I’m going off the grid (again)—join me?

TL/DR: I’m participating in Off the Grid October (#OTGO2020) and going off social media for 30 days. If you want to join in, be sure to join my list and let me know. To get the free social icons, hit reply to your welcome email and tell me “I want the OTGO icons!”

Every year or so, I go offline for a month. Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook . . . every social media site I use effectively gets shut down.

Why? I mean, why not?

Social media is destructive. While my consumption is light compared to many people I know—I don’t, for example, enable notifications and rarely log in during the day—it is still a part of my life I don’t love.

Like much of the world, I recently watched The Social Dilemma, a documentary that explains some of the neuroscience big tech uses to encourage addictive behaviors with social media. At the same time, I am reading Atomic Habits, a book that details how to break bad habits and form good ones. I had been planning to go off social media (and other unproductive sites/apps) for the month of October, and these two reinforced my plan.

My life and work is built around intentionality and discipline. I value these two qualities immensely, and I strive to embrace them in every aspect of my work. In some ways, I am intentional with social media: for example, I have a Nonfiction Book School Facebook group, where students are able to connect with each other and me. That, to me, is a positive use of social media. I’m intentionally connecting with students, and creating a space for them to connect with each other.

But there are other, not-so-good ways social media shows up in my life. I don’t like the urge to scroll when I’m bored, say, in a checkout line. I don’t enjoy catching myself in twenty minutes or longer mindless scroll sessions at night, when I have “nothing else to do.” There is always something more productive to do than aimlessly scroll social media!

What about you? Even if you’re “not that bad” with social media, do you find yourself wasting time? Do you ever realize you pull your phone out rather than be present with your spouse or kids? Do you find yourself thinking of what you’ll post on social media later, as you are doing the thing? Do you feel a tug to pull your phone out and “just check really quick” to see if someone got back to you about something, or whether friends commented on the thing you posted?

Yeah, me too. Guilty. Even though I’m deeply intentional about my schedule, I still do these things sometimes. And I don’t want to.

So for the month of October, I’m going offline. I call this: Off the Grid October, and I’m using the (basically useless!) hashtag “#OTGO2020.”

Want to join me? This is your official invitation to join me and a small community of friends and colleagues who are going offline for the month of October. I’ve created an Instagram graphic I am happy to share—if you want access, join my list and once you get your confirmation email, hit reply and say “I want the OTGO icons!”

Here’s my commitment. You’re welcome to use mine or create your own.

    1. I will not access social media access for 30 days.
    2. I will delete ALL apps from my phone.
    3. I change my profile pictures, bio, and Instagram grid to reflect my social media break.
    4. I will NOT fill scrolling time with other apps or use of my phone.
    5. My phone will be plugged in and in another room at 9 p.m. every night.

 

A couple of notes/exceptions because I run a business, and therefore I need to make sure I’m not missing client inquiries or business opportunities: I will give a team member access to my accounts to check messages for me weekly. I will log into my Nonfiction Book School Facebook group only to communicate with students, but I will get in/get out once daily and not check notifications. I’ve already paused all ads to ensure I’m not encouraging others to interact with me on social media. And lastly, I will set my business reply message on Facebook to let people know I’m offline and how to get in touch with me.

Instead of scrolling social media, I will:

    1. Read.
    2. Call a friend (yes, actually call!).
    3. Learn a new skill (Portuguese and the ukulele are on my list).
    4. Go to bed early (since nighttime is when I often scroll).
    5. Put extra heart into publishing my podcast, blog, and weekly email list (yay!).

 

So that’s it. I’m ready to reset my focus and intentionality, and to create more space in my life.

Are you in? If so, comment below and tell me your personal commitments. I hope to see you offline!

2 Comments

  • Julia Goldstein Reply

    I like the idea of withdrawing from social media for October, but I’ve got a book launch at the end of November and want to continue building my email list this month. Social media posting is part of the strategy. But I can commit to not spending time scrolling. A quick check once daily might work.

    • Stacy Ennis Reply

      How exciting, Julia! That is a good reason to stay on the grid. I love that you’re committing to not spending time scrolling—and I agree, once a day is probably enough to log in, post, and reply to comments. Best of luck on your launch!

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