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The end of No Social Media month

by Karen on May 31, 2012

Remember a couple weeks ago when I was all, “I don’t even think about Facebook anymore!” That was true for a couple of weeks in the middle of the month. I experienced some withdrawal for the first week or so, and then for about two weeks, it was almost like social media didn’t exist. I was fine with out it.

As I get closer to the end of the month, though, I’m starting to feel the withdrawal symptoms creeping back. You know what’s funny, though? It’s not Facebook that I miss the most this week; it’s Pinterest. I can’t wait to look at all the pretty pictures of crafts and food and clothes. All of the sudden I’m finding things all over the Internet that I’m dying to share, and I have nowhere to post them. I can hardly wait until tomorrow.

I’m not entirely certain what will happen now. I’d like to say I’ve learned some life-changing lesson about balancing the real world with the Internet. I’d like to say I’ve made a vow to get off the computer and spend more time outside. It’s true that I want those things (maybe not outside if it’s 90 degrees, but I at least want to get out of the house), and I’m sure for the next few weeks I’ll be pretty good about sticking to it. I’ll probably use social media less for a while. But I’m a realist, and I know it won’t be long before I start feeling like I’m wasting time again.

Honestly, though, as I’ve said before: the benefits outweigh the cost. I may lose some time, but what I’m gaining is invaluable information and a support network which I depend on too much to give up.

Based on the experience, though, I do have a few small goals I’ve set for myself to help me find a little balance.

Limit screen time before bed.

These days, the only time I can read is right before I fall asleep. Before this experiment, I hated that I’d get into bed, log in to check Facebook “one more time,” and end up killing an hour playing with my phone. I sleep better when I read, and I like making time to read anyway, so I’d like to leave the Internet behind when it’s time for bed.

Get out of the house.

If I have a lot planned during the day that keeps us running around, Judah and I both stay more active and I don’t find myself wasting as much time. I’m teaching three classes this summer, Judah and I have been spending an hour a day at the YMCA where I work out, and Judah is enrolled in a weekly baby gym class. With all of these activities, staying busy shouldn’t be a problem.

Set limits.

This is my toughest goal, because I’ve tried to do this in the past, and failed miserably. There is never a time when I’m sitting on Facebook and there’s absolutely nothing else I should be doing. Sometimes it’s work that I’m avoiding, but other times it’s something I want to do — reading a book, quilting, spending time with my husband — but I get so caught up in the Internets that suddenly I look at the clock and an hour has passed.

I strive to live my life mindfully, though — mindful eating, mindful spending, and eventually, mindful time management. So I’m going to make my best effort to set hard limits and stick to them. In other words, if I’m wasting time on the Internet, I will tell myself, “You have 15 more minutes, and then it’s time to move on to something more productive.” Setting the limits won’t be hard at all — I do that all the time. The hard part is watching the clock, and actually sticking to the limits I’ve set.

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