Reducing your reliance on devices and social media

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Will Stone is a brand strategy & communications consultant at Stone & Co Consulting. Based in Manchester, Will offers brand and strategy, corporate communications, crisis management, employee communications and change management, event management and production, social media and more.

Biggest fuck up?

Fuck me. Biggest? Where do I start? Far too many to mention… Probably the time when I thought I was taking the initiative and upset a major customer of a company I worked for. To be honest, he was a handful, but I’ve got to admit I had a very squeaky bum as I headed down to London to see the sales director of my company following a summons overnight.

I knew I hadn’t royally screwed up, but when you’re dealing with a hairdryer of a human, you never know. In the end, the sales director understood I’d not been malicious or negligent. Strangely, I was made redundant six months later, though (on a very handsome package, I may add).

I interviewed a CEO of an entrepreneurial business recently. His tip was to make mistakes, not doing may show you’re not trying hard enough. Another senior director told me, ‘Do and beg for forgiveness afterwards. For if you wait for permission, it won’t necessarily be granted.’

That could all be bullshit, but I do think you have to take risks, run with your gut instinct and challenge even the most senior person. Be true to yourself as well. Do you want to look back and silently swear under your breath that you wished you’d done it differently?

I probably have a few more, but they’re bound by legal agreements.

Lightbulb moment

More like a flickering candle. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be. Is that wrong at nearly 45? I guess the key thing is to reduce stress and be happy.

Business-wise, I realised that I needed to be more targeted in my approach and focus on my strengths. The other aspect is to say no more often. Bloody hell, I’m realising this is sounding like some cliché from a Richard Branson book.

It’s simple, really. Cut the bullshit, focus on your strengths and don’t get distracted by players.

Useful advice

I’m actually working on a plan to declutter my life. Before you jump up and down and say poppycock, and it’s all mumbo-jumbo, there’s a lot of sense to this.

I’ve been following The Minimalists, and I’ve become fascinated by the fact we’ve fucked up our lives with social media, phones, and this urge to peacock everywhere.

For the first couple of years of business, I thought it was essential to do all the networking and social media shit. Reality is that it doesn’t matter.

What matters is focusing on what you want to do. There’s no surprise that there’s a massive increase in mental health issues along with the rise of social media and instant gratification from social media, is there?

Don’t get me wrong, social media has enabled a lot of conversations for me, but I’m not sure that enough people do it with purpose. It’s like a virtual world of Chat and Take-a-Break, a bloody nightmare at times.

So, I’ve set a 12-month target to change my reliance on my phone and social media. It’s a bit bigger than that, as you also reduce your offline crap as well. I’ve culled 1,000 people I was following and am doing the same with LinkedIn and Facebook.

So my tips are:

1. Deflect the distractors – stop twitching the curtains of social media.
2. Focus on your own shit, not others.
3. Get some perspective – get out of town and breathe.
4. Be bloody realistic – stop the brag (if you do.)
5. Do something with purpose. Mentor/be mentored/volunteer – you’ll be humbled.


  1. Love this by Will – some great advice; point two is really bob on. I was reading a book the other day and it says the problems you see in others are merely a reflection of you. Ouch, it was like a punch in the solar plexus. PS: loving #NWB


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