Top 5 – Instagram

@MimiIkonn
@MimiIkonn

If you read my last post about wasting time on your smart phone you might wonder why today I’m writing about Instagram, one of the top time-wasting apps.
If you enjoy spending time on your phone cruising certain apps, you don’t have to eliminate it! Just be more conscious about what you’re looking at and why.
Instagram is one of my favorite apps to tap when I have a down moment during the day. On it I find beauty, encouragement and inspiration for my life. Making sure that I’m not wasting my time looking at pictures that I don’t care about is really important to me, so here’s a list of my favorite accounts. I’m always looking for new ‘grammers’ to follow so let me know your favorites in the comment section!

Top 5 Instagram-ers:
@SheReadsTruth – devotional / inspirational / Bible verses
@MimiIkonn –  style / fashion / travel
@LesleyAnneMurphy – travel / photography / inspiration
@HeyHails – photography / family
@BeautifulDestinations – travel / photography

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.22.57 AM@SheReadsTruth is the Instagram account for the devotional website shereadstruth.com. This is such a wonderful resource that I found because of a long lost acquaintance. That’s something I love about social media: connecting with people from my past! I somehow reconnected with a girl, Ashley (@newdiolsen), from my figure skating childhood on Instagram. Ashley re-posts @shereadstruth photos all the time which I finally checked out one day. It’s a treasure of beautifully crafted images with sweet little captions. She Reads Truth is not just an Instagram with great photos. They have an app, a devotional book, and a daily devotional reading plan geared toward women. Every little gem they post is always a encouragement and a reminder for me to take time out for some Bible reading and prayer.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.27.11 AM@MimiIkonn is super fun. All of her posts are a visual treat. Each photo is full of light, life and color. She posts great outfit ideas, fresh and healthy snacks and great office décor concepts. Whether she’s working in her London office or traveling the world, she always brightens up my Instagram feed. Part of why I find her work inspiring is because I know her incredible entrepreneurial story. She and husband Alex started Luxy Hair, hair extension company, years ago and have worked hard to grow it into the successful business it is today! Seeing someone work hard and achieve their dreams gives me the encouragement to pursue my own.

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Thailand

@LesleyAnnMurphy is a world-renowned traveller. You never know what part of the world her next post is going to come from but each and every picture is flawless. I initially found her because she was a contestant on ABC’s the Bachelor. She never posts a poor quality photo. Its a great reminder to me to do everything well. There is never a good reason to do things poorly, even if its just posting grainy, out of focus picture. Seeing all of the amazing places Les travels to excites me to save money when I can and plan my next trip to see the world for myself!


Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.34.32 AM@heyhails happens to be my cousin’s lovely wife so I am definitely biased to like her Instagram. The daily pictures of her and my cousin’s sweet family of two little boys never get old. Having ridiculously cute kids helps, but her mastery of light is her true super-power. The great angles, expressions and moods that she catches with her camera offer a glimpse into the human soul. The cute, no-nonsense comments she Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.35.44 AMadds enhance your understanding of what’s really going on in the picture but more importantly also offer some real insight into the struggles of being a mother today. This is a great time to mention that when optimizing or cleansing your social media you don’t have to only follow the most popular Instagram-ers. Sometimes your own family and friends are the most creative and insightful. You should always follow family and friends that are close to your heart.

 

 

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Mcway Falls

@beautifuldestinations is a top Instagram staple for me. They are one of the most prolific travel Instagrams with over 4 million followers. Sometimes their photos feel a little over-produced and commercial, but I stick with them because of the variety of places they highlight every day. Whether its Uttar Pradesh, India, Albuquerque, New Mexico or Mont Saint Michele, France I’m intrigued by the crazy places in the photos. I also really appreciate the information they post in the caption about where the photo was taken and by whom. The dreams I have of seeing the world are refreshed and renewed every time I see one of their photos.

I’ve crafted my Insta-experience to give me the inspiration, encouragement and visual refreshment I desire. When I tap that brown lens on my phone screen I want to know that I’ll see something that will encourage, inspire and uplift my spirits.
Don’t be afraid to un-follow someone whose not adding to the experience you want to have and always search for new posters that can inspire and teach you about something you never knew!

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Oh and hey, follow me!!! @janakates_ (don’t forget that dang underscore at the end! Whoever stole @janakates, why did you take it if you’re not going to do anything with it… )

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SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIMIZATION – aka STOP WASTING TIME

2015-09-08 23.05.28The idea of going on a social media fast is about as appealing as going on a food fast. However, just as fasting from eating for a short time can have benefits, limiting social media can help you refocus on what’s important. Having the interests and career that I do, there isn’t really a feasible way for me to unplug from social media totally. For me, limiting and optimizing it to be efficient is not only possible but necessary.

With that in mind I am transforming my social media habits to increase my effectiveness and productivity throughout the day. The next time you go to look at your phone for something other than to answer a call or a text, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Maybe you’re bored, you want to find something, or you’re doing it out of habit. Break that habit now. If that means you have to delete all your social media apps for a week then do it! There are 100 better ways to spend your time than looking at every post on your feed.

Don’t just trust yourself to not open an app you’re addicted to. Delete it. This doesn’t do anything to your account or data. It just gives you the accountability of having a barrier. If you get really desperate you can always re-download the app or log in from your phone’s Internet browser.

sc“But I just look at it in my down time!” you cry in defense! I’m not really wasting any time.
I beg to differ. If you open Snapchat 10 times a day and spend 30 seconds on it each time, you’re spending over two hours a month looking at and sending pictures that disappear after a few seconds. Multiply the number of other social media outlets you use and the amount of time you spend on each of them per day and you’re wasting hours of time every month.

You know there are better ways you could spend that time. For example, how many books have you read this year? President Teddy Roosevelt read tens of thousands of books in his lifetime. How could someone as important and busy as the President of the United States have the time to read that many books?
Simple, he didn’t have a smart phone or a Facebook account.

kaI, like many of you, have the bad habit of opening my phone during down time. What I did recently to improve my smart phone experience is install Amazon’s Kindle app. That way, if I have an extra minute or two during the day I can open up the book I’m reading and make a couple pages progress learning something important.

Another app I installed on my phone is Stitcher. This is an app that is used to stream podcasts. The beauty of Stitcher is that it can give you anything you want. You can learn a new language in just a few minutes per day with a foreign language learning app. You can listen to the news in condensed segments with NPR, and you can learn about all of the random things you should have already learned about in the popular “Stuff You Should Know” podcast. st
Listen while you’re driving, working out, cleaning or working, if your job allows. In fact, if you get really desperate you can listen to a podcast while your browsing Instagram. At least you’ll be learning something while you look at girls doing yoga on stand up paddle boards! (I’ll review my top 5 favorite podcasts in a later post.)

We all like watching funny videos of cute animals or our silly friends on Facebook but there’s no need to waste so much of our valuable time on them. Spend every minute of your day smarter and think about what you can do to optimize your social media to have a more productive and efficient life.

Tell me about your social media / smart phone hacks in the comment section below!

 

 

 

crazy girl

Crazy girl, don’t you know that I love you…
My mind is so full of wild memories with you. Singing our hearts out in the truck, skating our souls out in ice skating practice, crying at our losses and laughing about the good times until it hurts. Who knew what a beautiful, wild life we’d have? When I see you today and I’m amazed by the person you’ve become, so caring and loving.

2014-05-18 18.43.47The next thing I think of is: I’m sorry I haven’t always been there for you. I’ve been silly and distracted. Seeing that now makes me so sad!

Its funny how life changes, unexpectedly and all at once and it leaves you sitting on the cold hard floor looking around wondering where you are and how you got there.

When I found myself there I looked up and Jesus was smiling, telling me to get up and that everything would be okay. As He helped me up from my puddle of tears and brokenness; He wiped my eyes and pointed at the setting sun.

There it was, setting on a chapter in my life with flames of orange, pink, and yellow that licked the rugged Rocky Mountains and drew silver linings around the deep blue clouds above. A part of my life had ended and I smiled as I watched the vibrant colors fade to purple and then deep blue and finally gray. That part of my story was filled with pages of laughter, tears, achievements and failures.

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One of the most glaring failures was my neglect of you little sister. Who was there, in the depths of my despair…yep, it was lil K-ditty.

When you’re going through life at the speed of sound and everything is crazy and normal sometimes the most important people in your life become like the living room furniture. You walk right by them and you don’t even see them. You sit on them, spill things on them and after a while they get messy and start falling apart.

Just like a dilapidated house falls apart, each nail becoming rusty and every little layer of dust piling upon itself, relationships don’t fall apart suddenly.

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Society hands us a cell phone smarter than the supercomputers that got us to the moon; gives us 300 channels to watch on tv; tells us to climb ladders to build our careers; take extravagant vacations; nurture our perfect little families; party it up with our fabulous friends and then post every glorious moment on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the world to admire and envy.

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But lets not transfer the blame to where it doesn’t belong. Society is a problem, yes, but who lives in that society? What people have built this society…? Something bigger and much closer to home is at the root of all of these shenanigans…

We are often so selfish that we can’t even see past our Insta-filtered noses to realize that WE are our own biggest problem. I can sit here for hours and blame my friends, my ex, my job, my church, my fitness routine …my…my… for the reason I neglected one of the people that means the most to me.

It was my fault. My problem.

Jesus is always saving me from myself. Sometimes it takes drastic measures for Him to get my self-absorbed attention, but He always knows what He needs to do. I believe that every good and perfect thing comes from above, and that God is not capable of doing bad things.

It takes some heavenly perspective sometimes to see that what He is doing is ultimately for the good and sometimes He is gracious enough to show us what He’s doing. I’m so thankful that He cared enough to wake me up to show me what I have and what I was looking right past.

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So here’s to making more memories, learning from the past and laughing about every crazy thing that happens to us. Happy Birthday little sister! I love you so much and for all the glorious years to come!