I wrote this blog back in 2015, in it I explain how technology, phones and social media, is draining. My life has changed significantly since then so I am going to explain how technology affects my life now.
I have my own business…wooo get me! (Update – Business closed in Sept 2018 to set up Stripy Lightbulb CIC) I offer social media marketing and proofreading to businesses (and students). Initially, on the surface, self-employment seems a good choice for someone with a chronic illness who struggles to work full time for employers. I work from home, set my own hours and can take as many rest breaks as I need. However, it also means I can’t share my workload on my bad M.E days. The work still needs to be done. I am now the whole package: IT dept, finance, HR, social media, marketing etc etc. I LOVE it. But, there is a lot of screen work involved in my day to day life and it does catch up with me.
As I said in my 2015 blog, social media is incredibly draining. I do it because I love it, but it takes a phenomenal amount of energy. So, I post at least 5 times a day for each client. I have to research what to post, think about how to convey the message, search for website URLs to post, design content, schedule posts etc. All of which require brain cells to be alive and kicking! I am finding that by 2pm every day, I have to take a very long ‘power nap’. I restart work in the evening after I have rested.
It is tricky to explain what brain drain feels like but I’ll give it a go. So, imagine you have an acorn-sized ‘hub’ in the centre of your brain. When it is working correctly you can’t feel it. But, as time goes on, with lots of looking at blue-lit screens, it feels like the acorn is throbbing and causing waves within your brain. The acorn becomes painful and starts to cause puffy/painful glands, a sore throat, slurred speech, headache and neck pain. It becomes exceptionally difficult to process thoughts and body functions get slower and slower. It is 100% impossible to push through. My body is telling me to stop. I can’t ignore it as I am grinding to a halt whether I want to or not.
I dream of having a phone with buttons again, but know that is impossible now. I am on call 24/7 online. I now have 10 different social media accounts linked to my phone. I have set my phone settings to have a minimum amount of alerts, otherwise I think I would go slightly potty! But, I still have alerts through every 5 minutes or so. In theory, this is great because it means I am good at my job! But, when I have been hit by a tsunami of M.E-ness…it’s not so good. I have become very good at turning my phone off at 9pm though. Thus giving myself an hour to wind down as much as possible before bed at 10pm. I also try not to do client work post-6pm. Because that work pays my bills it is done first thing in the morning when I have the most energy. My own business and Foggy gets done later in the day. Energy levels dictate my daily routine and work schedule. If I have a networking event to go to, usually 6pm-8.30pm, I have to restrict activities for a couple of days before and meticulously plan my workload so that I have the energy to schmooze with other business people effectively. As we all know, I know, to the hour, that my M.E payback will hit 2 days after the networking event so plan my workload accordingly.
There are perks to being self-employed but be warned the workload can be overwhelming. Being able to rest regularly and not having to fit in with someone else’s timetable is worth its weight in gold though.
Sally (and Foggy OBVIOUSLY)