So, normally on my blog I’ve tended to write more or less strictly about things that would come to the benefit of you without ever necessarily going into much detail about myself — besides my two cents on various attractions and bucket list items etc.
This time though, we’re going a bit deeper. In fact, today I want to tell you about why I have completely put aside both blogging and social media for several months. I want to give you the reasoning, but more importantly, I want to talk about the results. Let’s get on with it.
I already had a general idea of the fact that I spend too much time on various websites, and generally waste way too much time. That is definitely true for me, and it is likely very true for you as well.
So, I used RescueTime to measure my time spent on all websites and social media; it’s a great tool that helps you understand your daily habits and thus helping you become more productive. Seeing those actual numbers was a good wakeup call. Especially Facebook and LinkedIn took up large chunks of my time on the computer.
Overall, I’ve spent hours upon hours doing basically nothing on those, especially Facebook where I was scrolling up and down without any significant purpose. I wasted tonnes of hours. Hours I will never get back. Hours I could have done anything else. Hours I could have developed. Hours I could have used to help others. And so forth. I did realize the problem long time ago, but never seemed to properly address it. That was until I finally decided to rectify the issue.
Similarly, I also wanted to focus entirely on “experiencing things” as opposed to “writing about experiencing things” which is what I often do on my blog. That is the somewhat ironic reality of blogging about getting out and doing things in your life. For me, I felt like the blogging part was gonna be fairly easy to put aside for a little while. However, whereas quitting social media was not gonna be as straight-forward.
How I Went About Doing It
My strategy to reduce social media included a few tools and tactics to help, which I would also recommend you to use:
- Initially used RescueTime to track and monitor social media and website usage.
- Changed from using the normal Facebook website (www.facebook.com) to Facebook Messenger (www.messenger.com), and thus essentially only using the chat feature.
- Used StayFocused, a Google Chrome app, which limits the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. There are similar solutions for other web browsers out there.
Talking about tools, I’ve written an extensive article about some of the must-have tools to stay productive.
Just like how smokers would have difficulties quitting cigarettes —or generally any other changes of habit — it’s not easy. What’s easier is to find excuses and tricks to get back to those old habits. I knew this terribly well so I enabled the StayFocused app to block out selected websites and domains I knew I wasted time on. I enabled the settings so that I would only have a maximum of 30-minutes total on these sites each day. It all seemed to work, but then…
While I was able to reduce the time I spent on social media, I realized that my personal issue with such time-wasting was not solely attributed to social media. In fact, as I reduced the time on social media the time spent on news websites increased. So, the time drain went from scrolling through news feeds to reading actual news. An improvement some might say, but still a time waste of great dimensions. Did I really have to revisit the same ol’ websites numerous times a day to catch up on the latest. Was I really that interested? Or was it all more or less about procrastinating in some way or another?
Funnily enough, when I then put the news-reading habit away, I suddenly started procrastinating with some console games and chess. What was going on?
The Deeper Issues at Hand
So, what I essentially learned is that the evil was not directly social media, but actually purely procrastination. And I think that’s true for many of us. If you think of procrastination as the disease, then one of the symptoms is excessive use of social media — which is easy as it often feels like a rewarding behaviour. Anyways, if you work your way around to only solve the symptom then that’s probably not gonna take you far as new symptoms will arise. Instead you need to focus at the deeper core at hand, the disease — the reason you procrastinate in the first place.
Well, the first step to a problem, as they often say, is to acknowledge that one do in fact have a problem. And I would say that wisdom holds true for procrastination as well. If you’re unable to admit the problem and recognise how you normally go about doing it, then you’re not likely to ever solve it. With that in mind and all set, now we need to identify the “why” to it all. Why do you procrastinate? Is the task at hand simply something that doesn’t motivate you properly? Perhaps there is something else?
For me I realized that I had to make more rewarding tasks and solutions that more significantly aligned with my greater goals in life, and I had to get rid some of my perfectionism that delayed all my efforts. Once I did that the need for procrastination reduced substantially. Now, here I greatly paraphrase how I found my personal solution (I might cover that more specifically in a later blog post). Because, by all means, there is no easy fix and it took a considerable time of reflection and thinking to get to the bottom of it all for myself. Besides unwanted tasks and perfectionism, other typical reasons to why we procrastinate include absence of structure, unpleasant tasks, timing, anxiety and self-confidence. Identify the one that affects your time-wasting and procrastination the most — and do something about it.
This article gives a thorough explanation to why we humans tend to procrastinate. It’s worth a read.
The Effecting Results
Now I don’t feel the urge to scroll through content upon content on Facebook or engage in unproductive chats and comments at a continous basis, and neither do I waste reading an unreasonable amount of news and so forth. Just like with my emails, I do check it briefly about once a day.
I also feel like that I’ve been really able to focus on “living”, as opposed to “show that I’m living”. People are probably not impressed (if they ever wore) about my latest travels and experiences (as they haven’t seen any of it) for a long while. But to some extent I’ve never really cared about showcasing my life. The sole reason to why I ever did it in the first place was to motivate and inspire — which I will continue to try to do in the future.
Overall, I’ve been able to focus on personal development to a greater degree, I have had time to focus on my startups and scale their actitvities. And now I’ve gotten greater time management and productivity skills that will enable me to have more time to spend on developing this blog.
I’m excited to see where it will take us. We will see!
Therefore, stay tuned and stop wasting time on things that will take you nowhere.