How to Take a Break from Social Media
I have to admit, when our friend Jade over at Finders Keepers Designs announced that she was taking a week-long hiatus from social media after a calling from her church, I thought she was a little crazy. Jade asked all of her followers to do the same, whether they were part of the church or not, and in that moment something just came over me. To be honest, social media has become a bit of an addiction. While it is something that we use CONSTANTLY for work (our clients often say that they found us on Instagram, so there is a pressure to maintain that presence), there is also a lot of mindless scrolling that takes place that can prevent me from interacting with the world around me or getting things done that are on the to-do list. You know you've been there too, sometimes it's just easier to do something "mindless" and then you find yourself down the rabbit hole of Instagram and can't even figure out how you landed on watching some random person put on eye makeup.
So long story short, when Jade announced she was skipping social media-town for a week, I followed. Mostly just to recharge and get those wasted hours in my day back. I didn't even think twice when I sent Megan a message and told her I was leaving social media for a week and to watch over the sheep while I was gone (she does this for her day job anyways, so I had no doubt I was leaving the reigns in capable hands!). But the events that followed were a little unexpected. While I thought that I would sit around twiddling my thumbs waiting for that week benchmark to hit, it was actually the complete opposite. Here are a few things that I did during my week off from social media that made the week fly by - in the most productive way!
Binge Watched Netflix
Okay, I know what you're thinking, "How is this productive?" Well, in some ways it might not have been, but for me it actually helped really jumpstart my productivity. The time in my day when I try to be the most productive with work is during the kids naptime. But many times I've found myself sitting down to update one of the social media sites only to hit that black hole and look up to a kid finishing his nap and nothing accomplished during that break. So while I was social media free, I decided to pick up a new Netflix show while I worked. I would turn on a show, pull out my laptop and get to work on my to-do list. The show that I chose happened to be 13 Reasons Why - which I can't totally recommend. It certainly sucked me in and I finished both seasons, but it is horrific and heartbreaking and makes this momma's heart so terrified, so yea, pick something lighthearted and fun for your binge watching pleasure!
Cleaned the House
You know those times when you think about all those dirty dishes in the sink or how the sheets in the guest room need to be cleaned and put back on but then you remember how horrible those tasks sound so you reach for your phone instead? Well I have to say, for the first few days of my hiatus, I definitely reached for my phone and then remembered I'd cut myself off, so I had to find something else to do with those fingers that just wanted to mindlessly scroll rather than actually work. So I picked up my cleaning supplies (I mopped the floor so much I was actually sore from the "workout") and actually did all those little tasks that I always put off for another day.
There is a running list of Rock Paper Sisters to-do items that live on always in my brain. Things that I want to create or do or start but just never seem to find the time. So during my week off of social media, I suddenly felt like I had all the time in the world - so I started working on some of those things. We've been dreaming of adding so many more things to the website, so I started making strides toward making that happen and can't wait to get some of those items rolled out in the coming weeks - sometimes it just takes that little jumpstart to make it all possible. I also started planning ahead and working on some of our end-of-the-year clients which feels really good. It's a great feeling when you can start to see some of that white space reappearing on your calendar when you didn't even think it was possible!
If you don't think you can take a week off of social media, try just doing it for a day, or a few hours. I can promise you one thing, you will enjoy LIFE so much more. You don't even realize how many times you reach for your phone and scroll mindlessly. Prior to my hiatus, I used an app on my phone called Moment to track how much time I was spending on that little device that never leaves my side. On an average day it was about five hours. Now, when I think about that it doesn't seem like an overwhelming amount because so much of that is for work - I email clients, move things to and from Dropbox, edit photos and schedule out our social media, do most of our banking, check in on the website, etc. but that is a lot of time on a phone and those daily work tasks certainly don't take me five hours by themselves. So I stopped scrolling and started enjoying life. I enjoyed the evenings talking with my husband, kept my phone away from the table during meals, played outside with the kids, and more. Now, this isn't to say that none of these things ever happened before my week off of social media, but I was so much more PRESENT for them! I wasn't worried about getting a post up, updating our stories, etc. I was just there, enjoying the things that needed to be enjoyed the most!
Honestly, when the week was over I was sad to come back. Everything was so much quieter and more peaceful and less overwhelming without social media. It left so much more room for productivity and self-care (rather than self-comparison), and it was just a nice break from the norm. So here are a few things that I recommend for making the most out of your social media break:
1. Delete all of your social media apps from your phone
Don't worry, they don't go far! On your iPhone they just simply get sucked back up into your cloud, and when you're ready to have them back you just pull them right back down. You may want to remember your log-in information, because you'll need that to sign back in, but taking them off of your phone completely will eliminate the need to sneak a peek.
2. Write out a list of things you want to accomplish during your time off
If you're anything like me, you have a running to-do list anyways, so just pull that thing out and get started. If you don't have a list already, do a brain-dump of all the things you want to accomplish and start marking things off!
3. Find a fun activity that you can add in for those down-time moments
For me, it was Netflix and mostly because that is something that I could have on in the background while I was also designing or sending emails. But for many of you it might be something like a new book, a puzzle, a painting, etc. Just find something that can fill those bigger voids like in the evening when you might typically reach for your phone instead.
4. Let the world know you're leaving for a bit
Don't just fall off the face of the Earth with no mention of where you've gone - especially if you're a small business owner. Put up a post and let people know you'll be away for a bit and if you can, tell them when you'll be back. If people are used to seeing consistent posts from you, you don't want them to think you've just disappeared. If you have a business partner or another trusted individual that can take over for you while you're gone, that's an even bigger bonus! This will prevent your audience from having a break from your posts even though you're having a break behind the scenes.
So, we would like to challenge you to take some time off from your social media. It truly isn't as bad as it seems and you will find so many little things to fill your time that before you know it you'll be right back in the social media saddle. And if you're anything like me, you'll be sad when it's over and you'll actually FORGET that you're supposed to be back to posting on your various channels. But take it from someone who never thought it was possible - you can do it!