Earlier this week I shed light on a very real sickness that many people (and some of you) are suffering from called Pinterest Paralysis. It’s a chronic condition but not incurable.
A couple of my friends have recently sworn off Pinterest. They left because of how it makes them feel and the pressure it places on them to have a “picture perfect life”. So they just quit.
I get it.
And 100% support their choice to stop using Pinterest altogether. But what if there was another option to avoid the endless pinning and comparing and feeling badly about ourselves?
What if there was a better way to use Pinterest?
One that left us feeling inspired and organized instead of discouraged and confused (and wondering where the heck the last 30 minutes of our life just went).
THERE IS A BETTER WAY…ACTUALLY THERE ARE FIVE
Today I’m sharing 5 healthy ways to use Pinterest and I’ll follow it up with three simple tricks to make Pinterest less of a time suck and more of a springboard to progress.
Quitting Pinterest isn’t an option for me because I use it daily in my work. Also, I love it for personal reasons. Now, I don’t want you to think I’m bashing Pinterest one post and then singing its praises the next.
That would make me emotionally unstable, right?
Which I’m totally not…unless I’m hungry.
Big “Aha” moment ahead–> Pinterest is dangerous for our confidence and productivity when used with the wrong mindset or habits. It’s an incredibly helpful tool when we have clarity of purpose and a set of personal guidelines.
Sound strict and boring? It’s not. I promise.
1. As a Search Engine
Notice I did not say a “browse & repin engine”. When I wanted to make a fabric mobile for my client Chrissy’s nursery, I used the search bar in Pinterest to see what other DIY fabric mobiles looked like.
I went to Pinterest with a clear idea of what I was looking for. My goal was to research and see if someone else had figured out a brilliant shortcut to save me time or money.
For this type of thing, Google can turn up all sorts of crazy images. I’ve found that Pinterest is a better place to find higher quality content faster for most things home or craft related.
2. As an Organizational Tool
Pinterest is like a creative Type A person’s dream. (Ahem…guilty.)
It gives you the ability to bookmark websites with images, group them into categories, and then leave yourself comments. This is super helpful and can save you tons of time. I have secret boards for each of the following:
A. Books I Want to Read
(Friends would always tell me about a great book they read, and my mental note system would fail to help when I wanted to remember it. Now when someone tells me a book title I look it up immediately and pin the URL using my Pinterest app on my phone.)
(Before a trip, I’ll research shops and restaurants I want to visit in the area. It’s handy to have everything right on my phone via the Pinterest app.)
C. Meal Plans
(I will pin 10-15 seasonal dinner recipes onto this board. That way when I’m creating my grocery list for the week, I can just check this board and pick from options I chose earlier.)
3. As a Tool for Collaboration
When I helped plan my friend Stacie’s baby shower, two other friends and I used a secret Pinterest board to pin and discuss everything from the theme to the invites to the recipe for punch. Since we were all busy with different schedules, this allowed us to have an ongoing conversation without having to constantly be meeting in person or group texting.
I use secret boards to communicate with and get feedback from my clients about their project from the inspiration stage all the way to the final “Shopping List”. My two most used tools for project management in my design business are Pinterest and Google Docs. In a visual industry, there is no other medium that makes it easier to communicate aesthetics and share resources better than Pinterest.
4. As a Personal Style Board
Being exposed to lots of new ideas is not always a bad thing…this is one way to help you figure out your likes and dislikes and target things you’d like to incorporate in your style somehow. It’s usually a low-risk way to experiment with new ideas. BUT there is some danger here…
WARNING: Exploring your personal style can be a slippery slope to the comparison trap. Make sure that when you are hunting for rooms or things that feel like “you”, you are starting from a place of confidence and curiosity. The second you start to feel “less than”, you’ve had enough. Shut that laptop and come back to it later.
5. As a To Do List
Raise your hand if you’ve pinned something saying, “Oh, I’ll totally do that!”. And then completely forget about it. (Repeat 37 times.)
Two hands raised over here.
I’ve got a cure to help you actually be productive. Create one board title “To Do” (or “To Cook”) and then only add ideas or images that you actually see yourself doing. Simple, right?
If you know you’ll never take time to learn how to crochet that coffee mug cozy, then don’t pin it! In fact I would only allow 6-8 pins at a time on this board. (Too many pins become white noise or overwhelming, and you’re likely to avoid or ignore them.)
This is important…Once you attempt or complete something from this list, delete the pin or move it to a new board titled “I Did This!” or “Go me- I Own Pinterest!” or something of that nature. Having a board like this is the equivalent of crossing an item off your pen and paper to-do list.
We all know how good that makes us feel.
BE SPECIFIC WHEN YOU SEARCH
Recently Pinterest added features to make searching even easier with the use of keywords. Utilizing the keywords when searching helps prevent aimless wandering and random pinning.
Here’s an example of how NOT to search…
BAD: “What to make for dinner?”
(Will likely lead to ADD pin-fest)
BETTER: “Dairy free chicken recipe“
(Much more specific and will help take care of that thawed chicken sitting in your fridge.)
You’ll still see some odd pins even with a specific search, BUT you’ll have a much better chance to quickly find what you need before getting distracted by a gajillion other ideas.
EDIT YOUR PINS
Think of it as “Spring Cleaning” for your Pinterest boards. Go through each of your boards and delete pins that fall under any of the following categories:
1. Any project that you know you’ll never take the time to do. (Pinning it doesn’t give you credit. Only doing it does.)
2. Any pin from years ago that you haven’t revisited in ages.
3. Any pin that no longer represents your style.
4. Any pin that makes you somehow feel unlovely, untalented, or completely jealous. (Inspiration does NOT feel like this.)
DON’T FOLLOW YOUR FRIENDS
What? You heard me.
Facebook is for connecting with people you already know; Pinterest is for inspiration that you can’t find anywhere else. So unless you find your sister’s best friend’s style to be just impeccable, don’t follow her.
You want to curate a feed with things that inspire you, help you, and lead you to either better thinking or better doing. (Remember from my last post?)
Instead of all your friends (who may or may not share you aesthetic) follow tastemakers, companies, or bloggers that you find yourself really aligning with in style or values. Chances are what inspires them will inspire you too.
Don’t worry…your sister’s best friend will barely miss you.
Knowing your own tendencies is hugely important when using social media. As women, many of us already have an underlying feeling that someone else is doing it better, or making it better, or wearing it better than us. (Hint: They probably are. But that’s ok, sweet friend.)
If you are prone to comparison or confusion, limit your time on Pinterest. Heck, limit your time online. (Easier said, than done. I know.) I always try to have a book on my bedside table, whether or not I’m actually working my way through it at a decent pace is another story.
Q: Has this helped? Are you ready to change the way you use Pinterest?
That’s exactly how i use Pinterest!! I’ve never felt the burn out from it. I use #1 and 2 all the time. great idea about the to-do board idea, I might thane to implement that.
I really hate the new feature of Pinterest putting “suggested” pins in my newsfeed. It blocks out the people I do want to see pins from!! its aggravating. I end up “x”ing out of the option every time I see a suggestion.
If you want to follow me: https://www.pinterest.com/erincl/
Hi Erin! I’m torn on the “suggested” pins…Sometimes I’ve found really great images that have been helpful in a client’s project. Nine times out of ten I don’t repin them though. I’m finding that I use my feed less and less and now if I want to browse, I click on people I’m following and check out their latest pins. Thanks for weighing in;)
Absolutely great advice Heather! This is how I used Pinterest but I am guilty of not always using it this way. When I first started using Pinterest (back when you needed an invite) I am guilty of feeling inadequate in many areas after seeing the perfectly clean and decorated homes, gourmet meals and the like. Now I use it as a search engine or to quickly share things I see on blogs I read. I know I may or may not use the pin but if I like the idea behind it I want to give my friends a little pin love! Great read!!
Hah-I totally forgot about the “invite”! After four years, I feel like I finally get how to use it so that it works for me, but I still fall back into those old habits sometimes. That’s a good point about pinning to share a cool idea even if you don’t plan on doing it. Thanks for stopping by today, Kelsey!
I am not a blogger, however I have pinned things no longer needed. They are often on a board with other pins and I do not know how to delete the unwanted pins, leaving the ones I want. Is there somewhere I can get directions to do this? I also do not know how to move a pin from one board to another. I am very impressed about your advice to be selective on pinning. I am in process of decluttering, getting ready to downsize and move across country. And, one of the things to declutter is my Pin boards.
Thank’s for steering me in the right direction to answer my questions.
Hi Gayle. Ok, as far as deleting pins, you need to do the following: 1. Click on the pin to enlarge it, so it takes up the entire screen. 2. Click the “edit” button at the top of the pin. 3. Once the edit box pops up, in the bottom corner you have the option to “delete”.
To move the pin to a different the board, you’ll also use the “edit” button on the pin. This time click on “Boards”. All of your existing boards will drop down. You can select the new board for it to live on from here. Be sure to select “Save changes” afterwards. Hope that helps. Happy decluttering and good for you in being proactive about it online as well!
Why do you make your meal plan board secret?
Good question, Susan! I usually leave myself reminders or shopping list notes on the meal plan pins. We have some allergies in our house, so I often have to substitute ingredients. Also if I thought a recipe was bland after I cooked it once, I’ll leave notes to myself on how to jazz it up. I wouldn’t want the original pinner or recipe creator to think I was dissing their creations online! Make sense?
Kristi Craig says
I’ve totally changed the way I use Pinterest lately. I definitely use it as a search tool for crafting and style inspiration. I just started “spring cleaning” my boards a week or two ago and it is seriously refreshing! I love your idea of pinning books to read! I always write them down, but then lose the list.
Yes! Any kind of spring cleaning feels good…at least this kind you can do while sitting on your sofa:)
Great tips Heather! I love using secret boards when I’m planning a party or blog post. I also love having a books worth reading board, but it’s not a secret board. I love sharing good books I’ve read and seeing what other people are reading. I like your idea of having a to make and to cook board, then maybe I’ll actually starting making something. I have so many pins that they get lost in the shuffle. I definitely need to do some spring Pinterest cleaning!
Thanks, Dawn:) I need to start using Pinterest to plan blog posts.That makes a lot of sense!
I used to use Pinterest as a personal shelter magazine, edited by me and my friends. Then my feed was overwhelmed by suggested pins and I stopped going to the site for the most part. I love the idea of using it as a search engine. It returns more targeted results than other sites in my experience. Maybe I’ll pick it back up again. 🙂
Hah! I love the idea of a collective shelter magazine between friends. Yeah, the suggested and promoted posts have changed things. I had to reframe my thinking and realize it’s not the same Pinterest as when it launched, but now I’m ok using it the “new” way.