A Forced Fast From Facebook

For the last few weeks I’ve had a forced fast from Facebook.

This wasn’t actually of my own doing, I was forced into it.

I recently visited a certain country in this fine universe and explored its countryside. However, in doing so I had no opportunity to look at Facebook or other social media because it was blocked. It wasn’t just on my phone or my laptop, it was blocked on every single device you could possibly think of.

And you know what? I loved it!

In some ways I was looking forward to not having Facebook accessible because that would give me a good test. It would test my addiction to the screen and to social media. It would test my need to know what others are doing all the time. It would test my ego by not broadcasting silly messages to people I know and hardly know. But, instead of a test I found it quite simple. I found it a positive experience and one that could help me in the future.

Now that I’m back and able to connect on social media I find myself less reticent to do so. Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

1. I’m spending more quality time with the people I love – My family doesn’t have me looking at my phone when I’m with them, they’ve got my whole attention.

2. I wanted the apps deleted from my phone – I actually deleted the apps of Facebook and Twitter from my phone on the place back home. I know that it’s easy to get them back but at this stage I haven’t needed to. I’ve actually taken the step to get rid of those apps and find myself feeling lighter and freer without them.

3. Social media has been put in perspective – When you’re in the zone of constantly looking at social media apps it becomes an all encompassing pastime. There is always a new photo or a comment or a tweet. They just keep coming. Once out of the zone you begin to realise that you’re not missing much, if anything of substance at all. You being to realise what a waste of time the whole enterprise can be.

4. I have more control on what I want to see – Without others bugging me for their attention I’m now able to control who I see and what I see at a more appropriate time and place. When in the zone you’re out of control, you think you’re in control but not really. Now I find myself being able to quickly look through what I’ve missed in the last day or two and catch up on anything important, of which there may have been one thing in the last 10 days, and then go back to whatever it is I was doing or wanted to do.

5. I’ve more energy – I find that I’ve now got more energy within myself to deal with other things in life than dealing with this made-up stress that is social media. I even attacked the garden last weekend!

I’m sure there’s plenty more benefits if I took more time to think about it. But, needless to say, I’d highly recommend curbing your social media diet in 2014. What can you put in place now to help you with that?


That’s Not The Reaction I Expected!

Have you ever been in a situation where you said something, saw something, or did something and the reaction you received wasn’t what you expected? I’m sure its happened to the best of us, particularly when driving. 😉

Photo by: Strong Church

The other week I divorced my iPhone. It was a decision that had been building for a while and took a couple of months to action. Change can take a while to action, particularly when it’s something as big as divorcing the iPhone.

It’s now been a couple of weeks since this smartphone divorce has taken place and boy has it got some unexpected reactions. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been telling people about this change. Sometimes it’s simply come about because people have seen the little Nokia 110 that I’ve begun carrying around. Other times I’ve used it to spark an interesting conversation and see how people react.

The reactions that I’ve received from everybody I’ve talked to has been surprising. It’s been surprising because everyone’s been overwhelming positive. In fact, I can’t remember a negative reaction. The response to the change I’ve made in divorcing my iPhone is usually, “That’s awesome, I should think about doing something like that.”

It seems to me, from the antidotal evidence that I’ve received in conversation and via comments on this blog, is that everyone recognises their smartphones are causing problems. There is either an over reliance or addiction to these devices which don’t make for healthy people or healthy relationships.

This wasn’t really the reaction I was expecting.

I was expecting that more people would laugh at what I’d undertaken, or joke about how I’ll only last a few days, or perhaps even convince me turn back to the iPhone. Instead, everyone’s loved the move and can completely understand why I’m doing this. It’s not because I can’t cope with the iPhone. I coped with it for 4 years. It’s more to do with making a positive lifestyle change that enables me to be more productive and engaged with my friends and family.

When people understand the motivations behind this change it’s no wonder I’m getting positive reactions to this move.

This thought leads me to ask, what reaction do you have to people giving up things you value or do?

What I’ve Learnt After 10 Days of iDivorce

Ten days ago I divorced my iPhone.

Photo by: Nessie

This decision wasn’t taken lightly and took about a month or two to finally take action. There’s a sense of apprehension when thinking about giving up something that has a big influence on your life. Yes, it’s true, the iPhone has had a big influence on me, I’m sure it has on you too.

But now, I’m a week without. I’m a week without the silky glass screen, the simple design, the apps that’ve kept me organised, distracted, and allow me to know where I am.

This past week has made me realise a number of things.

First, I’ve learnt that I don’t actually need my iPhone as much as I thought I did.

I’ve been surprised how easy its been to give up my iPhone. I think everyone could do it. I thought I’d need it a lot more, or I would really need it for multiple tasks each day, as it turns out I don’t. Sometimes it’s just the thought of missing something that stops us from making progress or change. This was certainly the case for me, perhaps its the case for you too?

Second, I’ve learnt that I’m much more productive.

One of the perceived benefits of the iPhone is its productivity. This hasn’t been true for me. The last 10 days has been one of the more productive 10 days of the year. It’s enabled me to have more focused time on the projects and tasks that I’ve got on my plate. It’s also allowed me to do things like read, or engage in a TV documentary, or even talk with people I haven’t seen in a while.

Third, I’ve learnt that people know they’re addicted to their phones.

Everyone I’ve spoken to about this change has been highly positive of the move. People that I’m in contact with realise that their phones are distracting them and causing them more harm than good. I’ve been quite surprised at the reaction of people and its been a great encouragement to keep going.

Fourth, I’ve learnt that organisational systems need to work for you.

I’m always interested in the latest thinking about organisational habits. Over the past 5 years this has surrounded the use of technology and how it can help me get things done. However, over the past 10 days I’ve found that the old phone and diary actually work better for me than the constant nagging of the phone and all its apps. The system that helps me get things done needs to work for me and the iPhone may actually be something that doesn’t.

Fifth, I’ve learnt that I wasted hours with my iPhone.

The amount of times I looked at my phone each day must’ve been phenomenal. The time I don’t spend playing around on my mobile device now has allowed me more hours to connect with my wife, get some sleep, and play around with my daughter. I think this has helped life and a sense of greater happiness with it.

These are 5 quick thoughts on what I’ve learnt over the last 10 days. There would be another 5 if I thought harder. But what about you? What have you gained from giving up your mobile device?