-person or even go out by yourself. Disconnect from the digital world and return to the analog world, even if it is just for one day each month in 2019. Let me know how it goes if you end up doing so.
I hope you all have a wonderful 2019 and as always thank you for reading.
Happy New Year and to all my Haitians, Happy Independence Day.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash