Last Monday, in our private member Facebook group, I challenged Indie Business Network members to choose one full 24-hour period this week to refrain from using Facebook entirely. I did it yesterday, and I'm excited to learn if any of our members took a break as well. One day is not a really long time, I know. But since Facebook is a tool I use for business and life every day, 24 hours is a long time to stay away.
To give you some idea of how this worked, it was a normal workday. I did everything else I normally do in a day's work. I Tweeted. I met with one of my assistants to prepare for next week's Q+A Access Call. I met with my husband business partner to map out a video production schedule for the fourth quarter. I published this blog post. So, as you can see, I worked, and I'm going to share what I learned. But first, I want you provide a bit of context.
In the past, I have taken three types of Facebook breaks.
The first is a break for my annual #IndieCruise MasterMind, a nearly week-long event. This is a break from pretty much all technology and digital media, save for the occasional sharing of pictures of sunsets and margaritas.
The second is an unintentional break, where I'm just so super busy that I don't have time to post to or check on Facebook (or anywhere else) for an entire 24-hour period. This is rare.
The third is an extended break from my personal Facebook page, which I took from June 2 to August 6. Except for posting the word, “Unbelievable,” on July 13 after hearing the Trayvon Marin verdict, I didn't post to my personal page unless someone tagged me — which only happend few times. During this time, I continued to interact on Facebook in other ways, and also on other social media as usual.
These were all good breaks, but yesterday's break was different. Here's how, and what I learned.
Facebook Interferes With Flow
I'm a big proponent of logging on to Facebook to do a specific thing for your business, and then logging off. But seriously, how often does that happen?
Even with the best of intentions to log in, share a new blog post, quote, photo, or whatever, you end up seeing one thing that causes you to click. And then there's another and then another, and still another.
Whether you click on that one thing and leave, or you get sucked in for an hour, the effect is the same. Your flow has been interrupted.
To Maintain Flow, Avoid Facebook For An Entire 24-Hour Period
I worked a full day yesterday. I got a lot done, but I was not very “busy.” And while I didn't accomplish everything on my “to do” list, I remained in flow. My brain was engaged solely on my priorities.
I was not thinking about what other people were doing. I was not making sure I replied to people who had commented on my posts. I was not checking stats. I was not making sure I engaged on my members' Facebook pages. I was not looking for recipes or to find out what fun things I could do in my community over the weekend. I didn't check any of my Facebook groups, even our member group.
My mind drifted to all the fun things I could do on Facebook yesterday. I just didn't do them.
For example, my husband texted me the most beautiful picture of a rainbow I have ever seen. My first thought was to post it to Facebook so everyone else could enjoy the beauty. I didn't, so I asked him if he did. He did not. My mind immediately returned to what I was working on for the day. And poof! The desire to share with the world was suppressed, and I remained in flow.
It wasn't so much that I got anything in particular “done” by not going on to Facebook every time it crossed my mind to do so.
It was more that my mind remained engaged in my own priorities. My creative process continued from one moment to the next in a smooth way. I was not compelled to share, or like, or comment, or acknowledge. All of those things are great, but they interrupt flow. Yesterday was a great break from that. I was 100% proactive, not concerned at all with responding to anyone else's cute pet pictures, exciting business news, or affirmation of the day.
The Power of the Pause
At the beginning of each year, I host the annual #IndieCruise MasterMind, where we unplug for an entire week to Mastermind, snorkel, spa, and soak up the sun on Caribbean islands. This is a very powerful annual pause for me, and I encourage you to join us in 2014 so you can experience the magic.
It is critical to take this kind of extended time away as often as you can. Pressing the “pause” button for several days allows you to rest for an extended period of time.
But in between those longer rests, I am discovering that shorter ones, intentionally taken — and especially from Facebook — have great benefits too.
I was in flow all day yesterday. It's not that I accomplished more than I otherwise would have.
It's more that my brain is more relaxed. I was less distracted throughout the day, but I still put in a full work day.
The real benefit is how I feel this morning.
I just feel less distracted today.
I am strongly considering taking one full weekday off of Facebook each week for the next month or so, to see some of the longer term impacts of remaining in flow, without Facebook for an entire 24-hour period.
I have to decide which day I will take. I'll record my progress so you can follow along and see if weekly 24-hour Facebook breaks might work for you too.
1. Have you intentionally taken a full 24-hour period away from Facebook? What did you discover? What was it like?
2. How do you know when your flow has been interrupted? Do you notice in the moment, or not until after the fact — when it's too late to do anything about it?
3. What sorts of technology breaks do you take?
Please share your thoughts and ideas below. We love hearing from you!