I realize the irony of a social media consultant talking about unplugging from social media, but disconnecting is something that I’m very passionate about. While I love social media, I’m a real advocate for using it wisely - to improve your life, not to run your life. I’m a hippy at heart and truly feel the benefits of spending time outdoors, removed from my phone. Not everyone feels the need to disconnect, but I do think that everyone can benefit from logging off every once in awhile. (Admittedly, this is even harder to do as a business owner.) But it is always worth it! Here’s why and how I unplug from social media!
Benefits of Unplugging
Increased focus. My phone can be a big distraction, both in my personal and professional life. When I’m working, I’ll sometimes turn it off and put it to the side so that I’m not bombarded with emails and notifications. This allows me to zero in on the project I’m working on and get more work done quicker - and I am all about productivity and efficiency!
More creativity. When I’m struggling with creativity, one of my favorite things to do is leave my phone at home and go for a walk. Even just unplugging for 30 minutes gets my ideas flowing! Unplugging for longer means more creativity!
More present. Social media is all about connection, but it can negatively affect the way we connect with others in person. I disconnect from social to connect in person. This is especially true when spending time with my daughter. She’s only two, but she notices when I’m absentminded because I’m on my phone. Consciously disconnecting to spend time with loved ones will make those experiences even more meaningful.
Less anxious. We’re living in a world that’s becoming increasingly anxious, and it would be silly not to think that our phones have something to do with that. Constantly being in front of our phones can create an anxious feeling. If you experience this, you’re not alone, and I would highly recommend unplugging when the anxiety starts to set in. You’ll feel the benefits quickly.
Better sleep. Since I started unplugging in the evenings, I sleep so much better. I leave my phone in another room, and it has made me feel far more rested. I also love starting my day without the temptation to start scrolling.
Avoid burnout. I recently read a book called The Magic of Tiny Business, and I love what it said about burnout. It mentioned how much better it is to take a few days or a week off than to quit altogether. This is true in many aspects of life, including social media!
How to Unplug
Prepare ahead of time. If you’re unplugging from personal accounts, you won’t have to worry about this step. But when unplugging for business, it can be helpful to plan out and schedule posts in advance. When I unplugged on a weeklong vacation, I worked long days and some late nights the week before to plan ahead and be able to unplug. But let me tell you, it was worth it!
Set boundaries/rules. What does this look like for you? For me, daily boundaries include not checking my phone first thing in the morning and completely unplugging in the evening. On vacation, the rules were different, and I only checked social media once a day, and only from my computer. Look at your day and schedule time where you will unplug.
Have an accountability partner. I have a daily accountability partner that helps me stick with my goals, but on vacation I recruited my husband to keep me accountable. I don’t think he ever had to call me out, but just knowing he was in on the plan helped me to hold myself accountable.
Know your triggers and have a replacement. What triggers you to get on your phone or computer? For me, one trigger is when my husband gets on his phone to scroll or play. The way I combat this trigger is to keep a book nearby. Knowing your triggers helps you to find alternatives and stick to your plan.
Remove or move apps on your phone. Removing your apps, or even just putting them in a separate folder, can help you avoid the temptation. I don’t delete my apps because of the business that I run, but I need to have a lot of discipline! If removing social apps is realistic for you (even just temporarily), I think it’s a great way to go.
Turn off notifications. This is another one that’s up to your personal circumstances. I don’t turn off notifications because I used them to keep up-to-date so that I don’t have to manually check in as often. However, if notifications are a trigger for you, consider turning them off!
Use airplane mode. This is the tip that works best for me, and I’ve been doing it for three years now. I put my phone on airplane mode every night before bed and when I am working on big projects that need my full attention during the day. It’s an easy and quick way to unplug – without missing anything.
I don’t have all the answers on this one, but I do think it is a worthwhile conversation to have. And if I, someone who runs their business on social media, can unplug, then I know you can too! Do you feel the need to unplug? And if you unplug regularly, what helps you disconnect? Share what works for you in the comments below!