August 2015 - Small business consultant

Monthly Archives: August 2015

Dealing with digital overwhelm

Last week I wrote about FOMO and how social media changes our brain chemistry to elicit the fear of missing out.

This week I am sharing some tips I have used over time to reduce my feeling of overwhelm. As a social media manager, I need to be across the platforms my clients would use. This can mean a lot of digital information and notifications.

Email was probably my introduction to FOMO. I have used a number of techniques to control it, from: setting email times, categorising emails, using folders to organise emails, turning off notifications for new emails. My favourite has to be for the subscription emails. I tend to use Gmail for the majority of my subscriptions. Subscriptions are collated into a daily digest and delivered as thumbnails in one email. You can check it out at .

Ever feel that your Facebook Newsfeed is full of sales pitches rather than friend updates? Don’t forget that you can unlike and unfollow pages, removing them from your feed.
Friends constantly posting updates or stalking your photos? Create friends lists, add them to it and change the settings for the lists.
Speaking of lists, adding pages to lists gives you a way to keep up with their posts but without having to follow them and see them in your Newsfeed.

Overwhelmed by notifications of new scopes or invitations to watch other peoples’ scopes?
When I first started on Periscope I followed everyone. It’s even recommended that you follow those on the Recommendations list from your Twitter. As numbers on the platform grew & I began to network wider, the numbers in my list grew and so did my notifications. It got to the point that it would take 5 minutes for me to go through my notifications from overnight. There were those I followed and their scopes and their suggestions to join a scope they shared. Let’s say there were a lot of notifications. So what did I do?
The first thing I did was block the person sending the most notifications, it’s ok you can now mute Notifications and it has the same effect – you aren’t notified when they scope or when they share. This means that you need to actively go into their profile to watch their replays. The next thing I did was to unfollow A LOT of people. Let’s face it, while it’s nice to be supportive, unless I am going on to their scopes and giving that immediate feedback – it’s not supporting.
I have also silenced all notifications, that way I only see a little periscope icon on my phone. I can then choose when I go in to watch them, rather than running like Pavlov’s dog to see what is happening.
I now have my phone permanently on vibrate. My screen lights up when a phone call is coming in & my phone is open next to me as I work. I no longer have the constant ping of notifications, which removes the distraction of FOMO and allows me to concentrate on the tasks at hand.

All of my actions are intentional. I do this to honour my time – my time for my clients, my family, and myself. I do this to respect my sanity and the influences on my brain chemistry. I do this to remove anxiety, thereby leaving me calmer to achieve my goals. I’m unashamed in this because my time is precious and I want to make sure that every action gets me closer to my goals.

FOMO and social media

FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out is a common phenomenon in our information and digital economy. Some people wear it as a badge of honour, whereas others it is the first step towards overwhelm and the gripping need for a digital detox.

Fear is an important emotion and it serves us when keeping us safe. However, when applied to non-life threatening situation, fear can become irrational and self-serving.

FOMO is not new, ‘Keeping up with the Jones’’ is something people have experienced for an extraordinary length of time. In this day and age, FOMO is moving from the tangible to the intangible. People are also fearful of missing out on the latest gossip, news, updates, snippet of information, latest development, top fashion, hit song, new movie, latest catch-up, latest breakup, and not to mention what the celebrities are up to!

This fear, or FOMO, is sometimes expressed as feelings of being addicted to a social media platform. Think of how people feel when they hear the ping of a new email, the notification of a new Facebook post or comment, a new Blab, Periscope or Meerkat, and the NEED to go and investigate what lies within.

It’s timely that I came across a Buffer Social article outlining the brain chemistry response to social media and how it influences our behaviour. In summary, they found two main changes. The first was a rise in Dopamine, the chemical responsible for want and need. Dopamine production, is stimulated in response to small snippets of information paired with a reward. That sounds like most social media platforms! Oxytocin was the second neurotransmitter, this is the love hormone and is incredibly powerful in maternal bonding. Researchers saw an increase in Oxytocin equal to what some would experience at their own wedding in just 10 minutes of social media use.

So with these strong chemicals on board, it is no wonder that people feel addicted to social media. With continuous hits of these strong neurochemicals our brains are becoming addicted.

Watch this video to see me discuss FOMO and your brain.

What to do when you are lost for blog ideas.

I admit that some weeks, I am pulling blog ideas out of thin air at the eleventh hour. With two blogs for two distinct businesses, I have used a variety of prompts to help me blog consistently throughout the years.

Why I blog

I blog for my website’s benefit. I blog purely to keep my website fresh & the Google Algorithm happy. I blog to help me curate keywords for my SEO. I know it’s not the most tree-huggy answer, but it’s the truth. It’s why I recommend it to my clients. Let’s face it, it is keeping one of my clients in customers – and her blog is hidden!

How often I blog

I blog weekly for Write to Right and I blog monthly for my hair accessory business. Not too onerous, except when the weeks coincide! I admit that weekly blogging is about my limit and that I found it difficult at the start. It used to take me 3 days to draft, mark-up, and do the corresponding email; now I can get it all done in 5 hours. Oh and that’s for a thousand word blog.

What I don’t blog about

I am not a mommy blogger. It’s not me. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with it, it’s just not my style. I do not do paid endorsements. I rarely even do endorsements! When I have endorsed, it has been products I have used and happily put my name behind.

But what I will tell you are some of the ways I create blogs when I don’t have a topic. What I will say is that you need to direct your topic to your goals and to inspire your ideal client.


Run a Q&A or FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) blog. This is a great way to help you with educating your clients. It is also a great way to develop business policy. It is also a resource that you can repurpose.

Write about yourself, what inspires you, what drove you to start your business. Open the doors to make connections with your customers and grow your relationships.

Product Review

Review your own products. Write up the features and benefits of the item. Start with your most popular products and build the library. Not only can you drive sales from the blog, you can add value to your sales pages. These are great blogs to repurpose across your social media presence.

Lookbook of tools

Create a curated post of links to your favourite tools or products and how and why you use them. Warning: let people know if you are using an affiliate link and you will get a kickback from their purchase.

Book of favourite FB posts

Facebook is a great way to test what your clients like. On my hair accessory business page I share a number of hairstyles, so one month I built a blog post with the favourite hairstyles I had done at home. This is also a great way to showcase relevant products or services and value add for your clients.

Use a magazine title from one of the niche’s fave mags

Magazines have tried and tested titles. Use their expertise and replace their subject with yours.

Counter a popular belief or stance

Countering a popular belief has been one of my most popular blogs. Provide a convincing argument, with counter-points to support your point of view. This isn’t for the faint-hearted. Promoting a counter-point to a popular opinion can give rise to an angry following, but if you have convincing arguments then you will be fine.

Do you have any other blog starters you use? Do you blog? Does your blog take on a particular style? What benefits do you gain from blogging? Do you re-purpose your blogs?