This is a post that I wrote almost a week and a half ago and for some reason just couldn’t work up the courage to post it. I think it’s been so long since I’ve gotten myself to post something that I’ve been worried that it wouldn’t be as good as it used to be, but I finally wanted to make the push to put this post out there. So with that said, I hope you enjoy!
Several weeks ago, a foreman of one of my subcontractor’s asked me, “What would you do if you worked at FedEx or UPS, and a new employee you just hired as a delivery drive showed up without his driver’s license?” At the time, he was setting me up to try to be a part of picking on one of his new employees who showed up to his first day without any tools. But it made me think, “Each day, am I bringing the right tools to accomplish the tasks I set out to do?”
There’s a number of different things I want to try to do each day. When I’m at work, I typically like to make To-Do lists for myself to help keep my day organized – it also helps me to track what I’m getting accomplished. I’ve also learned that I’m a very visual person. Seeing items on that list and seeing them get crossed off helps me process through my day. The point is, whether we’re working, or doing chores around the house, or even just having a relaxing day, we’re setting out to do something.
I believe it’s important to identify the proper tools that you need in order to do the work you desire. This usually isn’t too difficult. If you have something to build, maybe a hammer, a drill, nails/screws, wood.. you get the picture. Maybe you’re just relaxing and need very few tools, like a good book or a game to play.
However, just like it’s important to identify the tools you need, I believe it is equally important to identify what tools you are carrying that are not needed for the task at hand. We live in a world that, quite understandably, fosters (and even expects) preparedness. I don’t think there’s a problem with that at all. I like to be prepared for what’s coming.
The problem is this: we start carrying all these tools at once, every tool we’ve ever needed, just in case that one oddly specific task that will never happen again comes back up. Not only does the weight of all these tools sometimes, overbear on us, but I feel it makes us more anxious; we become hyper-aware and our brains are constantly looking for the time we may need to use something again, to the point that it sometimes starts to take us out of the moment.
One of the tools I’ve realized I’ve been carrying that I don’t really need is certain outlets of social media, especially on my phone. The irony of this, of course, is that even writing and sharing this post is occurring on a form of social media. Don’t get me wrong, social media is a wonderful tool and a blessing of technology that gives us the opportunity to stay connected. But from working in construction, you learn quickly in safety meetings that sometimes, not all tools are used exactly what they’re meant for.
Social media, like Facebook and Instagram, became vacuums that just sucked away time out of my day. Instead of staying connected, I was staying distracted. So I decided to put those tools down. I uninstalled both Facebook and Instagram from my phone. The extent of my reliance on these platforms became apparent when I would still open the folder on my phone that previously contained these apps, and I would blankly press on the void formerly filled by their icons.
It’s taken some getting used to – I’ve been at it for a week so far. I haven’t yet felt tempted to re-install anything. When appropriate, I do still pick up the tools: I’ve used Facebook once to have a video call with five of my close friends from college and I will be using it again to share this post. I’m trying to make sure I’m putting down the tools that I don’t need when I’m not using them because, after all, it’s really tiring to carry all of that extra weight. I’ve learned also that if you’re always carrying every tool on you, it’s a lot easier to feel tempted to use it for something it’s not meant to be used for, like a distraction instead of connection in this case.
It’s not as if I’m getting rid of the tools entirely, when I’ve re-programmed my brain a little bit more, I may try re-installing and focusing on proper use. If anything, I’m trying to make sure I learn the real purpose of the tools God has already given me.
My brother and I talk a lot about taking steps to reduce the amount of stress we carry and reduce the amount of energy we spend on things that aren’t worthy of that much attention. That’s something to expand more on in another post, but I’ve found that it applies to this in how much energy I have to invest in more productive endeavors than scrolling through social media.
Honestly, I hadn’t really been feeling too motivated to write anything lately either. My days consisted of waking up early, working, eating dinner, and then getting ready for bed and spending the last bit of my day wasted away on social media, as well as intermittent spots throughout the day. Instead, now that I’m not worried about who posted what or how many like that picture got, I have more time to invest in what kind of message I want to be sending and to think about how I want to share that message.
The additional time has brought back my desire to spend time investing more deeply in my own faith, my work, my writing, and my friendships. So expect to start seeing a little more again.
To God be the Glory.