In an effort to regain my balance with technology, I turned Facebook off for the past three days. You can read all about why I did it in the post: Why I’m Turning Facebook Off for Three Days. During this time, I kept a journal of what was coming up for me. Here are some excerpts:
- This morning I woke up wanting to talk to you. I felt disconnected, but from who? I couldn’t actually come up with a name.
- Today I wanted to share my amazement that Tori Amos is 50. I wanted to say, “Yay, Lean.Green.Kitchen is a sponsor for a local event tonight and I put on jewelry!” I wanted to see what everyone was up to this weekend. I wanted to find an old recipe that I posted on the FB page a few weeks ago. I wanted to share that I cut my finger doing something so stupid. But I didn’t. Instead I completed many tasks that I’ve been meaning to get to (for months!) undistracted. I stayed engaged throughout the work, with no pop-ups on my screen alerting me to FB.
- I must let go of the desire to see it all and know it all. My friends are much too dynamic, interesting and complex for me to know all about them in any moment of time. It is unreasonable and damaging to me and them to make that a goal.
- Facebook is a way to be connected. For those of us who spend hours alone or with others we wouldn’t choose to be with, it offers a safe place to share, support and “see” loved ones. We are able to bear witness to each other in struggle, celebrations and the mundane. We can feel close when we are far. This has value. It becomes an issue however, when we are in situations where we are surrounded (physically) with those we love and we lose connection with them because of our attention to screens.
- On my personal page, I love connecting with so many people I care about. I also love sharing my little world. I know it brings my family joy to see my kids growing up in real time.
- Professionally, the Lean.Green.Kitchen page provides me a place to share my real food journey with others who are interested. I have always flourished in likeminded teams with shared goals, and the FB page is a friendly place for sharing ideas and inspiration. From day one it has been a safe place for me to open up about my passion for conscious eating for my family. Facebook connects me in a way that Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram can’t.
- Today in the car with my husband, instead of talking about whatever I was seeing in my Facebook newsfeed, we chatted about what was important to us and had a very sweet conversation about our kids and their future. It was not a conversation that ever would have flowed from a Facebook feed.
- My personal norm became a need to respond quickly to things. I set that as an expectation and now I need to reset it. This is not reasonable and it causes me unnecessary stress. If someone connects with me through FB, I will get to it in a timely manner, not an immediate manner.
- Today I reached out to a few people individually and had some fun interactions. I made a future lunch date with a long distance friend and read a book I’ve been real excited about for months.
- I was laser-focused on the computer and made a list of several things I’ve been meaning to do. I was able to get in and accomplish them in a timely fashion. I didn’t have the feeling that time had been wasted. I didn’t have to come back later to complete tasks, because I hadn’t been distracted from anything. Winning!
- My morning began quicker. I was not distracted by 400 friends while getting myself and the kids ready for the day. I didn’t multi-task and instead began the day in bed with a mini “peace-is-within-me” meditation. It took one minute and I hopped out of bed, versus the 10, 12, maybe 15 minutes it usually takes me to compulsively scroll FB before I let myself get up.
- I check my email a few times a day, but that gets boring pretty quickly.
- Before bed I watched Modern Family with Matthew, something I normally might have done with the laptop open to Facebook for additional stimulation. It was really nice to just chill and watch the show without being bombarded by the world around me. I went to bed without a “final check” of Facebook, and wrote a few notes, read a few pages and fell asleep feeling very centered.
- I reach for my phone constantly throughout the day, and then just set it back down. There is nothing triggering me without the Facebook app.
- In (my favorite movie of all time) The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya whispers, “I want my father back, you son of a bitch” as he kills the man who senselessly murdered his father. In this one sentence you hear all of his pain and longing. Today, on my final of three days without Facebook, I find myself looking at my turned off phone and whispering, “I want my minutes back, you son of a bitch,” with the same intensity. It was crazy how many times I touched my phone and then remembered, there’s nothing to do here.
So now the real test begins. My Facebook absence made two things very clear: I enjoy the connections I make on Facebook. I over-use Facebook as a distraction and it leads to imbalance in my life.
I must develop new norms for my Facebook use, beginning with a structure that I can use to keep me in check until I develop new habits. This will be a process – here are some things I am trying:
- No Facebook in my bedroom.
- Reinstall the Facebook app on my smart phone and keep it in a folder on the last page of apps, making it hidden and harder to access.
- Separate time chunks for Lean.Green.Kitchen page management and personal page check-ins.
- Conscious attention towards not worrying about seeing “everything.”
- Facebook Free Day each week.
We’ll see where this leads…