Hey everybody! Hopefully it’s feeling more like spring where you are than where I am – I woke up to some snow covered roads and icy conditions on this freezing April morning. I’m thinking I might end up having my wedding in May next year if this is how spring feels. I thought it was going to be enough snow to test out the Vo, but it seems like the snow just missed me. Darn.
I’ve been reading a lot about social media “vacations.” Some people call them cleanses, some call them breaks, others call them stupid. Call it what you will, it seems like a lot of people are seeing benefits from these media fasts and I kind of what to see what all of the hype is about for myself. The last few weeks have been especially negative on Facebook. I blame a lot of it on the presidential race, but I also think people are just really negative lately. Maybe it’s just my feed, but it’s bringing me down. Constant fights, negative news stories, yelling about sports, and one too many spoilers about things I haven’t had time to watch yet. I think I’d like a break to recharge and remember why I signed up for Facebook in the first place.
Social media can be overwhelming. I didn’t think I’d be on it so much just 6 years ago when I was all but completely against all forms of it, but here I am: checking updates the minute I wake up and spending nearly an hour reading through mostly useless information the minute I get home from work. The truth is, I don’t really have self control anymore. Sometimes I open Facebook/Twitter/Instagram just because I’m bored. Sometimes nothing new has even been posted and I scroll through anyway.
Don’t get me wrong, all of the above are great communication tools – I’m keeping in touch with people who live in different countries, I can ask about road conditions when it looks dicey out, and I see a lot of cute animal videos. There’s nothing wrong with using social media unless you use it mindlessly and to pick fights. I’m getting to that point. I’ve gotten a lot better recently with wasting my time in useless arguments and I’ve unfollowed quite a few people/pages who weren’t doing me any good. But my time management still sucks big time. Let’s walk through my average usage on a weekday:
6:00: Wake up. Check Facebook while brushing teeth. Go through notifications.
6:15-6:30: Scroll through Facebook again, Instagram, and possible Twitter.
6:30-7:00: Get ready for work. Scroll through Facebook again while eating breakfast if I have time before I leave at 7:15.
9:45-10:00: 15 minute break at work. Spend most of it checking Facebook.
12:00-12:30: Lunch. Spend at least 20 minutes on Facebook and Instagram. Check emails.
2:15-2:30: Last 15 of the day. Use it to check Facebook.
5:05: Get home from work, scroll through Facebook AGAIN. Probably until Wyatt gets home some time after 5:30.
Rest of night: Check Facebook at least once every hour or so.
Honestly, that’s over 10 times a day I’m checking Facebook alone. 99% of things on Facebook aren’t that important, and most of Instagram is food I want to eat, clothes I can’t afford, and makeup I can’t pull off. So why do I spend so much time on it?? How many extra hours in the day would I have if I didn’t spend so much time worrying about what’s going on with people that I rarely even talk to? Or news stories I can’t change? I clearly can’t control myself so it’s time to take a step back. I have yet to set a start date, but I’m probably going to go Sunday to Sunday and see how I do. To make it more challenging, I’m going to set “punishments” for if/when I cheat. I’ll have to put some more thought into that though, but I was thinking something along the lines of donating “x” amount of money to a good cause for every “x” amount of times I check one of my accounts. That way, even though I lose money, it’s going to something good. I’ll try to update daily on how it goes.
- Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are off limits. No posting or checking at all. These are the sites I use the most. I’m not deactivating or deleting, just pausing for a week.
- Keep track of every time I open one of the apps or a tab in my browser.
- Messenger is okay because some people don’t have other ways to contact me.
- Snapchat is fine, I spend less than 5 minutes a day using it and I mostly only send snaps to my mom.
- Every time I open one of the off limit apps, I have to donate a dollar (this may change to be a higher amount) to a charity of some sort.
- This is not a technology fast. I can still use Hulu/Netflix and I can still text people/check the weather/read the news.
- My blog is okay as long as I don’t spend more than 20 minutes a day typing an update.
- The pause will run Sunday 12:00 am to Sunday 12:00 am. It will be a full seven day break.
What I hope to get out of my “cleanse”: a clearer head, more time to spend doing pretty much anything else, motivation to get things done when I get home instead of putting it off until the next day. I hope that I’ll see more positive posts than negative posts once I’ve edited my followed list and that I’ll focus more on the people I’m with than the things they posted online that week. I hope that I don’t supplement the absence of the social media with time-wasting games and videos, because that sounds like something a very weak and will-powerless me would do.
When it’s over: I’m going to weed out the negativity. This means unfollowing/unfriending people and pages who no longer fill my needs and mostly use Facebook to complain about how much their life sucks. I’m pretty open-minded for the most part and I’m not going to “delete” people just because their views are different, but if someone is consistently bashing my beliefs/views/opinions, they’re going to have to go. I deal with enough negativity on a daily basis and I don’t need to add to that by keeping people around who spread it. I’m also going to try to limit myself after the break is over. No more hours a day checking up on everyone. I’ll set specific times to check emails/media and keep it at that.
I’m not doing this to prove anything to anyone and I’m not doing it to make anyone feel like they’re less than me because they’re an addict like I usually am: I’m just doing it to show myself that I’ll be okay without constant updates and to see how much of a difference a week without it truly does make. Maybe I’ll do it a few times a year, maybe it will be for a few days a month, maybe my blog will be a part of it next time…I won’t know until it’s over. If you want to join me on my journey, you can check back every day or so to see how it’s going! I’ll add the links for each update to this post as they come along.