When I first switched reluctantly from my beloved Blackberry to this iPhone contraption everyone was raving about, I posed a question to my actual friends on Facebook. (You know, when Facebook wasn’t a business and actual full of just real life friends?)
“Do I really want to add a Facebook app to my phone? Will I ever use it?”
The answers and comments came pouring in with how it keeps you from being bored when you’re in a waiting room, to, “Yes! you won’t regret it!”
Four years later, and I most definitely regret it.
I don’t know if it’s the end of NBA season and the school year, or the summer sun calling to me, but I have been feeling overwhelmed by my phone. Drowning in hundreds of emails every day in not one but three different inboxes, Pages Manager app with six Facebook pages always pinging, regular Facebook notifications all day long, Twitter texting me, and of course text messages that never quit. Not to mention my four year old is constantly asking to play Snapchat. My phone is always with me despite the fact that I wrote an article years ago, (my first Huffington Post feature) called “Putting Away Your Phone and Being Present.”
I clearly haven’t been taking my own advice. So this weekend I did.
I decided on Friday at 5:00pm I would turn my phone off, and my computer too, and turn it back on Sunday night. A full digital detox, I could do this! I needed to focus on me, my health, my kids, and just be.
Then Saturday morning hit and I realized I needed Facebook to find out where we were working out that morning And I could text or call a friend, but all my numbers are in my phone. So I re-vamped the plan, and took a social media timeout instead. Here’s what happened, what I learned, and why I think everyone needs to take a break from social media at least once a month.
stages of a social media time out
- Withdraw – Though I still needed my phone minimally to communicate, I kept it for 90% of time in home office. On Friday night I felt anxious at 8:00pm and wanted to check Twitter and Facebook. Saturday morning, I kept reaching in my back pocket for it several times through the morning. But by 3:00pm on Saturday I was finally relaxed and didn’t miss it at all. Took almost 24 hours to stop fidgeting, better late than never!
- Total Relaxation – When’s the last time you didn’t check your phone while your husband drove you and the kids to a restaurant? Watched the sunset with your spouse without a phone nearby? Just hung out without checking email or social media? That’s what my 48+ hours were like, and it was bliss. I did word searches with the kids at breakfast, went swimming, baked homemade muffins, and slept like a rock. Seriously, it felt like a vacation.
- Dread – When Sunday night came and the kids went to bed I was so bummed. Did I even want to look at my phone? 209 emails in one inbox, 284 in another, 109 Facebook notifications, I couldn’t even bear to check the rest, but I weeded through it. Then I proceeded to un-check all Facebook notifications on my phone and desktop. So basically if you tag me, I won’t see it until I really want to. (wicked smile)
what I learned from a social media time out
I learned quite a few things about myself and social media in this very brief break.
- I need a social media time out at least once a month, if not every weekend. Not just for my sanity, but to focus on what’s really important, which to me is our family and getting healthy.
- The phone, with all it’s useful tools is a heavy burden. We can get caught up in numbers, followers, status updates, and forget to set boundaries. (That changes ASAP.)
- I’ve missed some pretty great moments with our girls and my husband the past few months building my business and working so much. But at what cost? Being with them, interacting, and playing without distractions makes me so much happier than being glued to my phone.
Of course with all of this comes some reflection and changes that need to be made. I used to have a pretty great social media organization plan in place, but now with Instagram and Snapchat it will need some revisions. But bottom line, there’s no reason when the kids are home from school, and I’m not working that the phone needs to be in our presence. It just takes away from our ability to be present.
If you too are feeling a bit overwhelmed about social media, your phone, and how to make it manageable, I urge you to take a time out. See what feels right for you and your business, and then after a few days assess how much you really need to be active. You might be surprised how little you miss it!
And stay tuned, I have already started creating a family-friendly social media schedule to help manage time, and still keep rocking your social media goals!