During the evening of Sunday, January 21st I went into deep meditation. I often turn to it when I’m feeling stressed or when something is not working in my life.
Another weekend went by where I told myself I would take a break from social media for the whole weekend, but I ended up checking it anyway. I was no longer checking social media out of habit – l was checking it out of addiction.
I’ve taken many hiatuses from social media before. For many years I’ve given it up for months at a time. So I know how to stay off it. My problem is that when I’m on it, I want to check it many times each day to see who liked and commented on my posts. Despite my best efforts to check social media once a week or once a day, I often find myself addictively checking social media many times each day after I’ve posted an update.
I don’t burn up tons of time with checking social media. For me, it’s the frequency of checking it that gets me. I may only be on it for a few minutes at a time, but I’ll often find myself checking it five, sometimes ten times a day, especially after I’ve posted something.
This “all or nothing” tendency is unique to social media. In most other areas of my life, I strike a good balance. What’s interesting about this is I don’t have an addictive personality. I’m a healthy person, exercise regularly, and have good overall habits.
I’m being open about this tendency to check social media too much with the thinking that you or someone you know can relate.
The meditation the evening of the 21st paid off. Starting Monday, January 22nd I’ve been off social media. Other than checking it four times (twice for the details of a call I had set up with someone via LinkedIn before I began the hiatus, once because I was having a bad morning and needed a little relief, and once because I couldn’t sleep – hey, I’m not perfect), I can proudly say I haven’t been on it for more than a month now. I haven’t checked social media once since February 14th. I will be continuing this hiatus into early April.
The purpose of this article is to share with you five ridiculously awesome benefits of taking a social media hiatus.
- You Will Be More Productive
Your time is both limited and valuable. Social media not only takes up time, but it also takes away some of your energy. When you see other people’s social media posts, what they said will be on your mind. Seeing other people’s social media posts may not seem like a big deal, but it’s time that could have been used to work on something else.
Being off social media allows you to be more productive and get more done. Had I been checking social media today, I may not have had time to write this article. Being off social media allows you to get more done, feel more accomplished, and work on your biggest goals.
- You Will Be More Creative
Being off social media gives you space to think. Rather than having to think about what your friend had for dinner or what your family member did over the weekend, you will have more mental clarity to be creative and think of new ideas to apply in your life, job, and/or business. Increased creativity is hugely beneficial because you’ll think of solutions to challenges that previously may have eluded you. Along with increased creativity, you’ll also feel lighter and freer.
Going on a social media hiatus will leave you with more brainpower. This is not a motivational statement or a figure of speech – it’s a statement of fact. You’ll literally have more mental energy left over to focus on getting your life to the next level of success.
- You Will Be Happier
When you take a break from social media, you’ll no longer be comparing yourself to other people. In this fake world and society we live in, most people pretend like their lives are perfect on social media. Even when things are going wrong, people usually won’t show you that. Since social media exposes you to people’s highlight reels and agendas, it’s very difficult to not compare yourself to them. I’ve felt badly about myself even after achieving big goals because it seems like there is always someone who is doing better (thank you, Instagram, for that one). Had I been off social media, I would have been happy about achieving my goal without the need to size it up next to someone else’s accomplishment.
- You Will Have More Time For Reflection
One of the most important parts of life is increasing your self-awareness through self-reflection. Taking a break from social media will give you more space to reflect. You’ll be able to think about the big picture of your life without getting caught up in the day-to-day minutiae. Ultimately, more time for reflection means more lessons learned, increased wisdom, and the potential for a deeper impact on the world. Don’t let social media prevent you from making a meaningful contribution to this world.
- You Will Deepen Your Relationships
Before I went on this social media hiatus, there was one weekend where I checked Twitter on a Saturday (even though I told myself and my significant other I wouldn’t be checking social media over the weekend). I wasn’t on Twitter for that long, but it took away time from being in the moment with my girlfriend. When you take a break from social media, it helps you to realize what is truly important in your life: your relationships. Focus on what matters. You pay attention to what you truly care about.
For The Record: I’m Not Against Social Media
For the record, I’m not against social media. Some people will tell you to quit the platform entirely and I don’t agree with that. There are lots of great uses to social media, and when used appropriately it can be used to inspire and bring value to others. There’s always a balance and two sides to any given argument, and there are some definite uses to social media. It helps you to keep in touch with old friends and connect with new people. I featured a successful entrepreneur I met through Facebook, Suzanne Duret, in my book The Power of Authentic Leadership. On top of that, social media was a big part of why the three books I’ve published all did well.
Social media is valuable in its own way. What I’m saying is that you don’t want to let it consume you and take over your life. Either you are in control of social media, or social media is in control of you. Choose to use social media with purpose instead of becoming addicted to it. Social media is valuable for your brand, so if you can afford it hire someone to run your social media for you. If you’re using it yourself, it’s up to you to use it responsibly. Use tools like Hootsuite to schedule automated posts to platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media outlets. With the power of Hootsuite, I’ve been able to continue to post to LinkedIn even though I’m not signing in and checking notifications at the moment. Reap the rewards of a social media hiatus so that when you are on social media, you are able to use it consciously and responsibly.
Concluding Thoughts and Bringing It All Together
Ask yourself an important question: do you really want to go through life being addicted to social media?
If the answer is no, consider going on a social media hiatus for as short or long as you’d like. Realize that social media is designed to be addictive, and the creators of these platforms are doing everything they can to continually monetize your attention. When you experience the rewards of a social media hiatus, you’ll feel more in control of your life. Take back your personal power and stop letting social media control your life. Liberate yourself and find the freedom you’re looking for. From this elevated perspective social media can then be used as a way to reach your goals, help others, and uplift society, not as something to be mindlessly addicted to.