less social media, more connection

Lessons learned when logged out.

I started off the year taking a break from social media. It proved to be a really positive and simple way to recalibrate priorities for the year ahead. I wanted to share a few thoughts on how it was helpful for me and to encourage you to consider taking a break yourself. 

1) It challenged my default habits.

How often do you turn on your phone and before you even realize it you have opened Instagram and you’re mindlessly scrolling through your feed? Muscle memory takes over and by default you have trained yourself to know exactly where your favorite apps are. You open them. You waste time. You’re mad at yourself. 

Even as I vowed to not use social media and logged out of all my accounts, I still clicked on the apps. However, I was quickly reminded this wasn’t an option and it forced me to engage with my surroundings (in a good way) or think about what I actually needed to be doing. 

2) I stopped thinking in tweet size thoughts. 

I am constantly taking in my surroundings and trying to think how to distill thoughts or funny anecdotes into 140 characters. I didn’t fully realize how much I did this until I stopped using social media, and I was not proud of it. 

Spending less energy crafting witty sentences in my head allowed me to do one of two things: a) realize the subject matter wasn’t important and more quickly move on, or b) allow me to spend more time digesting the concept instead of trying to shrink it to down to two sentences. 

3) I spent more time with my wife. 

My wife did the social media fast with me and simply put, we were able to spend more time together. We are very guilty of laying in bed and catching up on the lives of our friends, as opposed to diving deeper into how the day went for one another. 

It was a healthy and very important reminder for us. 

4) I did more important work online. 

I filled the time I would normally spend crafting an Instagram caption in much more important ways. There were a handful of things that I always meant to do (research college savings options for our son, researching a new camera I wanted to buy, read that one article, etc.), but inevitably those activities I wanted to do fell by the wayside when I opened my phone and got wrapped up in incessant scrolling. 

I had an extremely productive January and felt good about how I set a solid foundation for the new year. There wasn’t drastically less screentime for me but I was definitely more productive 

All in all, there were some great personal realizations that came from this exercise. Mind you, I only stopped using social media for TWO WEEKS. One of my biggest realizations is that this needs to happen frequently. Checking out and recalibrating your activities is a vital life practice. 

Now, go log out of all your social media accounts and engage the world around you. 

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