Okay, addicted might be an exaggeration, but I definitely have a problem. Using social media is part of my job, and I love interacting with readers, writers, and others in the writing industry. I’ve also connected with some long lost friends, and I have quite a few cousins, so it’s a great way to stay in touch with everyone even though we’re spread out across the country.
But when is too much, well, too much?
My family went to Disney World for nine days during the Thanksgiving break (we live in Texas where the kids have the entire week off from school). With two teens, a tween, and park hopper passes, we were non-stop for about eighteen hours a day. I kid you not, one day I logged more than 35,000 steps on my Fitbit. Aside from a couple of blog posts I had to write and a few other things I had to do to prepare for the December 8th release of my second book, I managed to only check email and social media once or twice a day instead of my usual dozen or more times a day. It felt really good to be unplugged, and let’s face it, no one’s life will be left hanging in the balance if I wait a few hours to get online.
In the aftermath of my release week, I took a step back and decided to make some changes for 2015. I have a very ambitious writing and release schedule for 2015, so I knew I needed to do something to lower my stress and keep some balance in my life. I decided to turn off the notification sounds on all of my devices, including my phone, so I don’t feel compelled to react as soon as I get a new Tweet, comment, message, etc. I also made a strict rule that I was not allowed to peek at my phone, iPad, or computer while eating dinner or watching movies or television with my family, or after 10:00 p.m. I can’t tell you how much relief this has given me. I feel like I have been given the gift of time. One huge bonus is that I have more time to read, which helps me relax and unwind. I’d almost forgotten how much I love to get lost in a good book.
Do you have any other suggestions for how to unplug?