This weekend I’m posting a challenge to myself, and I’d like you to join me. Knowing that I’m not going at this alone will make it a bit easier. So what’s the challenge? It’s a weekend without any social media, and I’m calling it Redeem the Time – Mini Pledge. Sometime in the near future I’m going to work out the details for a more intensive Redeem the Time – Full Pledge. It will entail a break from more than just social media and for a longer time span, but for now, let’s get our toes wet with this mini version.
So why a weekend sans our favorite online social spots? While social media is a fantastic tool that can be used to accomplish a host of objectives, it also comes with quite a few pitfalls if not managed wisely. Namely, it monopolizes my time and keeps me tethered to my phone/computer, which prevents me from being fully engaged in the real moments of my days. And secondly, it dangles that ugly carrot of comparison front and center.
According to this study, the average American spends approximately three hours per day on social media. That number may seem shocking, but we all know how easily we can fall into the time warp. One glance at Facebook can lead down a never-ending rabbit hole. And don’t get me started on Pinterest. As much as I love it, I recognize that I give that little iPhone app way too much attention.
And unfortunately, when I’m engaging social media, I’m not fully engaging the people or the moments around me. When I’m looking at my phone, I’m not watching my kids; when I’m posting a status update, I’m not interacting with my husband; and while I’m browsing Pinterest kitchens, the dishes in my own sink are piling up. In short, when I spend too much time on social media, I’m missing out on the more important things right in front of me.
As for that ugly comparison issue that we’re so prone to as women, Facebook and Pinterest can be the worst. I’ve written before about feeling like a failure as a mother, and social media is a big source of fuel for that fire. When I read a fellow mom who posted about her trip to the spa, a vacation, her house remodel or the fact that her three-year-old is reading, it’s so easy to begin comparing my circumstances to hers. And when I’m browsing Pinterest-worthy homes, I can easily fall into that trap of dissatisfaction and an ungrateful heart.
I want to be diligent in my use of social media so it can serve as an effective tool in my life, rather than having it steal my time and my gratefulness. So it’s high time I address these issues. Are you in this with me? I sure hope so, because I’d love to have you! Here are the rules.
Be committed. No social media from 5 pm Friday to 8 am Monday; that includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and (eek!) Pinterest.
Be accountable. Commit to the weekend with a friend, broadcast on Facebook that you’ll be taking the pledge, pin the image to note that you’re in. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, but tell someone who can hold you accountable. And if you are diving in with me, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment here!
Be intentional. The purpose of this pledge is to redeem the time, so be wise in how you’re spending the hours you would otherwise be squandering online. Engage your family, open a book, pick up a camera, have a lengthy quiet time, start a project, take some time to rest. It’s not so much the what that matters. Rather it’s the fact that you’re replacing wasted time with something of value.
Be reflective. When you’ve finished the pledge, think about the weekend and how the simple act of turning off social media impacted you and your family. If it made a positive impact, commit to spending less time online moving forward.
Be an Encourager. Tell someone how the weekend affected you, namely in an effort to encourage this practice for others. I’ll be sharing my experience right her, and if you’re so inclined, please come back and leave a comment about your experience. I’d love reading it! And I’m sure others would to!
Are you ready? Let’s go!