7 Things I Learned Logging Myself Out of Social Media During the Work Day

If you grab your phone too often, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Once you finish scrolling, you start all over again. Your feeds. Your friends. Your emails. Your photo streams. Your stories. Again and again and again.

Eventually, that feeling sets in.

That “dead-end feeling.”

...now what?

I hit that “dead-end feeling.” Too many times. Too often. Distraction ruled my day. And I didn’t want it to anymore. So, I decided to set my own limits.

Working as a freelance writer and editor, I don’t hold normal 9 to 5 office hours. During my “work day,” I decided to log myself out. Once I finished my assignments—and only then—could I log back in.  

Here’s what I learned:

1. Figuring out how to log out is tough.

For someone who was always logged in, I found it it took time to learn how to actually log out. Where were the buttons? Where were the links? Social media sites want you to keep Liking and double tapping. I clicked around and around and around. Finally, I found them.

2. For some reason, I really don’t want to go to the bathroom.

After I logged out, if I opened the Facebook or Instagram apps on my phone, I couldn’t go any further. I had to type in my password. This moment of pause came to be my sentry. My guard. This sentry made me stop and think. Had I finished all of my assignments? Did I really want to log back in? This moment allowed me to check in with my body.

Generally, this was my question: What am I avoiding?

Nine times out of ten, I had to pee. The other instance, I was hungry. Instead of getting up to find the john or making food, I was distracting myself instead.

3. What am I missing out on?

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is real. On Facebook, when you’re logged out, there’s no way to tell which updates you’re missing. No way to know which headlines are breaking. But this goes both ways. When you’re glued to your phone and reading about the sad reality of how yoga pants pollute the ocean, what are you missing out in the real world?

That my dog needs to go out.

That an ordered bicycle finally arrived.

That my heart is racing and I’m actually quite anxious and stressed out.

What could I tend to in my own life? How could I care for myself? My own sphere of the world?  

4. For me, logging out is my best solution.

Others may opt to remove their Facebook app from their phone altogether. Someone else may decide to deactivate their Instagram account. For me, logging out gives me the distance I need while also encouraging my own form of moderation.

5. I still use my camera.

I don’t count photography as off-limits. Even though I’m logged out, that doesn’t stop me from taking pictures. During they day, if I want to capture my dog’s blazing fur in the wind, I will. Or, the ruffled edge of the mustard greens growing in our garden. Rescued kittens in the office when stop in for a meeting. The deer in the woods peering back at me while I walk in the woods.

6. Suddenly there’s more space.

Too much time on social media leaves me feeling cramped. Frazzled. Haggard. When I log out, there’s more space. In more head. And in my body.

7. I focus.

I eat the frog. (https://www.briantracy.com/blog/time-management/the-truth-about-frogs/). I commit. I focus.

The most important thing of all? I do the work. 

About the Author 

Erin is a writer and a creative thinker. With her MFA from Columbia University and her B.A. from Warren Wilson College, she loves exploring process, uncovering how things work, and writing about what matters.

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