Social media minimalization

Inspired by a couple of different sources, I am making a change. I’ve realized I spend far too much of my day caught up in the online world. While a lot of people have very valuable things to contribute, when I try to listen to every single one, it feels as if a hundred different voices are talking to me and I can’t even hear my own. Maybe that’s a sign of immaturity, or a faltering sense of self, or I just need to cut the extra stuff for a few days. I’ll go with the latter.

These are the changes I’ll be making for a week (maybe more) and why:

Give up Google Reader

As I get caught up in schoolwork and real life, I have begun to dread checking Google Reader. Which is crazy, because I used to wake up and look so forward to that part of my day. But as the number of unread items undoubtedly climbs, I don’t even want to check. And honestly, the people whose stuff I enjoy reading, I make it a point to check their real sites and keep up with their Twitter accounts to make sure I don’t miss out.

Spend 90 minutes a day (max) on all social networking sites

This includes Facebook, Twitter, Brazen Careerist, LinkedIn – everything. I’ve done something similar to this before, and it definitely makes me value my time on each network a whole lot more. And as midterms start (and won’t stop until finals begin), my schoolwork really deserves more attention than I’ve been giving it.

Spend 30 minutes a day (max) on e-mail

I’m only a junior in college, and most of the e-mails I receive are not crucial. The time I waste on Gmail, either organizing it or just reading through old e-mails, is getting a little ridiculous. Half an hour will definitely suffice for at least a week.

This all probably sounds ridiculous to the people who don’t rely on social media sites or Google Reader, but for me it’s a big step. When I say rely, I mean I use these sites as a way to avoid the things in my life that really need to be done. It’s not a good habit, and I’m not proud of it, so I’m making a change.

With the extra time I’ll be able to get more accomplished and take more time to reflect on what’s going on with me. For the past few weeks I’ve been alternately really excited about the future, and avoiding thinking about it. A good conversation I had yesterday made me realize it would be a good idea to take some time to figure out what I need to be happy, and what steps to take in the future to get there. This will definitely help with that.

What have you given up in the past? Were you successful, or did you notice a change in yourself afterwards? Want to join me in my week of minimalization? It will definitely be a challenge, but I think the outcome will be worth it.


2 responses to “Social media minimalization

  1. I’ve done the same thing you have, albeit in a different manner. I didn’t put time limits on things, rather, just removed those things (and people) who were just acting as noise without really contributing. I cut a lot of followers off my twitter feed. Killed over 150 feeds from my reader. Basically ignored Facebook, other than for a game of Scrabble, which I cannot let go 🙂

    Now, you mentioned something bigger. The fact that these channels were getting in the way, or aiding you in avoiding something. If that’s the case, then the social media tools aren’t the problem, rather, it’s what you are avoiding. Find the reason you’re avoiding it, and you’d be surprised and how much less you use them.

    • Those are all great ideas, and I have a feeling after a week without all that stuff I’ll have a better perspective of what is and isn’t necessary. What you said about the tools not being the problem, it’s what I’m avoiding – you are very right. I intend to pinpoint just what that is during my time away this week, but it’s good to have reinforcement through remarks like yours. Thank you for the feedback, I really appreciate it and I’m looking forward to hearing more from you on your blog, especially since the opinions you offer differ from the usual “6-ways-to-do-this, 10-steps-to-gain-that” stream.

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