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.

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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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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.

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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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What I do when I’m not traveling

More than once a month I get the comment “you’re always traveling!” And I guess if you compare it to what’s considered normal, I do travel quite a bit. We usually do one or two really big trips each year of 2 – 4 weeks long. We go overseas and often do some cruising. In between we take several trips within Europe, usually in combination with a concert, an NFL game or for an anniversary. We will fly somewhere for a long weekend or something.

I actually like working

So it sounds like my life is very eventful, but really, it isn’t. If I’m not traveling, my life is most uneventful. I love working. I am a business owner and on average I spend about 25 hours a week, 4 days a week on my business, working and doing administration. This is plenty for me. I earn a good income *knock on wood* and get to recharge with a long weekend. As a highly sensitive person, I need this to stay sane. Ever since I started working for myself, planning my own work hours and working from home I have been 500% happier and mentally in better health than before. I may blog about this.

I don’t enjoy chores

If I am not working, I am doing chores around the house. Sometimes. My husband works 40+ hours a week so I try to keep the household chores to a minimum for when he is home. I am not the perfect housewife, but I clean, do dishes and try to do some laundry (admittedly, I am not great with the latter). We cook together, because we enjoy this time in the kitchen. We try to have a date night every week, out or in, doesn’t matter.

Literally me when I'm not traveling or working
Literally me when I’m not traveling or working

I love doing nothing

Besides that I get to spend time unwinding and doing things I enjoy and that recharge me. I catch up on my YouTube subscriptions (obsessed!), I watch some crime documentaries on Netflix or YouTube, I write a blog here and there, I listen to lots of music, browse on social media (even though I try to cut back on this) or I am planning and looking into my next trip. Right now I am doing a lot of research on my trip to São Paulo in 3 months, and I love watching videos about what to do, where to go and read blogs about the city.

I also have about one Portuguese lesson a week where I Skype with my tutor/friend for an hour and it’s a lot of fun and it motivates me to keep learning and stay curious.

I guess I try to balance my super active travel life with my super passive regular life. And it’s working for me!

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