Do you feel the pull?
When you fire up your phone just to “check” if anything is new on Facebook.
When you’re bored with that you switch to Instagram. When looking at perfectly curated photographs gets old you cue up Twitter. Before you know it, you forgot why you even opened your browser.
Like walking into a room and wondering what brought you there in the first place.
The pull I’m talking about is that nagging feeling that you might be wasting time - Your time.
More than money, more than fast cars, your time is the most valuable asset you have and the one you can control the most.
Social media is a boredom cure, bathroom buddy (oh, c’mon, you know you do), and creativity killer.
A few weeks back I realized I didn’t like who I was when I was scrolling and scrolling, when I have better things to do and people I love who want my attention.
I took a Facebook-free weekend, and learned a lot about myself, and the people around me.
Monday morning though, I was back at it.
Like a dieter who was binging on chocolate cake. Standing up. At the kitchen counter.
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. LinkedIn.
I’d set up little games with myself as I was working on my book. Write for 30 minutes, then reward myself with a Facebook break.
I was bored.
When I realized I was scrolling though pages and pages of updates without actually even reading anything, I knew something had to give.
Then this landed in my inbox and out of curiosity, I whipped out my calculator to see how much time I’d spend on social media by the time I was 100.
For simplicity sake, I estimated spending an hour a day on the drip.
If I’ve been on social media since 2007 and I spend an hour a day until I’m 100, that’s 73 years.
365 hours a year on social media, 26,645 hours of my life. That’s 3.03 years.
I thought about what I could accomplish with three years.
I could write a dozen books, a hundred blog posts, potty train a stubborn child, teach someone to read, master a language, or read 50 books.
Three freaking years.
Let that sink in.
Once I quantified this, I uninstalled Twitter from my phone. The next day I uninstalled Instagram.
I don’t have plans to quit Facebook anytime soon. It’s a tool that helps me set up real life things - with real people. I feel good about it, so it’s valuable to me and I mostly like the person I am when using it.
But…if I spend an hour a day on Facebook, that’s still three years of my life that are gone by the time I’m 100. That’s a lot of time and way more than I’m willing to donate to the scrolling time wasting gods.
Even if I limit Facebook to 15 minutes a day that’s still a big part of my life. Math whizzes feel free to do the calculation for me. I'm done with math for the day.
For now, I feel good about 15 minutes a day. Not sure yet how I’ll do it – keep a timer? I'm not into being super-strict and rigid - too fussy for me.
Being mindful of how I'm spending my time is the first step.