There are few things in my work life that I’d consider inefficiencies. I’ve streamlined my morning routine: three-quarters of a cup of coffee with almond milk, peanut butter toast, read a magazine. I’ve organized my workflow: calendared items in Asana, weekly/daily schedules on paper. Workout in the afternoon. E-mails and task-based items (like accounting) at the end of the day. For the most part, my days are focused and efficient. I’m engaged.
Yet in my personal life, there’s been this thing that’s crept in. It’s distracting me from being fully engaged. It’s even, at times, become a lens through which I interpret events or experiences.
That thing? Social media.
Combine this realization with a strange phenomenon. One by one, I’ve watched friends drop off social media temporarily or permanently. It’s caused me to question: How much is social media a part of my existence? What would my life be like without Facebook? How might my relationships change? How might my parenting change?
This all led me to an idea: what if I keep off social media for the entire month of October?
So that’s what I’m going to do. For the month of October—and probably the first part of November—I’ll be off the grid. I’m calling it Off the Grid October.
October is a perfect time for two great reasons:
- It’s the month I start thinking about the following year. Staying off social media lets me engage in my own thoughts rather than turning to my smartphone for entertainment in moments of boredom. This will hopefully help me stay more focused on vision building and planning for 2017.
- The election is on November 8, so if I stay off until after the election, I’ll miss a lot of the divisive posts and comments.
I’m allowing a few exceptions:
- I turned on Facebook Messenger notifications, which will show me if I have a new message; I won’t see any notifications from Facebook. I see Messenger as similar to e-mail.
- I may pop in to check on two organizations I’m a part of (one I co-run) that communicate exclusively through Facebook. However, I will resist the urge to check any notifications.
- I’ve left my LinkedIn notifications active so I can respond to incoming messages.
- If I have a professional need to get on social (for example, tweeting about an event or sharing something important), that’s OK. But I don’t foresee that being an issue.
- My birthday was October 1, so I enjoyed the birthday posts. I’m technically starting October 2. 🙂
Want to join me in going off the grid? If so, you can let people know by using the icon above and the hashtag #offthegridoctober. (And yes, I do recognize the irony of using a hashtag to tell people you’ll be going offline for a while. )
I’m looking forward to disconnecting from social media and reconnecting with real life.