I deleted social media off my phone and this is what happened

This mindless scrolling through your feed. I’m sure most of you recognize this. I often find myself opening Twitter or Facebook, without really realizing it. I scroll through my feed and see the same things I already saw once, twice or more. I know that I have this need to keep my brain busy. This is very strange for being hypersensitive to stimuli, but somehow I want to always be reading, watching or listening to something. So I open Twitter. I read people’s tweets, reply, write, then delete because I figure it’s not worth replying. I will be watching a movie or a show on TV or YouTube and simultaneously be scrolling through my Facebook feed, liking pictures. What’s the purpose? Why does my brain always need this distraction? I need more time than the average person to recharge my internal battery but I feel like I don’t make the most out of my alone-time.

90 Days Without Facebook

Years ago I deleted Facebook for the first time since I got an account back in 2008. I did this because it started to consume me. The mindless scrolling. I logged off, changed my profile picture to let everyone know I wasn’t going to be on Facebook for 3 months. I didn’t think I would make it, but I did. And it was easy and eye-opening. I realized how Facebook is not essential, it is something to keep up to date with people. A very mild form of entertainment. When I logged back in, the need to read what everyone was doing was gone.

Be mindful of what you see

But throughout the months and years that followed I realized I fell back into this hole of just mindless scrolling through my feed. Add to this the surge of internet discussions and arguments about presidents, social justice issues, religion, equality, etcetera. I was arguing with people I didn’t know and it made me angry. I didn’t want to be angry all the time. So I decided to minimize my social media. I unfollowed people on Twitter who tweeted a lot of negativity. Who posted tweets that triggered me to be upset, angry or urged me to argue my point. I also muted people, muted certain words and blocked the real bad stuff. I started following people who tweet positive things.

I did the same for Facebook. I unfriended some people who didn’t add anything to my life, but I also unfollowed everybody on Facebook except maybe 10 people, positive people. This meant I didn’t see anything in my feed about any of my Facebook friends. If I really missed someone in my feed, I would follow them again. But so far, I have to tell you, it is great. I don’t need to see what everyone is liking or commenting or posting. It’s just clutter. If I notice someone in my feed that irritates me on a regular basis, I unfollow. It’s not a big deal. I did the same with Instagram. I regularly unfollow accounts that don’t add anything to my daily life.


Purpose of social media

I no longer use social media as a mild form of entertainment or as something to pass the time with. I only allow things in my feed that really make me smile and feel good on a daily basis. It needs to be good entertainment, things that make me happy. Because let’s be honest, we like checking social media every day. So why not make sure it is positive? If I want to read the news, I can go look for it. Your feed has a bigger impact on your daily happiness than you think. It may all be subliminal, but that is potentially the most dangerous influence on your mind. Fill your feed with good stuff!

Decreasing frequency

I deleted Facebook and Twitter off my phone, because that’s the device I have with my all the time. And it is the device I grab most easily to do some mindless scrolling. Also before bed. Now that I no longer have those social media on my phone, I can’t check it anywhere, anytime. I will only check Twitter and Facebook when I am on my laptop or iPad. When my laptop is switched off and I am watching something or reading something, I no longer get distracted by social media. I can focus on what I am doing and enjoy it. I have more time for doing things that influence my mind and soul in a positive way. Social media no longer fills my brain with useless information is a big relief and I can only recommend it!

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My assumptions about living in São Paulo

Everytime I think about this, my heart races. I’ve dreamed about living in a place I didn’t know for so long and now it is finally going to happen. From June 22 until August 10 I will be living in São Paulo by myself. The last two weeks my husband will join me and we will visit Rio for a few days as well.

So, even though I have never been, I did quite some research about São Paulo and Brazil in general. I’ve made some friends over the years and noticed some big differences between the Brazilian culture and whatever culture I am used to (roughly Western, I guess). My goal is to just live in Brazil, and dive into the Brazilian lifestyle head-first to experience it to the fullest. On paper I understand the differences, but I simply can’t know what it is actually going to be like. I thought it would be fun to write down my assumptions about what it will be like, to be able to look back on it after and see what I got right and what I was off about.

Please know these are all generalizations and based on information I have found in videos, blogs and from other people’s experiences. Don’t come for me.

My patience will be put to the test

I am used to being on time. I am used to things just happening on time. Generally when people here say a party will start at 8, it starts at 8. People will arrive even a bit early for it. In Brazil this is much different. If a party starts at 8 and you show up at 8, they will look at you strangely. I am not sure how I would handle this, but probably show up 30 to 60 minutes late? I hope this is not the same when you’re meeting people for lunch or something, because that is going to be rough on me. I can’t stand when people are late.

I know that public transportation in Brazil is an adventure. Subway trains will come when they come. There’s no real time table. And if there is, you shouldn’t waste your time on looking at it. São Paulo has a good subway system, but the trains don’t come when it says so on paper. Over here that’s much different. Generally when it says the train leaves at 12:35, it will leave at 12:35 and not a minute later. I think my patience will be put to the test in São Paulo.

There will be lots of hugs

Something I love about Brazilians is how affectionate they are. When you meet someone for the first time, there’s always a hug involved and often a kiss (on the cheek). Here, depending on the country, it’s a handshake or when you know each other a bit better 2 or 3 kisses on the cheek. Very rarely do you get a hug each and every time you see each other, or when you say bye. Brazilians are also fond of generally touching someone when they are talking. It may come across as flirting to Western people, but it’s just part of their culture as a way of saying “I think you’re cool,” in the most friendly way. I am actually looking forward to this because I am the same way and I naturally like to touch people when I talk to them (if I like them).

I will make lots of friends

Brazilians are extremely hospitable and open. They are known to want to talk to other people, especially when you’re not from there. I expect to meet many people and be invited to do things. I will follow a language course and I will partake in some city tours and I think it will be easy to meet people and make friends. I am writing this down quite hesitantly, because I do think to myself sometimes, what if I don’t meet anybody? But knowing myself, and knowing the Brazilians I’ve met in the past, that is not going to happen.

Lots and lots of new food

This is not an assumption, but I am pretty sure of it… São Paulo is a melting pot of many different cultures. I think I will enjoy that but I will mostly want to try Brazilian or São Paulo foods like feijoada, coixinha, brigadeiros, pastel, pão de queijo… Because there’s many different cultures, it would be easy to find things I am already familiar with like Chinese, Japenese, Italian, but my goal is to eat as few familiar things as possible and dive straight into the world of Brazilian cuisine.

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The importance of time management

Ever since I started working, planning and organizing has been a major part of my life. I always find it important to plan ahead and to be well-organized. When I began working for myself three years ago, this has become even more essential to keeping my sanity. I’ve seen many people around me burn out, be late for things and complain that they can’t get their work done so they work overtime, often without getting paid for it. That’s partially your own fault, is what I tell them.

Why you have to say no

Sure, I’ve had times where I was overworked. I had too much on my plate and tasks were coming in faster than I was able to finish. And I am a relatively fast worker. When I took a step back, I realized that I was the problem, not the people that kept asking me to do things. I was the one who said “yes, sure,” whenever they asked me to do something. Even though I knew I didn’t have time, I would make sure to fit it in somewhere, or to move my schedule around. I didn’t want to say no because I thought I would make people upset or I would seem like I didn’t want to help. Well. Let me tell you, that that is never the case. We underestimate how little insight other people have in our agendas. You know very well the pressure and what your schedule looks like. Other people do not. So if you keep saying “yes” to things, they will keep coming back to you. Not because they want to take advantage of you, but often because they know you will do a good job and they believe that you have time to do them, as long as you keep saying yes.

The first time I said “no”, I said it with hesitation and I think I gave a million explanations and apologies. The more I started to say no, the easier it became. I started staying on top of my calendar and if someone asked me for help, I would look at my calendar and see if I could fit it in. If not, I would look at when the next available free space was and I would say “I can get started on it in 2 weeks.” If it wasn’t fast enough for them, I’d tell them no. But usually it was OK.


Time buffers

When it comes to keeping a calendar, time buffers are one of the most important things in my work and personal life. I used to estimate how long it would take me to work on a task and that’s the time I would plan for it. But as we all know, it usually always takes longer than you think, because problems come up. Little alterations need to be done, unforeseen circumstances will happen. Now, I always plan my tasks with a good buffer. If I think it’ll take me 10 minutes, I plan 30 minutes for it. If I think it’ll take me 2 hours, I plan 2,5 or even 3 hours for it. It is better to plan too much time than too little. You will end up rushing to get it finished and in the process make mistakes. Not only that, you will become stressed and lose joy in your work. I promise you, you rather have time left to work on other things than not have enough time to finish a job.

This also goes for my personal life. I never understand people that are always late. If Google Maps tells you it will take 30 minutes, it never takes you 30 minutes. It doesn’t take into account traffic lights, other cars, traffic jams or any other hiccups. It is better to have some time to spare than to sit in traffic stressing over whether or not you will be on time. Trust and believe.

Plan some extra time for personal appointments, commute, cleaning, your morning routine or your hobbies. It will force you to slow down and enjoy life more!

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