What began as an experiment to better manage my focus and attention with my work online, has become a theme for every other aspect of my life. From my fitness to my relationships, and even my day-to-day, this particular concept has made a radical impact.
I make better, more thoughtful, decisions now. I can more easily decline distractions that want my attention. And, it feels much more ‘in charge’ to operate with this concept. I only meant to impact my work quality, but it’s been fascinating to see the concept play out in other areas of my life as well…
I was listening to Katy Bowman’s talk about how social media is still shaping our lives and in this particular talk, Katy shared an analogy that has become the Major Concept That Has Influenced My Life Lately, which was this:
Prune your tree if you want it to grow nicely.
In short, Katy had noticed that the amount of places online that we give our attention to has grown tremendously in the last few years. Whether you’re a business owner or not, there are an abundance of places that you could post things, reply to things, like things, comment on things, manage things, and just be a busy person tending to so many things!
What she was explaining about trees was exactly what I was learning about edible plants in a class I took recently – energy needs to be directed to create specific outcomes.
Should the plant focus on bearing more fruit? Or building a deeper root structure? Or making really big leaves to get as much sunlight as possible? All these things require focusing of the energy, and pruning a tree or plant helps it to do just that. When we don’t do that for a tree or plant by pruning it, we make it more unruly and less likely to bear an abundance of fruit.
Katy drew the parallel to all the places we give our energy in our online world. If I took a look at my “online tree” and was very intentional about where I placed my energy – two things would happen.
One, I’d ‘bear more fruit’ in the places I direct my attention. And two, I’d let go of feeling guilty about trying to tend to all the parts of the online tree that I don’t really love but that suck up my time, and in turn, take away from the other places where my energy is best directed.
Pruning my tree online
This began as small pruning to focus the direction of growth for my ‘leaves’ – that is, my social media presence, my blog, and my newsletters I send out.
(UPDATE July 2019: The small pruning jobs I started with were a great start, and as I’ve learned more about how to direct energy for the health of the “plant”, ie, ME and by default my business as an extension of ME, I’m taking larger actions to prune my leaves of my online work and personal space. Next to each of the original small pruning jobs I listed below, I’ve added the updates of what I’m doing now to prune my tree…)
My Unbreakable Body Instagram is for letting you know about things I’ve posted to the blog, and videos of what I’m up to in my day-to-day.
This pruning has been useful for directing the energy that I’m putting toward social media to be specific to what I want that leaf of my tree to look and act like. But now I’m coming up on a time when I need to direct all energy to the root structure of my tree – projects and writing that, very much like the roots of a tree, will support me and fuel me for a long time to come. And my social media leaves are sucking up energy that needs to be sent to to those roots.
In order to make deeper, stronger, healthier, roots I will be taking the energy that goes into my social media leaves and cutting it off for a 30 day period, starting August 16 and running through mid-September. If you like using social media to access articles from my website, those links will still be up on both my Instagram and facebook page during my 30 day cut off.
Here on the The Unbreakable Body blog will be every fitness and health related thing that I need to teach and that provides me more space to teach it adequately.
Remember in the old days when we bookmarked blogs and visited them directly to see if anything new had been published or to read archives of previously published blogs? I’m a fan of this direct-to-consumer sort of teaching/reading/sharing/consuming. There are currently enough free articles on my website to keep you occupied with one article a day for more than five months! I will be continuing to add to this list as I share most of my teaching on my own website in a more enriching format than social media can provide.
On a more personal level, my Kate Galliett Instagram is for me to share my passions, ie, those things I do with my own unbreakable body.
The 30 day cut-off period for my work social media will apply here as well. That cut-off starts Aug 16.
So what has ‘pruning my tree’ felt like?
As for me, I immediately felt more focused in how I placed my attention. My pruned tree also felt more organized, which impacted my state of mind in a positive way.
These results for how I work and how my readers get to engage with the work I create have been great. But the real surprise was how the ‘prune the tree’ concept worked its way into the rest of my life.
In my Fitness Life, it was a new lens to look through when considering how to spend my time taking care of my body. Where do I want to ‘bear fruit’ in my movement and fitness capabilities? Then I need to give my energy and attention there.
In my Relationships Life, the concept of pruning the tree so it bears fruit and looks and acts how you want it to carried over as well. How do I want my various relationships in my life to look and feel? Where are they a bit unruly and how can I prune them so they grow in a more healthy and harmonious way?
And in my Day-to-Day Life, I discovered how great it feels to do lots of little bits of pruning and attention-giving that all together makes up a well-cared for weekly/monthly tree.
In short, pruning the various trees that make up my life has helped me find focus and peace far beyond what I anticipated.
Now what about your trees – both online and otherwise. How many branches do you have? What sorts of fruit do they bear, if any? Is your tree unruly? What’s on your tree that you’d really like to cut off like an old dead branch? If this concept resonates with you at all, give it a try! If nothing else, it’s very helpful to take stock of your life and its various components by using the tree analogy.
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