Media Fast

Struck by the reality of the situation, it is time to make a decision.

Life is not what it should be. That is well and clear. The culprit? My own time management and prioritization. The result of this realization? A decision to shift the way I spend my time.

I am all about information. I spend most of my waking hours reading, watching, or writing something. Buzzfeed, Flipboard, TED Talks, news articles, Facebook, Twitter, hulu, LinkedIn articles. Literally this is how I spend my evenings and weekends. A couple years ago that time went to Pinterest, cooking, blogging and to reading others’ blogs. I’ve followed the trend of people moving away from blogging and into the further consumption of media. I haven’t been producing my own content, and my creative inclinations have gotten lost in the intense digestion of hundreds of pages of someone else’s digital dialogue.

Consuming without contributing; consuming without creating. That shouldn’t be the way it works. I hide behind my feeds and watch the world go by. That, my friends, needs to change.

Last year I did a social media fast for the month of October in hopes of regaining some balance in my life. I kept my blog but I logged off LinkedIn and Facebook for a month. I ended up spending more time exercising, more time developing my faith, more time with family and friends, and more time outside. In my book of life, those are all good things. I was working several part-time jobs at that time, and I needed the space to figure out what I was going to pursue. That social media fast was refreshing, and it seems to me the time has come to repeat it.

I will start this year’s fast tomorrow and go until the end of October. 10 days, and then I will re-evaluate how my priorities are shifting and how I feel and decide whether I need to extend it. I find myself in different circumstances this year. Now, I am working full time to launch a workforce development program that spans 7 counties. I am taking continuing education courses through my alma matter to improve my skill sets and expand my knowledge. I am trying to meet new people in this city, and keep up with all the friends who have recently moved away or live far-off anyhow.

Isn’t it more difficult to keep in touch with people if you’re not on social media? Well, no. Actually, it’s easier because it forces me to be more intentional in my interactions. I can call people or write them letters, which forces me to focus on them and our relationship. I can spend more time directly investing in those relationships, without hiding behind my iPad or computer screen.

My phone number, e-mail, and blog are up for means of communication. My iPad is tucked away, not to be used again until November. Its convenient access and nice, legible screen makes it too easy to fritter the day away. The intention now is to focus on my school work, my work work, my relationships, health, and faith. To write instead of just reading. To create instead of just consuming. I’d love to use the time to have lunch with friends who are close by, and to have phone calls with those who are far.

I’ll be back soon. For now, I just need a break.