On January 1st, 2020 I logged off of social media for 30 days. I wrote about that here.
You all had some thoughts about this! I got so many emails and comments after sending out that newsletter.
Turns out taking a social media break is something a LOT of you want to do.
I know you’re curious about how it went, so….
My business did not collapse.
My mother still recognizes me.
I did not die of FOMO.
I did get 2 hours a day back.
I’ll say that again:
I gained an “extra” 2 hours a day.
It was shocking.
To be honest, I consider myself to be a relatively light social media user.
Even though I manage multiple business pages and groups for my work, I don’t post daily. I’ve taken week-long breaks before.
I didn’t expect that much to change, logistically speaking, during this 30 day break.
Here’s what I discovered:
I READ a lot of posts. I click on a lot of articles.
I read in 5 and 10 minute increments. Just a little dab of social sprinkled into every single hour.
That adds up to 2-3 hours a day.
And I did it without thinking.
I cannot tell you how many times an hour I would catch myself mindlessly going to check Facebook.
Checking social media has become a (costly) filler for what I really need: a little break.
So in January I did this instead:
- I took a real break if I needed it.
- I switched to a new task.
- I recommitted to finishing what I was working on.
Because of this, I finished my to-do list every single day.
Which meant I could do what I always want to do, but never have “enough” time or energy for.
Things like researching my family tree, doing more yoga, finishing old projects, or talking on the phone with long distance friends.
What could you do with an hour or two more a day??
I also got back a lot of energy because I wasn’t thinking about posting.
I may not post daily, but I DO find myself thinking about it.
As I go about my day I’m semi-aware that I’m shaping my experience into a narrative that I might potentially post.
It was massively liberating to let that running exposition in my mind turn off completely.
Here’s my point: you may not realize how social media is sucking up your time and energy until you stop using it.
I never would have guessed I read or thought about it as much as I did.
What will you discover if you take a break?
Were there any downsides?
- My private Facebook group monitored themselves and continued supporting one another in my absence.
- I booked new coaching clients.
- I reconnected with past clients and students through writing more newsletters.
- I stayed in touch with my loved ones.
- I felt re-energized at work and came up with ideas for my shelter program that I’m excited about (more on that next time).
Many of you shared my concerns about running a business without social media.
My fear was largely based on the assumption that I make sales through social media.
This experience helped me to see that I do NOT make sales through social media.
I get the majority of my work through word of mouth, repeat customers, speaking gigs, and this newsletter.
Social media is useful as a way to stay in touch, to allow new folks to get to know me better, and to support one another.
But it’s not how I keep a roof over my head.
Maybe that’s the case for you too. It’s worth figuring out.
I’m back on FB and IG. I do need to be on social media to some extent for my work.
Currently, my plan is to post/check social media 2 days a week:
- I made a calendar as a guide
- I took all social apps off my phone
- I do 99% of my social media on my laptop at my desk
It’s my attempt at being intentional about using this tool.
It’s enough for me to stay connected, but without giving up all that wonderful brain space and time I enjoyed in January.
Any other takeaways?
If I keep spending 2 hours a day on social media that means I’m giving up more than 29,000 hours of my life (assuming I live to be 80).
That’s 12,000 days.
And I’m not including TV here. Just social media.
I absolutely do not want to spend 12,000 days of my life on Facebook.
What I do want is meaningful relationships and deep work.
Both of which take time to nurture.
And that means I need to be more deliberate about how I spend my time.
I can’t be in relationship with EVERYONE online.
I can’t say yes to ALL the projects I’m interested in.
Being off of social media helped me see and accept this (human) limitation.
“We can only deeply, truly offer our best love and care to a finite number of people, relationships, or goals in one human life.” – Wayne Mulller
Ironically, by embracing my limits, I feel freer.
Want to give it a shot?
1. Plan for a 30 day break. If you can’t do that, try 7 days. I didn’t really feel the full benefit of being off social until two weeks in.
2. Take yourself 100% off of social media. I didn’t struggle with the choice because there was no choice. Choices take energy and lead to decision fatigue.
Being 100% off social = one less choice to make.
3. Not ready to go all out? Try some of the ideas I shared in January.
The way you use social media may already be working well for you, so I’m not suggesting taking a break is what everyone needs to do. But doing it consciously – that’s the ticket.
Whatever you choose to do, remember:
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.” – Annie Dillard
How do you want to spend your hours? Hit reply and let me know.