This week I was challenged to stay away from consuming content in any form, including books, social media, newspapers, etc. In short, anything that might be prone to give me an escape from my present moment, present dreams, and present reality. The purpose of the experiment, among others, was to increase my presence in other areas in my life, to give myself renewed energy for projects that had been left aside, to find joy in that home improvement task I have been putting off for months, or to find space for creativity. Whatever the intended outcome, I’ve found a few interesting clues as to where I place my attention so much of the time.
I deleted Instagram from my phone, I set a time limit for access on LinkedIn or Facebook, lest the temptation become too great, and I stared longingly at my stack of books on the bedside table, knowing that a week without distraction would be very hard indeed.
So accustomed have I become to distracting myself at all hours of the day, I almost forget how to be human without it. Forget the fact that I’ve got big dreams and goals to match, and that I very likely spend a good 60% of my time not on client work scrolling through social media, reading, or somehow consuming information / content / distractions / what have you.
It was hard and I didn’t always succeed, but I did always catch myself feeding my addiction for information and distraction. In the spaces of time where I would normally mindlessly scroll the gram, I sat on the couch and daydreamed. In the moments before bed when I would usually consume endless information about world politics, the devastating war in Ukraine, the state of COVID in the world, etc. I found myself feeling tired and ready for sleep. Gone were the fitful, restless nights, waking up at 4 AM plagued with worry.
My sleep was deeper. My dreams became clearer.
And in the mornings when I woke, without the need to check my phone for useless input, I could write more freely and without distraction. I became more committed to myself, to my goals. I wrote article after article after article. I engaged fully with my coach and new course on spiritual development that began earlier this month. I took the time to find a new strategy for my business and the leaders that I serve.
In short, when I stopped trying so hard to distract myself, I could actually get the things done that I know, deep down inside, I really wanted to do! I stopped turning to my phone or a book or the news when I was unsure how to begin a task, or unsure how to proceed. I stopped looking for ways to dull the sense of overwhelm when something difficult passed in front of my desk, and tried to tackle the challenges in earnest.
I was not perfect, far from it. I had to sign into Facebook a couple of times to check the links for a few calls I had scheduled during the week and snuck in a 5-minute scroll, or two. I had to sign into LinkedIn to answer a few messages, (it is, after all, how I communicate with many colleagues or potential clients in my business). And I did ask, just once or twice, for updates in the news from my husband. It was hard, if not impossible, to disconnect completely when living in my regular daily routine. But overall, I was able to cut back my consumption of information by a whopping 85-90%.
That is truly astounding!
And while it was a short-lived experiment, one with many lessons still to come, I am proud that I was able to stay committed to the task at hand, and for the renewed focus and clarity I found in my work, in my goals, and in my sense of purpose and direction.
If you are anything like me and have found yourself consumed by content, information, news, ideas, etc. I highly recommend this experiment – if for only 1 week. See what emerges in the cracks of time that were previously overflowing with social media, Netflix, books, and chatter. See what comes through, what projects you (finally) tackle, and what creativity comes to the surface.
Enjoy your newfound time and find the pieces of overwhelm you can officially break up with for a more fulfilling life.
Did you enjoy reading this blog post? Share it on social media using the buttons below!