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Once upon a time, Pinterest wasn’t my best friend. Any time I would venture onto the site, I would inevitably leave it feeling like I should be baking delicious desserts daily, planning parties that would put Martha Stewart to shame and exercising until my abs were chiseled and glistening.

Because it made me feel like I was falling short in pretty much every area of my life, I took an extended break from Pinterest. Then an event rolled around that made Pinterest the best source for the information I needed, so I reluctantly logged back into my account.

Pinterest on iPad

I found what I needed and then wandered around my old pins and my feed of things people had been pinning lately. I found some new things to add to my boards. Then I began to realize Pinterest is actually pretty great and is a great tool for finding specific things quickly and easily. I just had to figure out how to make it work for me so I didn’t want to hide in my not-so “Pinterest ‘Organization’ board-worthy” closet every time I got on there.

So here’s what I did.

1. I made my searches have purpose. Instead of spending time wading through pins I couldn’t care less about, I do targeted searches for things that interest me. You’ll find as you do this and begin to pin certain things, Pinterest will begin to add things to your feed that align quite well with your interests.

2. I started adding pins from the Internet. If I find a recipe I like, I copy the link and add it on Pinterest. Then I don’t wander around spending way too much time trying to find a similar recipe on Pinterest, and I don’t have to bookmark the page on the Internet and hope I remember it is there later.

3. I organized my boards. This made things a little less overwhelming, especially when I added boards for things I have made or tried. This way I can go back to them without wading through dozens of pins. I used to get so frustrated because it would take so long to find something I had pinned earlier. The more boards I have, the easier it is to find things. It took me some time to get things moved around and organized when I added some new boards, but it was totally worth the time I invested then to save time and frustration later.

pinterest boards

4. Two words: Secret boards. When I am making teacher gifts or find a pin for a workout that I’m a little iffy about, I throw it on a secret board. And let’s be honest. There are some things you want to pin that you just don’t want other people to see and be entertained (or judge you) by, because sadly there are people who aren’t on Pinterest just for the inspiration. So if your latest search has you pinning remedies for constipation, a secret board is your best friend.

5. Be more selective about who you follow. If you follow people who are constantly pinning things that annoy you when they keep showing up in your feed, maybe it’s time to stop following them. People don’t seem to take it so personally when they lose a follower on Pinterest as they might on Facebook or Instagram.

6. Follow specific boards, not just people. I like getting recipes, new workout ideas and things that will help me as a mom. By following boards that contain those things, I see more of it in my feed. Make it relevant for you. And make it more time efficient.

7. Think of Pinterest as a magazine. You don’t feel like you have to make or create or compete with everything you see or read in a magazine. So don’t feel like that when you are browsing pins. They are just ideas. For some people, planning and executing over-the-top parties is what they do best. Creating perfect recipes makes them happy. Finding ways to organize their closets is their talent. Everyone gets to choose how to spend their time and do what brings them joy. You have to focus on the things that you do best or want to spend your time trying to do better. Everyone has the same number of hours in the day. You get to choose how you spend your time. And if you are doing it for you and not to compete with what you see on Pinterest, life will be that much sweeter.

>> Read more by Candice: Coping With My Fitness Injury: How I Kept Moving Forward