What Social Media Free Sundays Have Taught Me
Let me preface this by first explaining why I took this last Sunday off of social media entirely. I had a crap ton of work that I needed to get through in order to do more fun things during the week, like seeing some friends and taking part in my writers group, where I actually write for my own blog and not for other people’s. I needed WARP DRIVE productivity levels to get through my to-do list.
I’m an All-or-Nothing Kinda Girl
I can’t half-ass anything. If I go on social media just to check my DMs, I will digress into mindless scrolling for a few minutes. Then 10 minutes later, because I already did it once, I’ll convince myself that it’s not such a big deal and I can do it again. It’s a spiral. Once I’m in, I’m sucked into the black hole that is Instagram.
However, if I tell myself I’m not opening any social media apps all day, I can stick to it. It’s like a challenge to myself and, well, I hate losing. Once I’ve gone a whole morning without opening Facebook, Instagram or even LinkedIn, I can power through the rest of the day without it.
One day a week to stay off social media has been totally doable and easy to fit into my schedule without serious FOMO. Yes, social media is necessary for my job - I literally write social media content for others and I share about what I’m doing in my business. But, I do not have to be on it all the time to see the benefits of sharing what I’m up to.
3 Reasons Why You Might Also Want to Unplug for a Day
I’ve learned a lot about my own tendencies, and while I am a self-professed Insta junkie, I also learned some not-so-awesome truths about what social media does to my brain.
1. The Longer on Social Media Apps, the Worse the Squirrel Brain
On days when I’m fully engaged on social media and not limiting my time on the apps, my brain is all over the place. You know when you pick up your phone to make a note, and instead you go into Instagram and start scrolling, only to forget why you picked up your phone in the first place? That happens ALL THE TIME when I’m on social.
If I leave my phone next to me while I’m working, I’ll subconsciously pick it up when my brain is struggling to think through something. It’s a literal dopamine hit to distract myself from the work that needs to be done. I heard a staggering stat on a podcast the other day - if we just focused on one thing at a time we would be done our work in 2.5 hours. But when we are constantly task-switching and multitasking and checking our phones, that 2.5 hours of work takes us 6 hours to complete. For a freelancer who bills by the hour, this is not an option.
2. No Social Media = Maximum Creativity
I think there’s two reasons why my creativity is at a max when I’m off my phone. First, instead of taking breaks from work on my phone, I’m going outside, reading a book, or daydreaming. I literally give my brain a break from the constant focus or distractions. That’s when creative ideas come to us - when we aren’t busy doing other things. I had so many blog ideas just pop up out of nowhere.
Second, I wasn’t bombarded with other people’s creativity, which inevitably colours my own voice and ideas. It also sets me up to second guess my work and I start to wonder what other people would think, because that’s what social media teaches us to value. Without that constant chatter, I just let the creativity flow, and flow it did.
3. Unplugging Reinstated My North Star
Along the same vein, I found that when I blocked out other people’s lives and opinions, I could more easily hear my inner voice. I reaffirmed the direction I’m headed in. I wanted to get work done, because I love what I’m doing now. I also sat back and let myself feel gratitude for making a living from home, writing with great women.
I also naturally returned to things that I love. I spent my time editing and writing show notes for my podcast, finishing a novel, and enjoying the sunshine. I slowed down and focused inward. It had me reflecting on what happens when we’re predisposed to distraction. If every time we encounter a negative emotion or even just boredom we distract ourselves, will we every do the work to correct what’s bugging us?
Disconnect a Day a Week to Connect with Yourself
A day a week off social media is an easy entry point for you to learn how the apps are affecting you. It might be uncomfortable at first, but it’ll be nothing compared to the discomfort of not connecting with what’s important to you, and waking up miserable years down the road.
Lay off the distractions and take the time to dig into negative emotions. Explore where you need to make some changes, and start to listen to what your heart desires. It could be as simple as spending more time outside, or with other people, or even on your own with your hobbies. Starting small will prepare you to go big and follow your heart in larger life decisions.