Hi gorgeous humans,
I shared last week about a new project I am doing – a series of 21 day challenges.
The first challenge I am doing is 21 days without social media.
- No Facebook or Instagram
- Messenger use is allowable
I began a week ago. Here’s a log I kept, along with notes, quotes + inspiration.
Sun 31 Jan (Challenge Eve):
I am trying to set myself up for success. Here’s how I’ve prepped:
- Had already deleted Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone & iPad
- Installed BlockSite Google Chrome extension on my laptop and blocked Facebook & Instagram
- Followed these instructions to block access to Facebook & Instagram on my phone
- Told my Facebook mates to either DM me or send me a snail mail so we could be penpals
- Told the world publicly to set off my Obliger tendencies so now I have to stick to the challenge. Ha!
Emotionally, I’m feeling a little bit excited and quite a lot anxious. My social media use has been a numbing mechanism for me for so long. I use it when I’m bored or want some headspace from the kids. It feels weird to be intentionally creating an empty space.
I wonder what will bloom forth from it once it is here.
Monday 1 Feb (and so we begin)…
My first day social media free! And it was… surprisingly easy. And good.
I’m glad I set myself up for success yesterday – at one point, I absentmindedly pulled out my phone and typed “facebook” in my browser, and was blocked. And it shocked me that I’d even gone to look it up without even thinking about it. It’s like sleepwalking while awake!
I also noticed my brain was a little calmer throughout the day. For instance: I was sitting outside on the verandah, and I wasn’t itching for my phone, because there wasn’t anything particularly exciting that could be happening on there. Instead I was just… there. Journalling. Looking at the birds. Noticing the air.
Remember a few years ago when I decided to take a few weeks off social media to recover from burnout… and it felt so good I continued the hiatus and didn’t return for six months? I don’t know why I was so worried about leaving social media… I’ve already done it before! And had a bloody great time. Re-reading those posts – my heart hurts for what I was going through back then. I was so profoundly jaded and hurt by so many things – being a public figure and dealing with multiple fires behind the scenes with staffing. I’m glad that I’ve healed and don’t feel the way I did back then. I’m glad creating feels sweeter and kinder again. I’m glad my business feels like a wonderful fit for me again.
Last night I sped-read through 10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier. It was kind of a crap read, probably would have been better just as an article instead. Still, useful chunks of info to consume and edify my resolve. Then I started reading The 52 Week Project: How I Fixed My Life By Trying A New Thing Every Week For A Year by Lauren Keenan. One of her projects is (of course) giving up social media. This kind of book is more up my alley – something that is more womxn-centric and is a memoir-ish story instead of a straight-up how-to.
Anyways, I’m working on a trickier project at the moment that I’m hoping to release in the next day or so. I’m glad I don’t have the temptation of social media to distract me from doing the important work.
Tuesday 2 Feb 2021 (Day 2)
I’ve had a busy day today – podcast interviews, launching a new program, went for a bushwalk & recorded a podcast episode, took the kids to a birthday party, grabbed takeaway Thai on the way home and marvelled at the vast swarm of bats that stretch for kilometres above the river at sunset.
So I get to the end of the day with barely a moment in sight to miss social media.
Still, I was surprised that I unconsciously opened up Facebook THREE times today, and got a little shock each time as my phone and laptop blocked me. It really is like sleep walking: how did I even end up here? How is this process so automated in me? I wasn’t even thinking!
I’ll be excited for the day when I don’t sleepwalk into social media again.
Thursday 4 Feb 2021 (Day 4)
Saturday 6 Feb 2021 (Day 6)
Looking back at the last week, I think it can be summed up in two easy dot points:
- Surprisingly easy to do as long as you have automatic blocks on your computer & phone to stop you sleepwalking into the Infinite Scroll
- Feeling so much clearer in my head & more powerful.
On a business front: I just finished up an early bird discount on my new course & it has earned more $$$ than any other early bird discount I’ve done. Without any use of social media (which I did for all previous course launches).
I had a look at traffic sources for the last year, and only 20% came from social media. Which is crazy considering how social media takes up MUCH MORE than 20% of my brain power + time. What could I do instead of endlessly creating more content for less traction on social media? What could I create outside of that environment?
I’m still pondering. I don’t know the answer yet, I will let you know when I do.
Here’s some of the quotes I’ve highlighted:
“We cannot passively allow the wild tangle of tools, entertainments, and distractions provided by the internet age to dictate how we spend our time or how we feel.
We must instead take steps to extract the good from these technologies while sidestepping what’s bad. We require a philosophy that puts our aspirations and values once again in charge of our daily experience, all the while dethroning primal whims and the business models of Silicon Valley from their current dominance of this role; a philosophy that accepts new technologies, but not if the price is the dehumanization”
“We added new technologies to the periphery of our experience for minor reasons, then woke one morning to discover that they had colonised the core of our daily life. We didn’t, in other words, sign up for the digital world in which we’re currently entrenched; we seem to have stumbled backward into it.”
(We need to) “confront the thicker reality of how these technologies as a whole have managed to expand beyond the minor roles for which we initially adopted them.
(We need to confront the reality of how these technologies) somehow coerce us to use them more than we think is healthy, often at the expense of other activities we find more valuable.”
And more related articles I’ve read this week:
- Author Ann Patchett has never seen social media + doesn’t own a cell phone.
- An illustrator takes a break from Instagram
- Mika Perry on quitting social media:
One day, I felt a thud in my heart that said “Let social media go” – I paid attention. And then it came again, and again, and again. “Let it go.” I started to question it and ask why I was feeling this. So towards the end of last year, I started questioning the role of social media in my life, comparing and contrasting the pros and cons of it.
I’ve even taken breaks before so I thought about those times, too. Then it pretty much dawned on me as the following words were impressed upon me in a real, gut-punching kind of way :
We were not made for this.
I have tears in my eyes just now typing that.
In a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and
valuable. Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable. Any
16-year-old with a smartphone can invent a hashtag or repost a viral
article. The idea that if you engage in enough of this low-value
activity, it will somehow add up to something of high value in your
career is the same dubious alchemy that forms the core of most snake
oil and flimflam in business.
Professional success is hard, but it’s not complicated. The foundation
to achievement and fulfillment, almost without exception, requires
that you hone a useful craft and then apply it to things that people
care about. This is a philosophy perhaps best summarized by the advice
Steve Martin used to give aspiring entertainers: “Be so good they
can’t ignore you.”
My… objection concerns the idea that social media is harmless.
Consider that the ability to concentrate without distraction on hard
tasks is becoming increasingly valuable in an increasingly complicated
economy. Social media weakens this skill because it’s engineered to be
addictive. The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to
be used — persistently throughout your waking hours — the more your
brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of
If you’re serious about making an impact in the world, power down your
smartphone, close your browser tabs, roll up your sleeves and get to
Sunday 7 Feb 2021 (Day 7)
I got my latest screen time report, and my phone use is down by a metric fucktonne:
I’m thrilled with the decrease, and feel really comfortable with where my screen time is at. Usually I’m horrified when I see the screen time report!
As this experiment has continued on, I’ve discovered I’m increasing in clarity + calmness of mind.
It’s made me consider other things I’d like to reduce or limit. How more isn’t necessarily more. And sometimes less can be positively decadent.
I’m absolutely THRILLED to keep going with this experiment for the next 14 days… and think it will end up going longer. Can’t wait to try another 21 day challenge as well! You can find my list of potential challenges here.