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Social Media Fast Ends: Here's What I Learned


When Russell M. Nelson urged the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to take a 10-day fast from social media, I gladly accepted the invitation. Although I had actually been revving up my use of social media in the preceding days, and felt like I was getting into more of a groove with my blogging and online presence, I also recognized the value in what President Nelson was suggesting. He said:
The effect of your 10-day fast may surprise you. What do you notice after taking a break from perspectives of the world that have been wounding your spirit? Is there a change in where you now want to spend your time and energy? Have any of your priorities shifted—even just a little? I urge you to record and follow through with each impression.
I knew immediately that I needed time away from distractions. A smartphone, computer, and even my Fitbit constantly turned my attention away from what was happening right in front of me. Little minutes here and there added up to big chunks of time spent frivolously. I determined to break free of the addictive nature of my devices, and I put them aside (for the most part) for ten days. (I did spend some time doing family history research one day,  I checked email a couple of times, and visited messenger to retrieve an address.) 

Without the screen constantly beckoning, how did I spend my time? Well, we now have two cars parked in the garage. The basement is also organized. I attended the temple. I am well into a major sewing project. I visited a neighbor in her home, another neighbor dropped by to see me, and John and I went to see friends we hadn't seen in 20 years! One car got tires, another got brakes. I got a haircut, and Drexel went to the groomer. I spent some time with youngest daughter. John and I went to a movie, and out to eat. I started reading one book, and started re-reading another. In short, projects big and small got accomplished, and I had plenty of time for fun, too. 

Today, my Fitbit is back on my wrist. My smartphone sits beside me as I compose this post. However, I still have most notifications turned off. I responded to friends' posts on my Facebook timeline, replied to comments on past blog posts, and commented on posts that had linked up to last week's Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. 

I still have tasks online that need to be done, but I feel the pull of real life. It felt great to take a break from my devices. What I hope to take away from this 10-day fast is the ability to build into my day large chunks of time that are distraction-free. While I might still be online each day, I plan to limit the time I spend there. I will dedicate time for online tasks, and get done what I can in that time, rather than think, "I need to get x, y, and z done," and then continue pursuing those tasks until completed, no matter how long they take. For me, that seems a better balance. 

I'm thankful for a break, and the insights I gained. 

Have you taken a break from social media before? What did you learn?

Comments

  1. Yes, I've taken breaks from social media - this summer and last summer, and five years ago, I stopped watching television. I read more, quilt more and knit more. I've reached out and made new friends. I think it's important to shut off the world and final a balance with it and with reality.

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    1. My parents got rid of our television when I was little, so I had the advantage of not having one around. While I do have television in my home now, I've never been one to watch endlessly. The computer and smartphone, however, can be major distractions for me if I'm not careful.

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  2. I loved doing the challenge!

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  3. I turned off all app notifications (with one or two necessary exceptions) and deleted all games and social media from my phone. I limit my online time to my "office hours" for the most part. It's made an amazing difference in my productivity (and my mood). I love my online friends and colleagues. I love the connections there. But I needed to restore balance. I am a much happier person. Glad this was good for you!

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    1. I agree with you. It's not about rejecting online connections; it's about me freeing myself from the addictive nature of devices.

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  4. The word 'perspective' (in your post) jumped out at me, as it always does.

    If there is a secret to (life/the universe/finding the Way) it is, in my opinion, to be found in the 'power of perspective'. To be able, and more importantly, willing to allow for more than we can see/know/sense or feel to life and the world and such, is surely the key.

    For better or worse, we all have only so much time in our day and how we live the moments are, for the most part, our choice.
    The tendency to form habits and routines seems to be a natural force within life, making it easier to repeat the myriad decisions we make in the course of a day.
    Interrupting a routine (such as online routine) not only can be refreshing, it can be instructive, provided we look. If we are observant we will see beyond the 'well, I have a blog to run, comments to reply to, a message to leave.' and, if we are very observant, we see how we relate ourselves to these routines.

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    1. And NOW I get the "how we relate ourselves" idea! :-)

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