A Weekend Unplugged – Recap

I mentioned last week that I was going to embark on a weekend free from using my phone for anything other than phone calls and text messages. Here is how that went.

I am quite pleased to announce that I followed through! There were two instances where I used my phone to look something up when a computer wasn’t a viable option, but I did not play any games and I did not stare mindlessly at the phone at any point in the weekend.

My goal was to shut off the data on my phone on Friday at 3:30 pm and leave it off until 5 am Monday morning. With the exception of a few apps I was still using that required data access (my grocery app needs data access for some reason or other), I accomplished this mission. Primarily, I wanted to avoid mindless time wasting using my devices.

I used my phone for text messaging, phone calling, accessing my grocery app and accessing our budgeting app. Oh, and for Google twice.

I made use of my time by decluttering and minimalizing a piece of furniture in our bedroom, which resulted in decluttering and minimizing the whole room and master closet on Saturday. I boxed up the inventory from my MLM business and moved it to the garage to be sorted come spring for the garage sale. I have decided our bedroom is the grandest waste of space in our house. It’s a very large room. It houses 3 pieces of furniture, two bedside tables and a king size bed, with a TON of empty space. I wish I could reallocate that space to another area of the house – like my laundry room or the kids’ bedrooms. Funny thing – when we built the house, having an enormous master was something I was excited about. Now I just look at it and shake my head.

I made use of my time by sorting through and dejunking the junk drawers (there are two) in our kitchen and helped my daughter clean up her room. I washed some communal blankets and swept the floor. I did some minor organizing in the garage and got groceries for the week. I watched Sleepless in Seattle while I folded a basket of clothes and a basket of towels. I don’t think I had ever seen that movie straight through before. It’s a good one. If you haven’t seen it, you should.

I had a few moments of impulse where I reached for my phone during a short break in activities, but I quickly recognized what I was doing and stopped myself. Much to my surprise, I didn’t read as much as I had anticipated. I figured I’d replace my phone with my Kindle, but I did not. I did finish a book, but there wasn’t much left in it and didn’t finish it until last night.

I went all weekend without staring at my phone. And I survived.

What little time I spent on my phone was intentional and productive. I generated my grocery list. I balanced my checkbook. I googled home phone service. And I googled an address.

I really expected to binge on my phone as soon as I broke my “fast” but I haven’t yet. In preparation for my weekend, I removed my games from my home screen. They haven’t been returned. I really thought I’d waste half the day playing the games I thought I’d miss. But I haven’t. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon on Monday and I still have 74% battery left! And I’ve gotten quite a bit of work done at work.

Now that’s not to say I have completely sworn off all time wasters. I did get online for a few minutes on Sunday because my husband said someone tagged me in something on Facebook and I wanted to acknowledge it, so I got onto Facebook on the computer and acknowledged, and I got on it for a short bit today during my lunch break. My usage today has been nothing like what it was in the past few weeks to months. And I like it. I hope I can continue it! All told, my Facebook usage for the last 3 days was probably a total of 1 hour.

I’d like to eliminate my phone as a source of distraction in my life and I feel this experiment was very successful and I’d hate to see the work I’ve accomplished come undone. So, I think I’ll continue my experiment and not move my games back to my home screen. I don’t dare say forever… but I would like to see how long I can manage to go without them cluttering up my life.

How ‘bout you? Ever think to give up the electronics for a weekend?

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Ready for a change?

I had a conversation with someone earlier today about something they want to change about their life. We got to talking about what steps this person was taking to realize that desire and I noticed they weren’t really doing much to get them closer to their goal. I wanted to ask them why they weren’t working harder; why they weren’t doing what they needed to do to see the change. Why are they just sitting there while their life passes by, living the same life day to day that they are unhappy with?

I consider myself very proactive and driven when it comes to setting and reaching for my goals and while I know not everyone is of the same mindset, I get frustrated just the same when I see someone slighting themselves or making excuses for why things haven’t turned out like they envisioned. This situation often makes me think the person is lazy and passive – like they’re sitting idly by hoping things will change without their needing to do any actual work, but maybe they’re actually just uneducated. Maybe they don’t know how to make the changes they long for. Maybe this lack of knowledge is what has them frozen in their current position. Maybe they need someone to help them along. Maybe there needs to be a class on how to change their life…

Welcome to Life Change 101, an abbreviated overview on making a life shift happen. 

Whether you want to go back to school, lose some weight, reach a fitness goal, get pregnant, improve your mental health status or start a new career, one thing remains true through it all – you have to actually work for it. You have to evaluate what it is you want, become educated on what it will take to achieve it, and then execute a plan to make it happen.

When you find your life isn’t where you wanted it to be, there are two things you can do – you can sit there and hope it’ll magically change, or you can stand up and make it happen. If you should choose the former, don’t expect much to to be different when you wake up tomorrow morning. If you choose the latter, however, prepare for infinite possibilities. Before you start, though, there are three questions I recommend you ask yourself.

What change do I want to make?
What do you think will make you happier? Is a job change in order? Do you want to go back to work after taking time off to raise your children? Do you want to go back to school? Lose weight? Improve your fitness? Have another kid? What do you want? Why do you want it? Some soul searching might be required for you to truly determine what you want to see your life become. This might require some time so don’t rush it. It’s important to move forward, but it’s more important to move forward in a worthwhile direction. Don’t just move to move. Move with a purpose you truly believe in.

What do I need to do to accomplish my goal? 

  1. Learn what it’ll take to go back to school, what options are available to help pay for it, and how you’ll fit it into your life.
  2. Look for internships to help you gain experience in your field if you’ve been out of the professional world for an extended period of time.
  3. Study nutrition and fitness and educate yourself on how the human body works if you plan to compete in a long distance race or lose weight.
  4. Evaluate what obstacles that stand in your way – child care, finances, shortage of time, etc.

Make a list of everything that stands in the way of you achieving your goals. Next to this list, formulate a list of how you can overcome those obstacle. From this, formulate a plan for how you’ll make it all work.

Find scholarships to pay for school. Talk to your employer about tuition assistance. Talk to friends about how they made attending classes fit around a full time work schedule and a family. Make arrangements with friends for childcare swapping to provide care for your children while you attend classes or hit the gym. Check with your health insurance policy or life insurance policy to see if there’s a discount or incentive that accompanies going to the gym and improving your fitness. Check with your employer as well; some employers pay gym memberships because they understand a fit employee is a more productive employee. You never know what’s out there or who’s willing to help unless you ask around.

Am I ready to execute my plan?
You’ve done so much work to this point determining what you want to do and how you will be able to do it, all that’s left is the execution! You know all there is to know about the degree program you want to study. You’ve talked to your boss and he’s agreed to adjust your work hours so you can take classes. You may have found an internship to get you experience in your degree field so you can add experience to that blank resume. You found a friend who’s willing to take your children two nights a week so you can take your classes in exchange for watching her kids while she runs on Saturday. You’ve done all you possibly can to prepare. You’ve mapped out the path. All that’s left now is to walk it. Strap on those boots and let’s get to hiking!

Bottom line:
Nothing comes to anyone while sitting idly by. You won’t get the life you want by sitting on your arse waiting for it to land in your lap. It just doesn’t work that way.

Whatever the change is you wish to see in your life, you must acknowledge that it’s not going to just happen to you. You aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and have the life you always dreamed of. You have to get out there and make it so. You have to fight for what you want. No one is going to give it to you, but it’s there for the taking if you should decide to you want it badly enough. The only thing standing in your way is you.

The Facebook Project

A while back, I started noticing how much time I spent on Facebook. I noticed how much I was using my cell phone, primarily, which was my typical link to Facebook. Facebook was where I spent most of my time while using my phone. Hours would pass and I would have nothing to show for them. This was a problem. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I eliminate Facebook, I’ll eliminate the “I use my phone too much” problem. Two birds; one stone.

So, I removed the app in an attempt to spend less time there, opting instead to be more intentional with my use of Facebook by accessing it only via computer. I did indeed spend less time overall on Facebook, but it still wasn’t enough. I wasn’t accessing Facebook at home anymore (dragging out the laptop and logging in was meh… so I don’t do that very often), or while on the go, but I was still accessing Facebook too much at work, a problem in and of itself.

On days where I didn’t have a mountainous workload, this was probably a little ok, but there were days when I actually had quite the workload and I still went to Facebook. And while I was there, I was either consciously or subconsciously reading the newsfeed. I want to be a better employee, and Facebook is certainly not making that possible.

On the days when I was subconsciously browsing, I’d find myself losing hours of productivity. On days when I was consciously browsing, I’d find myself thinking “who cares?”, “blah, blah, blah”, “quit bragging”, and a number of other “I’m annoyed by this post” thoughts. I found myself skimming most of it, bored.

What I wanted was to eliminate my newsfeed, focus on the one or two groups I enjoy, and my public blogger page. I tried to avoid my newsfeed, but that danged thing has a magnetic pull that is hard to avoid.

My solution? Unfollow everyone! Ok, well, not everyone, but 96% of my friends list. I kept my family and some non-family who I really enjoy keeping up with. The rest were unfollowed. I noticed after doing this that my newsfeed was riddled with posts from public pages – pages I had “liked”. So I unliked them all. I also left every single group except for 6 (4 of which I’ll be leaving as soon as I am no longer employed by the Direct Sell industry – my departure from those groups will be noticed immediately and I don’t really want to have to explain myself to them).

This is what I’m calling The Facebook Project. There are 4 intended consequences for this project.

Reduce the time I spend on Facebook. My newsfeed is whittled down to the bare necessity. It’s minimized to things that I suspect will bring me joy. After performing my cuts, I discovered I only had about 5 minutes of reading material available to me. Perfect!

View Facebook consciously and intentionally. My newsfeed is minimized to the point that I’ll run out of things to mindlessly read very quickly and will have to find something else to occupy my time and mind. Additionally, if I think of a friend and wonder what they’re up to, I can intentionally go to their Facebook profile and check in. This will also allow me to keep up with the people I really want to keep up with rather than Facebook determining who I should grace my newsfeed.

More Life Less Consumed. *pun intended* My life will be less consumed by distraction, by aggravation, by idleness, by stress, and by the pull to keep up with the Joneses.  These things won’t be eliminated all together, but there will be one less source. Exactly what I need.

More privacy. This goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. 😉

The next step is to find a way to block the mobile browser from accessing Facebook and all those event invites I get… oy. Anyone know how to do that?

Until I can walk away from Facebook and never look back again, this is my solution. What is your relationship with Facebook like? Do you have any tips for reducing the time spent there?