UPDATE 3 YEARS LATER: I’m still off of Instagram and Facebook completely. It was rough at first, but man, it’s been incredibly freeing too. I don’t know the latest happenings with all my friends, and I don’t get the photos and updates and miss that, but it gives me something to talk about with my friends when we’re catching up, right? I seriously do not see myself returning to social media. As far as the “business side” of things, my blog numbers didn’t drop, my sales didn’t drop, my reach seems to be holding steady and even slowly growing. I have way more time, and way more headspace to think about things I should be thinking about rather than what the latest is on FB.
As far as the other things I wanted to do, I am not as awesome as I had hoped to be (story of my life) but do keep trying to be offline as much as possible when not working. Overall, it’s pretty good over here on the dark side of the world.
“…but we urge you brethren, to excel still more.” 1 Thessolonians 4:10
You know what the hardest words in the Bible are for me right now? Those right up there.
Excel still more.
I’ve aced “fall behind farther.”
I do okay at pretty consistent quiet time in the morning. My house isn’t a total mess (most of the time). About 65% of the time I have a plan for dinner. And I can usually eek out an hour or two of exercise a week.
But in no areas of my life am I excelling still more.
I am frustrated and confused as to why but have a pretty good idea it has to do with my time wasted browsing and scrolling online, so I did what any good internet addict would do and YouTubed what an internet addiction looks like, sure that it wouldn’t describe me, because, come on, I’m not on social media all the time. In fact, I’m not really on it much at all… I think… probably… compared to some people… right?
Cal Newport, the author of Deep Work, hit me HARD with this great video.
Then this video by a landscape photographer hoofing it through a snowy forest was what clinched it for me. When he said that he always had background static in his head, I realized my main struggle is a LOUD and distracted mind. A thousand tabs open on my computer and in my head, and I can’t control/alt/delete or restart to clean that problem up.
And I hate it.
So I borrowed the book Deep Work from our library and read through it in a couple of days. It helped me sort out what is going on in my head. My lack of excelling still more is because at every hard thing, or every pause in my day, or every time I just don’t want to do a thing, I check my social media or my inbox, or the weather, or which celebrity recently lost 150lbs and is killin’ it. Oh. My. Goodness! The noise I hate is all self-induced!
With that fresh in my mind, I made a list of everything I currently struggle with:
- time management
- home management
- Bible reading and meditation
- being an attentive wife
- being an intentional mom
- being a friend
So, what am I doing? I’m gonna get my focus back and excel still more.
Once a year, usually in August, I go off social media for the month. I’ve done it for a couple years and it has been great and refreshing, but because I know I’m going back on in 30 days or less, it’s not been a real struggle. It’s more of an temporary diet that if I can just get through for a few weeks, I can enjoy normal life again. Also, I may or may not have just replaced the lack of scrolling social media to scrolling my inbox and blogs. *cough* So, I have to be hard with myself until this addiction is dead and no longer controls me.
I’ve go to detox from the scrolling
(and I have decided, go big or go home)
…for a YEAR.
When I first toyed with the idea of getting off Facebook and Instagram my immediate thought was that I can’t. I’m stuck. I’ve got to keep churning away there in order to grow numbers to be successful because that’s what everyone says. And when those who say things, say things, you better listen, right?
But, as I thought more about it, I realized I really don’t care about the numbers or building my platform, I just really want to share what God is doing in my life and encourage others… even if it is just a handful of women.
When I realized that I could shut down social media and I didn’t have to be on there, it felt like huge elephant lifted off my chest. I didn’t realize until that moment what a burden social media was!
So, because I’m doing a year long experiment, here’s what has to go… I’m closing down (archiving) the Journal and Doodle Facebook group, the Stone Soup for Five Facebook page, and shutting down the Meditation119 group (which was originally just a temporary page anyway). I won’t be posting any news or blog posts on Facebook or Instagram, and both of my accounts there will go silent.
But the good news is:
I will be blogging more and about things that are of more value.
I’ll also be writing more Journal and Doodle Bible studies and the I Will Meditate guides. I am currently
working away on Volume Four finished with the entire set! I will still post videos to YouTube it doesn’t suck my time or attention like FB and IG, so it will be safe for now.
Results so far:
So far I’m a month into being completely off Facebook and Instagram and I haven’t died. I was twitchy at first, and wondering what everyone was doing at the party I locked myself out of, but that passed in a couple weeks (and was easily replaced with neurotic email checking and blog reading, like I mentioned above).
After reading Deep Work, I cut all internet access off (even email) until 3:30pm every day. I check it then, deal with what I need to, and get off until the next day. It was extremely hard at first, but has already changed so much! In fact, I’ve hit boredom a few times now (not bored because I have nothing to do, but bored because I don’t want to do any of the things I have to do and wanted to be doing anything else. I didn’t care what I did, I just wanted to click the mouse around online!
But, I’m realizing that living like a Luddite, has its upside in quite a few areas of life, so I’ll continue the experiment and check in with an update being completely honest on what has changed, what has gotten better, and what has been harder. I’d love to chat with you in the comments here and hear what you think or if you’ve done something similar (or thought of doing it)! (Oh, and I’ve actually hand written a couple of pen and paper snail-mail letters too! What?!)