I completely short circuited today. I did everything I was supposed to do; everything written in pencil on my five by seven life preserver I call an agenda. On the outside, I was cordial, coherent, and polite. I may have even told a joke or two. Who knows. Because in my head there was a mess of facts, figures, opinions, and general crap.
I blame the internet. I’m absolutely kidding of course. I’m an adult with a fairly healthy amount of self control. I blame myself for allowing the internet, mainly social media, to eat my brain. Between meditating, teaching, running, and entertaining my kid, I have no idea how many emails I responded to, or how many comments I replied to on Instagram and Facebook. To say nothing of the ‘accidentally’ liking, posting, forwarding and other such nonsense that left me totally glitched by 5pm.
There was only one solution. I ran as far as I could, as fast as I could, then turned around and came home. Something about running like a wild animal seams to clear my mind. It reminds me that I’m a human and not a machine. Yet, the problem remains. Tomorrow I will wake up and have alerts on each of my social feeds and numerous new emails. These are all good things. If I woke up and had no alerts, it would probably mean that I would shortly have to start looking for a new line of work.
I’m not one of those people who rant about the evils of social media on social media (you know who you are). Nor do I think that technology is bad and pray for the good ol’ days of the Oregon Trail (side note: Oregon Trail is the best game ever made). Technological advances, particularly the internet, have made our lives exponentially better. The issue is our addictive personalities. The human mind craves instant gratification. And that’s what we’re seeking every time real life gets hard, or God forbid, boring, and we thumb our phones for the tiniest hit of dopamine.
I don’t know about you, but it is rare that anything on the internet truly makes me feel better. Actually, I’ve begun to notice that I grind on my back molars every time I go to open an app. I’m rarely looking for something ‘good’. Subconsciously, I’m thinking, please don’t let me see anything bad.
Now, it’s been widely reported that the average person spends over two hours on social media a day. I’m willing to bet that’s a conservative estimate. That’s 730 hours a year of our f*cking lives. Do you know what you can get done with that kind of time? Who knows. You could’ve been a doctor by now.
Here’s what I’m proposing- for one week, we go analog. We delete, turn off alerts, or completely sign off of our social media accounts. I know a lot of us use it for work, but put aside your delusions of grandeur for a moment, no one’s going to miss you. Actually, you are probably a little over exposed. Give the crowd some time to pine over you.
Then, we set office hours. ‘We’ as grown and empowered adults decide that we are only going to answer emails between certain hours. The times are totally up to you. I don’t check my emails before 9a or after 7p. If those that contact you expect an immediate response, set an ‘away message’. Most people just want to know their message was received.
With two hours back each day we can focus on nurturing our relationships, improving ourselves, learning a new hobby, or finally finishing that book. Those are just examples, but I’m positive there is something, or a few things, you’ve been putting aside because you just “don’t have the time”.
So, are you in?!