4 ways to balance maintaining an online presence and living in the moment

That’s me, taking an obligatory photo of ramen before I even eat it.

When I’m out and about, there is one thing I can never, ever help but do 99 percent of the time: if there’s something aesthetically pleasing, I will take a picture of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a plate of garlic fries, a breathtaking mountain, a romantically lit hotel room or a dog with adorable eyes:

If it’s pretty, there will be an image of it recorded on my camera(phone).

It has long been second nature for me to document anything and everything I encounter while exploring, and more recently, that habit remains partly because of this blog.

As much as I enjoy snapping photos and sharing stories, the habit comes at the price of being less indulged in the moment. It’s so easy to get caught up in making sure the photo is as close to perfect as can possibly be, just as it is easy to get lost in jotting down a bunch of notes for a potential blog post.

So there has to be a balance.

Here are four steps I’m working on taking to both collect content for this blog and social media, and being as fully present as possible during times of adventure:

  1. Don’t live post

    I actually already live by this rule 95 percent of the time, and it is a tremendous help. Why waste time announcing to the world where you are or what you see, when you could actually be taking it in? If there’s a picturesque scene in front of me and I absolutely can’t resist taking a picture (which, as established above, is hardly ever), I’ll snap a photo and upload it later. I’ll record what I see as quickly as possible (at least I like to think I do it quickly :P) and get back to enjoying what’s in front of me. I’ll share it with everyone else, too, but later 🙂

  2. Set a limit to how many minutes you can hold your camera per scene/the number of photos you can take

    I’m kind of obsessed with getting good angles of everything. Especially food. But I’ve come to realize that taking photos of the burger in my tray for five straight minutes is way too much: the food’s already getting cold by then!!! There’s no way that all of the 20 photos I’ve shot aren’t good enough for social media. One of them has to be worthy of FacebookInstagram and the blog! So, I’ve started limiting the time my camera can be out for photographing my meals. Lately I’ve been cutting it down to what I believe is one to two minutes. (I know – that’s still pretty sad. Lol.) Maybe soon, I’ll consider limiting myself to three or five photos.

  3. Delete the social media apps off the phone 

    This is something I actually had to do while I was in Chicago. I became so determined to upload perfectly composed photos of Millennium Park and The Bean that I was more excited about that than actually enjoying the city! So, I took a deep breath, deleted some apps and readjusted my mindset: take quick pics and keep moving forward. Although I could have easily downloaded the apps again, I managed to survive without them for several days, and it immensely improved the quality of my Chicago experience. (My goodness, what has the world come to. I “survived” without the apps. Hahaha :P)

  4. Don’t take photos or notes

    I rarely do this, although it has happened a handful of times. There are actually meals I’ll dig right into without documenting, and there are times when I won’t jot notes down. Those are experiences I usually won’t write about because blog posts are better with visual content. But they’re also some of my most vivid experiences and ones I’m most present in.

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