The social media channels have perfected the art and science of drawing us in and capturing our attention. It is so novel to the human brain and I am not sure we know the full implications of the across the board reduction in attention spans. I noticed it happening to me and I also noticed the amount of time and energy it took from me. Something had to change for my wellbeing and productivity. So I changed.
I intentionally quit using Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for long periods of time. I had no real plan as far as for how long I would stay off, but I knew I had to go cold turkey. It really wasn’t that hard to do. I deleted the apps from my phone, logged out of the services from all my devices, and intentionally chose to do other things with that time I gained back.
I have to say my attention span increased, as did my productivity and overall mood. I listened to more podcasts, read more books, and wrote more. My amygdala shrunk back to normal size by ignoring most “news” and mainstream outrages and the current thing bandwagons. I carefully curated my only newsfeed for stories about human progress, personal growth, fitness, nutrition, and wellbeing…and of course dank memes!
So how am I holding up? I have not logged in Twitter in about 3 years, Instagram for about a year and a half, and while I was off Facebook for about 8 months I did return for some educational and neighborhood groups and to keep up with local events for social and community things which I felt I was missing out since so many entities post their updates to Facebook. (I also am the admin for a fair amount of pages – like this one – and groups that I need to update from time to time.) I now limit my time to 5 minutes max when I view the site. I may get back on my Instagram to promote my coaching business but I am in no hurry as I am busy with other projects. I will need to create a time limit policy for myself once I do. Oh, and I still keep my LinkedIn profile updated as needed.
This whole story seems pretty underwhelming perhaps, but it has really been a game changer for my wellbeing. Social media is taking us away from real human interaction, stealing our focus, dividing us politically, and sucking our time and energy. How have you flipped your script on social media use?