In December, I decided I needed a break. It was the end of a long and challenging year, and I needed to get my mind right for the new year ahead, I needed a break from a few things in my life. I decided the most distracting thing to walk away from was social media.
My social media break lasted a week, and it was a wonderful week. I was still busy with the kids, my mom, and preparing for Christmas, but I wasn’t worrying about status updates, messages, tweets, pins or anything else. I just focused on spending time with my family and outlining my goals for 2015. Indeed, it was a much-needed break for my mind and soul.
Time off from social media—or anything for that matter—really makes you think about what role something plays in your life. Does it add value? Is it a distraction? Were you depending on it more than you needed to? Does it enhance your life? Were you overusing it?
I asked myself all of these questions after my social media break and realized that social media needs to play a smaller role in my life. Do I need it? Yes, I do. Mainly because I am trying to build a media company, and my activity online plays a critical role in the success of that business. But do I need it as much as I use it? No, I don’t. It’s a time waster for sure.
And not only is keeping up with social media taking way from time that could be better used for business tasks, but it is also taking away from time I could be using to enhance the quality of the relationships in my life. My kids notice when I pick up the phone in the evenings to check an alert I just received. My husband may take offense when I use the car ride to Wegmans to send tweets while the kids nap instead of engaging in a conversation with him.
So once I realized I have a problem on my hands, I had to ask myself what I planned to do to change it. So what’s my answer? I plan on taking a social media break monthly now. At first I said I would do it every quarter, but it’s been about 3 weeks since my last break and I feel the need for another. But this is going to be hard!
During my weeklong break, I realized something so important and I feel compelled to share it with all of you. Taking a week off didn’t matter that much. Before the week started, I scheduled what needed to go out to my readers, including Facebook posts, tweets, blog posts, and an email to my subscribers. With all of that done, I just kicked back and enjoyed life, remembering that people were just fine before social media, and the need to feel connected all the time is a dangerous need to have.
Nowadays, I am less concerned about status updates and messages, and more concerned about focusing so I can do the things I need to do for my business to grow. The less time I spend distracted by platforms developed to connect people, the more connected I feel to the people who matter most. Reconnecting with them is now my top priority.
I love social media. I won’t lie about that. However, we have to set boundaries even with the things we love. Social media plays an important role in the growth of my business, and it does allow me to stay connected to friends I otherwise would have lost contact with. That said, it doesn’t need to be a constant in my life. Being connected most of the time is more than enough. I think taking a week off from time to time will do me some good. It would do all of us some good.