meganatkinsonslife

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Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 14.11.49.pngSocial media can be toxic. Don’t get me wrong, making autumn Pinterest boards and stalking people’s Instagram feeds can be fun, but when you’re being fed a constant stream of negative political news, it can get pretty overwhelming. Over the last six months or so, I’ve got WAY better at limiting my social media usage; I NEVER procrastinate by mindlessly scrolling down my twitter feed anymore and most weekends I delete all my social media apps and take a break. Recently, I went on holiday with my family and had a five day social media detox…and I didn’t miss the internet one bit. I paid attention to real life, enjoyed my surroundings and didn’t worry about tweeting to let everyone know about it.

My break from social media was partly prompted by Copper Garden’s post about losing her phone at sea, and Hannah Witton’s video about her break from the digital world. Both detoxes had positive results, so I decided it was about time to have one myself. I will point out that I did actually use my phone throughout the week for music and downloaded Netflix shows, but even though my apartment had wifi, I was not once tempted to use it. In fact, I liked being disconnected from the internet so much that when I turned my phone off aeroplane mode out of habit, I switched it straight back on. It sounds weird to say, but I actually became scared of notifications; I didn’t want any messages to come through because that meant I had the job of replying to them, and if I didn’t, it would constantly be in the back of my mind.

Bare with my metaphor here, but being away from social media made my life feel like a full glass of 100% pure orange juice. Whatever I was doing I was 100% focused on experiencing and enjoying it, and now I realise that life with social media is like a glass of cordial; Its diluted and you’re never really focused on one thing if you’re checking your phone every five minutes. My social media detox taught me a valuable lesson; if I want a better quality of life, I need to make sure I designate time to certain activities so everything I do feels like 100% fresh orange juice. If I’m watching TV, I’m paying attention to the storyline, not having it on in the background whilst checking twitter. If I’m writing blog posts, I’m putting all of my energy into them, not writing a few sentences then checking YouTube. If I’m checking social media, I’m catching up on the people worth paying attention to and the content I’m actually interested in. Nothings getting diluted anymore.

I’d recommend taking a social media detox to anyone, whether you’re on holiday or not, its nice to take a break from the sometimes overwhelming digital world. Megan x

P.S Have any of you taken a social media detox before? If so, did it impact you positively? Leave a comment and let me know!

P.P.S I have nothing against actual cordial juice. I drink it more than fresh orange juice, but lets just appreciate the metaphor.

gap year update pin

Two months of my gap year have gone by already and I can’t quite believe how quick its going! If you missed my gap year goals and one month gap year update I talked about the main things I wanted to achieve during my gap year and how I’d spent my first month, so today I’m back with another update on how my second month has gone. I’ll forewarn you, its not as exciting or packed as July but there are still some things I want to share.

Week 1

Theres not really much to say about week one apart from I wasn’t very happy with my content. I’m finding that everytime I think I know where I’m going with my blog and channel I change my mind or theres something just not quite right about what I’m producing. I suppose thats just part of the ‘blogging journey’ though (cringe, sorry), and I’m learning that to make posts and videos I’m proud of I’ll have to make some not so good ones first to get all of my mistakes out of the way.

Week 2

I didn’t post on my blog or channel during week two because I’d over thought everything so much during week one, but I felt WAY more creative after having a photography day at the Farne Islands. I spent the whole day offline taking photos and it really calmed me down and reassured me that I want to focus a lot more on photography based content.

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One Of My Favourite Images From The Farne Islands

Week 3

The third week of August was a big one. I got my A level results (DCB, if you’re wondering) and made the definite decision to take a gap year. After results day I was a lot less stressed; the big gap year decision was officially made and I didn’t have the option to go through clearing anymore, so I knew I couldn’t back out of my choice. I started to properly research programmes I could take part in and found the BFI Academy, a film school for 15-19 year olds, and applied. Of course, I don’t know whether I’ve got in yet, but I got a ‘gold star for first application’ and it felt great to be proactive about my future. I also started applying for jobs so I can get some work experience and save for travelling next year.

netflix-6.png

Opening My A Level Results

Week 4

Things picked up a bit during week four, I started my gap year mini series on my blog and channel and I finally started to feel confident in my niche. I had another photography day at Blackpool Zoo and the set of photos I produced are probably the best I’ve ever done! It felt SO good to produce work I was truly proud of and I think I got through my images, edited them and made them into a blog post quicker than I’ve ever done before because I was so pleased with them!

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A Sneak Peak Of My Blackpool Zoo Post!

Week 5

I definitely saved the best week of the month till last! I started to get a real idea of how I could travel and make my way around the world doing things I love; I’ve found a sailing programme I plan on doing which will allow me to work on yachts all over the world, a photography job on a yacht I’m *praying* I get next summer, and have also been looking into other courses I can complete like a scuba diving instructor certificate and a skiing instructor programme. I also had a HUGE brainwave of ideas for my blog and channel that all fit into my gap year niche and I’m feeling SO optomistic about what I’m going to be doing and producing in the future. You never know, I might end up taking two gap years! I finished the month by taking a family holiday to Majorca and it was so nice to stay off social media for five whole days and enjoy time in the sun.20 (1 of 1)

 

Social Media Goals

Start of the month

YouTube- 52 Subscribers

Blog-0

Monthly Page Views-261 (July)

Monthly Visitors- 66 (July)

Bloglovin-9

DA-1

Instagram-240

Twitter-780

Pinterest-5

Goals

YouTube- 500 Subscribers

Blog- 100

Monthly Page Views- 500

Monthly Visitors-150

Bloglovin-100

DA-10

Instagram-500

Twitter-1500

Pinterest-100

End of the month

YouTube-69

Blog-1

Monthly Page Views-197

Monthly Visitors-55

Bloglovin-28

DA-1

Instagram-292

Twitter-993

Pinterest-31

So, just like last month, I failed miserably at these goals! Its the same pattern as last month, two of my platforms have had reasonable growth but I haven’t put enough time into the others. Although numbers aren’t everything as I said in last months post, I’m still going to continue to make targets for all platforms as I think its a good way to track what I need to work on and whats doing okay.

Overall Feelings On The Month

Overall, August has been a month of learning and progression; albiet at quite a slow pace. I have become more confident in my content though and I’m feeling really good about the future.

Last months goals

-Last month I set myself a goal of focusing more on my Pinterest, Bloglovin and DA. I have spent a lot more time using and promoting the first two, but my DA score has sat at 1 for the entire month. I think more research into SEO is definitely needed and hopefully I’ll see it go up slowly but surely!

-My second goal for this month was to make more time to reply to comments which, I’ll be honest, I’ve failed at. Its not like I get hundreds of comments a day but I’m still trying to find the balance between creating content and doing all the little jobs that come with it like promotion, replying to comments and commenting on other peoples posts too. I’m slowly getting there though and I think I’m going to start having commenting/ replying sessions once a week.

-My last goal for this month was to create more photography based content which I sort of succeeded at. I’ve already got a photo diary up from the Farne Islands and have one coming up from Blackpool Zoo as I mentioned earlier, but I’m still struggling with photos to put in posts like my gap year advice series to break up the big chunks of text, I usually just include a featured image and a pinterest graphic at the beginning. I have made progress with this though, I sat down today and planned specific shots I need to get for various posts over the coming months so I’m all prepared.

Three Goals For Next Month

-Bulk write, edit, photograph and promote posts

-Be at least a week ahead with posts and videos at all times

-Book my first solo trip

 

I hope you enjoyed my update, there’ll be one the same time next month! Megan x P.S whats the biggest thing you achieved in August? Leave a comment letting me know!

 

planning Pinterest

I’m not going to lie, this is the post out of my mini series I’m least qualified to write. Even though I *sort of* had an idea what I’d spend a gap year doing throughout my final A level year, I only made the final decision to take one on results day, so I’ve only just started making actual plans. I do have some tips and tricks that I’ve picked up so far though, which will hopefully help those of you out who are completely stuck.

First of all, you need to pick the main ways you want to spend your year. If you have absolutely no idea what you want to do, I’ve made a list of ten ways to spend your gap year to give you some ideas. I’d say three goals/ activities is a good amount to focus on; you’ll have variety throughout the year but won’t spread yourself too thin. For example, my three main focuses throughout the year are going to be YouTube/ blogging, travelling and work experience; all of which will add value to my life.

Once you’ve picked the activities you want to focus on, try and put a percentage on them in order of importance/priority. So, for me, my YouTube and blog is 40%, travelling is 40% and work experience is 20%. You can then use these percentages to determine how much time and energy you should be spending on each activity.

Once you’ve done that, its time to get specific. Go through each activity/goal one at a time and plan how and when you’re going to do it. For example, if your main priority is travelling, you need to pick dates, countries and activities. If your main priority is is work experience, you need to decide whether you want general customer service experience or experience more specific to your field of work.

Once you’ve selected, prioritised and specifically planned your activities, you should be good to go! If you’ve missed the other posts in this mini series be sure to give them a read, they’re all about the pros and cons of a gap year, making the decision to take one and 10 ways to spend it. If you have read them all I hope you’ve found them helpful, be sure to leave requests for any other gap year related posts you’d like to see in the comment section! Megan x