31 Days of Learning to Simplify: Social Media

We all know what a time waster social media can be – this is not news to anyone – but I’m on a mission to actually re-evaluate how much of my life I’m willing to give over to my online presence. I think Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and every other social media outlet can create unnecessary clutter in our lives, and distract us from really seeing, living, experiencing, and connecting. 

All of the scrolling, the pinning, the liking, the evaluating based on a single square or 140 characters – it can easily run your day. I’m not saying it should go away entirely, obviously that’s not happening, but at the very least, some decluttering needs to take place.

In the writing world, there is a wise notion that we can never let ourselves only write – we have to experience life to be able to tell about it. The output can’t outweigh the input or else we will find ourselves with no stories, no lessons, no words. The same holds true for our online sharing. If we never put the phone down, we won’t have anything meaningful or significant to share when we do pick it back up. 

I’m creating a call to action for myself and hoping you’ll join me. I’m setting boundaries, time limits, and purposely diminishing it’s overall presence in my daily life.

Here’s how: 
– I believe it starts with telling yourself it’s okay to step away. It’s okay to disconnect temporarily. After all, this is the internet and whenever we come back for a visit, it will still be there. 

– Be picky. Decide which outlets are your favorites and stick to them. You do not need for people to be able to reach you 37 different ways. (I use Instagram and Facebook the most. I post on Twitter only periodically for blog purposes). 

– No social media during certain blocks of time. This week, I’m not checking anything after 8pm except email. Next week maybe I will block off 5-8pm when we have family time. Or the weekends. Picking a time and sticking to it is crucial to stepping away intentionally.

– In addition to the “do NOT check” times we just talked about, I think it’s helpful to set “TO check” times. Although it may not be completely off limits all day, contain your social media time to a short, predetermined window to avoid wasting time. 

– Turn off all notifications. Sounds, pop-ups, alerts – off. This has been a GAME CHANGER for me. I realized that I was actually forgetting to check my phone when I didn’t hear it dinging for my attention constantly. I do not plan to ever turn these on again. #freeeeeedommm

– Fill the time void with something you are passionate about. (This is the easy part.) I guarantee you will not miss it if you are busy painting/reading/journaling/playing with your kid, etc. (For more on this topic, read yesterday’s post passions versus hobbies).

– Have a friend join you. It’s easier when you know someone is along for the ride and can keep you accountable. 

Remember: The ultimate purpose of paring down social media intake and output is to be able to actually DO LIFE. Instead of talking about it and posting about it and documenting it, we were meant to LIVE IT. Let’s never forget that.  
Let’s put everything down for a time so we can really listen. Really see. Let’s really live. 

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