When I am due some time off for holidays I always intend to include a social detox within my break. To work on being instead of doing and allowing my brain time to slow right down and enjoy wherever I may be in the moment.
However as the years have gone by I know it is harder to tune out, with the smart phone and tablet evolution it seems there aren’t many places these days that are WiFi free and completely off grid.
Sitting in cafe’s with free WiFi means it is so tempting just to take a quick look at Twitter and see what is going on. Or pin a few pictures on Pinterest. And if I have any spare time going online is usually the first place I head to, to fill the time gap and keep me occupied.
Mr Scarletta and I ventured off to France for a couple of weeks for our holiday and it was totally my intention to switch off and the plan was for Scarletta social radio silence. Before we set off whilst looking a printed books to read in WHSmith I noticed an abundance of colouring books for adults. If you are familiar with the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron you’ll know how crucial it is for us to spend some time being creative, playing and doing stuff we simply enjoy daily and weekly.
So I treated myself to one of the books, bought some lovely colouring pencils and thoroughly enjoyed sitting and colouring the templates. Whenever the urge to go online creeped up on me, I grabbed my book and sat still and coloured-in.
Being on a campsite with very sporadic WiFi definitely helped my cause, as we were only able to use one device at a time, Mr Scarletta is into playing online chess and the connection speed was painfully slow. Just like the good old dial up days, if you remember them?!
I realise sitting colouring-in for an hour may not be your bag, however I believe it is crucial that we all find ways to manage our time and social activity before it manages us. We don’t have to be constantly on alert and active 24-7.
These are some of my own observations from my social detox:
- Let go of the need to respond to emails and social messages instantly. One of the difficulties I had whilst on my petite social sabbatical was that friends and family kept on messaging me and I felt compelled to respond. It seemed a bit rude to wait a couple of weeks until we were back home.
- Show up and share online only when I feel I have something valuable to share, say or participate in. Before I left I decided not to schedule in an abundance of Scarletta posts and updates for the duration of my holiday, which is exactly what I felt I had to do for time off before. This time I shared some photos on Instagram but otherwise social activity from me was very quiet. And I feel absolutely OK with that. Nothing disastrous happened I’ve come back and picked up where I left off.
- Be mindful, manage my social activity and use my social time more wisely. Dipping in and out online up to three times a day means my distractions are reduced. I am able to focus on one thing at a time instead of having Facebook, Twitter and all running in the background all day. I turned off the notifications for the apps on my phone and tablet and this also helps manage my productivity and attention span.
Is your social media activity managing you?
If you feel you need to get a grip on managing your social activity get really honest about how you are spending your time online and what impact it is having on your working life and well being.
Observe your patterns and habits. Are you attempting to multi-task online whilst doing other things? There are apps like Rescue Time that will help you get a clear picture on how you spend your time online and then encourage you to do something to manage it.
As mindful social media feels so much more structured, social and manageable.