Almost finished with a month off of social media (10d 1h 40m 54s left) and it's my 2nd cleanse this year (first was in response to this article). "But you work in social media" you might be thinking...
Indeed. And the second I start these cleanses and grant myself access only to work-dummy accounts my anxiety reduces and my productivity absolutely skyrockets. I don't feel like I am missing the "coolest thing ever", I stop caring about engagement ring porn, I start a blog, launch business ventures with a friend or two, have time for consulting work, ... etc. Remember when your only feedback loop on your thoughts was the one in your head plus the ones you received in-person or on the phone with someone you chose to reach out to? Oh right. Real life.
I certainly love social media for a great many things. It is an excellent photo repository (specifically my incriminating twenties), great for birthday reminders, easy to reach out and send a quick note to someone you've lost touch with, and a really fun way to share some of the quick hilights of one's life with a larger group all at once. But seriously, the amount of self-importance people tie to their social media persona is on par with a personality disorder. "I feel really bad when I don't log onto facebook because people expect to hear about what I'm doing." Are you Oprah? Then nope. No one is counting on your status updates except your ex boyfriend who is stalking you via a dummy account buried somewhere deep in your "Friends."
So here is my challenge to you. do a cleanse. Maybe 1 week, maybe 31 days. longer? Perhaps, but the goal is not to eliminate social media, just become less tied to it as a key facet of your persona. and to keep it simple, here is a handy 5-step plan:
- Maybe not for you, however 1 year ago I cut my facebook friends down from >1k to <500. If i wouldn't say hi to someone on the street then why should they see my vacation pics?
- Delete all of the social media apps on your phone / tablet and logout of the sites on browsers. Also logout of accounts on your computer browsers (only tricky thing is logging into the accounts that you created thru Facebook - Spotify, etc. This is a planned margin for error but just resist the urge to look at notifications if the Facebook homepage should popup)
- If you think people will actually try to get in touch with you, have a non-dramatic status update like "Social media cleanse, see you in 31 days! [text if you need me]" or something like that. avoid some dramatic and long, judgy post, people will think you're trying to be elitist (which you probably are)
- Get a free countdown app for your phone, I use T-Zero
- Avoid the temptation by enjoying nature, calling friends you haven't spoken to, exercise, brainstorm a way to earn $ on the side + do it, read a book
You will be shocked at what getting back 1-2 hours (more?) of your life each day can accomplish.