Finding Balance

Watching March Madness live in an arena became a goal of mine as a child.

You could say I was obsessed with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. I filled out homemade brackets every Selection Sunday in elementary school. By the time I reached middle school, I made and won bets on games with my teachers (much to their chagrin). I loved the excitement and drama  the event brought every year.

One career highlight for me as a sports reporter has been covering March Madness. I’ve reported on several first and second round games over the years. Along the way, I’ve witnessed incredible upsets and fantastic finishes that created fun memories for me.

On the other hand, I experienced a downside to covering this event only a few years ago. I bit off more than I could chew during the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Starting with Selection Sunday, I wrote a total of 30 articles over seven days for four different clients. I convinced myself that I could handle it because I loved March Madness so much anyway.

I could not have been more wrong.

I struggled with the onerous workload. I missed celebrating my birthday that year because I worked nonstop the entire week. By the time the second round games wrapped up, I straddled a razor thin edge of suffering a nervous breakdown, in part, because of one particularly demanding editor.

All Work, No Play

Balance isn’t a concept reserved for Anakin Skywalker and the Force.

Everyone needs time for themselves. When you try to be all things to all people, it becomes a sure formula for causing your life to spiral out of control.

I’m learning that lesson a second time.

I need to take balanced approach toward my social media activities or risk destroying myself physically and mentally. As 2019 progressed, I found myself becoming increasingly angry, stressed, and depressed over the workload I faced while seemingly watching my life waste away. I’ve tried to find ways to reduce my workload and decrease stress, but I found little success in those endeavors up to this point.

One major source of my unhappiness, I realized, is rooted how much time I spend on Twitter and Facebook. It isn’t a healthy amount. As soon as I started being honest with myself, I discovered I spend far too much time on these social media channels. Twitter especially has grown into a huge problem for me. I worry so much about sharing breaking news, analysis, stats, and related items around the clock that I’ve let it turn into a detriment to living a meaningful life outside of my job.

That changes now.

Turning a New Leaf

Going forward into 2020 and beyond, I will be dialing back the frequency of my tweeting and sharing on social media. This doesn’t mean that I’m quitting or shutting down my accounts. As much as I’d like to take such a final step, it isn’t a viable option in my current profession. That doesn’t mean I can’t take control in other ways.

I will no longer send out a large volume of live tweets during games that I’m assigned to cover. When I don’t have a reporting assignment for a game involving teams I cover, I may choose to not tweet at all. This will make it easier to carve out time to pursue interests outside of sports or simply enjoy a night off as needed. My time spent on Twitter will be significantly reduced, so I can focus on making my life happier going forward.

What will I tweet about when I do tweet?

  • Much of my sports content will focus on unusual or noteworthy stats, trends, milestones, quotes and fun facts. Sharing these items is an area of strength for me as a sports journalist.
  • Other content will consist of links to blog posts, book reviews, and my books; news on my fiction, thought provoking questions, and occasional funny quotes or jokes.

I want to create a better experience for myself on social media. I want to create a healthy balance between my online activity and my real life. Life is not designed to be frittered away on Twitter and Facebook.

Now I intend to resume living the bulk of my life offline rather than online.