A few weeks ago I came across an article titled “In the time you spend on social media each year, you could read 200 books,” and it really made me think… am I spending too much time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…? My immediate thought was no, of course not — I’m way too busy to be spending that much time on social media! I haven’t fallen into that trap like most others.
A few minutes later, I found myself subconsciously on Facebook, scrolling through posts. Then it hit me like a Michael Jordan crying meme — I have a social media addiction! I’m not sure if this called for an intervention, or if I needed to attend a social media anonymous meeting (or if there even are such a thing), or if I just needed to go cold turkey from Facebook (my go-to drug of choice) for a little bit.
I took swift and immediate action and did what I never thought I would. I deleted Facebook from my phone.
The first few days were rough — I’m not kidding. I repeatedly found myself searching my iPhone for that beautiful, blue app with the ‘f’ on it. I needed my fix! It wasn’t there. I was bored without it. I was also free.
Now the ultimate test: see how I would spend the extra time each day away from Facebook. At first, every time I tried to access Facebook on my phone, and realized it wasn’t there, I would open my Smart News app. Within a few days I had a much better understanding of what was really going on in the world. My mental sanity started to improve. The issues and news were no longer clouded by someone’s opinionated anti-this or pro-that comments to go along with the article they were sharing on Facebook. I was able to formulate my own thoughts prior to reading someone else’s and their network’s.
The next thing that happened was the most surprising to me: I had more patience with my kids. I wasn’t constantly picking up my phone to see what was going on in my friends’ lives, their views on the government, or pictures of their pets.
My mental health improved. I became calmer, more relaxed, and open to taking meetings during hours when I routinely wouldn’t have tried to squeeze them in (either in person or over the phone).
In fact, I found myself spending more time on LinkedIn. You may be thinking I just traded one drug for another. Sure, perhaps. However, one positive about LinkedIn, is that the updates are not nearly as frequent as Facebook; even if you’re a social media addict, you won’t spend nearly as much time browsing the app because there just aren’t the sheer amount of new updates as on Facebook or Twitter.
What happened next, was most surprising!
I found myself congratulating people within my LinkedIn network on their new jobs and work anniversaries, and thanking them for endorsing me for a skill (girls love guys that have skills!). I was genuinely excited for people I’m connected with, and their successes. One might think these are things I should have been doing anyway. The truth is, with over 5,000 connections, it’s all but impossible to stay in constant contact with everyone. Honestly, I’ve probably lost touch with 97% of my network over the past 10 years.
Simply re-connecting, and checking in on my connections’ career paths, may ultimately prove to be a hidden gem of new business opportunities. Over the course of the next two weeks I had set up five organic business meetings with people in my network.
Deleting Facebook from my phone has been the best “productivity hack” that I’ve discovered over the past several years. Deleting Facebook has calmed me down, made me more patient, helped develop a stronger connection with my kids, and proven to be the best time saver for my career at this stage in my life. Additionally. I am halfway through Anthony de Mello’s “Awareness.” While I don’t believe I will read 200 books a year, I do believe that my productivity at work will continue to increase, my home life will continue to improve, and I will read an additional 10 to 15 books per year.
Want a new idea you can “like”? Unfriend Facebook (or at least the mobile app anyway).