Monday 12 September 2016

Social media detox

In a recent workshop in Shanghai we were exploring the different ways of facilitating a more creative mindset. The theory being that a creative mindset would enable us to identify even more opportunities and options for "what next". 

Doing something different and getting out of the normal routine, whether for meetings, life more generally or these type of brainstorming sessions was high on the list.

After returning from Shanghai I had a few days at work and then, with friends arriving, committed to have a break from social media. The aim being to take time to just be in the now, and see what ideas came to mind. 
In the past I've taken the odd weekend off social media, and didn't find longer holidays that much of a problem either. These weekends might consist of use of the phone solely for phone calls and texts, with iPad turned off and left in the office. With emails happily left unopened for the duration.

Wow - how times have changed, and how easily my phone and iPad have come to provide a crutch for day to day living. A crutch that it seems has stopped me from thinking - never mind thinking creatively. 

Here's what I discovered: 

  • Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn: these were easy - I just deleted the apps from my phone and iPad and left them alone. Ignoring the desire to share a picture of my friends and I on FB, and knowing it would wait till the weekend.
  • Emails: on one account I was able to leave an out of office. On the other the problem (or was it an excuse) was I was waiting for 4 or 5 replies to emails. So I decided to go email free for the weekend and just check in with emails via iPad at the end of each day. Not engaging with any others than those I'd been waiting for and that impacted my plans over the next 10 days.
  • News: the News app, along with social media and emails, has been the one major area of time lost on the phone/iPad. So I intended to restrict its use - ether watching TV news or listening to radio news. This intention was harder to keep to. 
  • Others apps: I had hoped to be able to leave my iPhone alone, and where possible I did, but hadn't realised how I had allowed it to act as a crutch for every day living for things such as:

  • Tide times for the local beach
  • Google maps for location of places we were visiting
  • Weather forecast
  • Websites for opening times
  • Twitter for Traffic Scotland updates - always useful for the A9
  • Amazon prime video - I've not watched a DVD for ages
  • MIT Edx - for Ulab MOOC
  • FMTV - source of health and wellbeing videos
  • YouTube - Ted talks, music videos (I'm mesmerised by Christine and the queens every time I venture on)
  • Amazon - say no more 
  • Recipes 
  • Sainsburys grocery shopping 
  • Kindle for reading
  • and so on

I've only been back on line a day and so far have used my phone/iPad much less than I had been prior to the break. If that continues then I will be able to say the detox was successful.

Time away from social media has given me more time to read and do things that I've missed - we'll have to see if that's just because I was on holiday?

What do you need a detox from? and when will you take it?

Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out - in procurement and those (not so) soft skills

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