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Social Media Blackout: What I’ve Learned

By on April 14, 2015 . Category Column

Back in February, I decided to do something I’d never really done before: I decided to take a complete (personal) social media hiatus.

As anyone who reads this regularly would know, I’m pretty active on Twitter (@EveyJacob), and while it has been an utterly amazing resource that has gotten me business, help, and most of all, wonderful friends…it can be a little distracting at times.

In fact, it can be downright debilitating.

And while I’ve always managed to get my work done, I wanted to reach a point where I didn’t spend so much time on Twitter. I felt I needed to be more organized and structured, and just have a little time to myself.

So: On February 13th, I announced that I would be hopping off social media for a while.

And that I did.

It wasn’t actually as hard as I’d thought it would be, and what I found was that, without the internet to constantly distract me, I…well, I still found stuff to distract myself.

But I had a goal, and that was to work with as few distractions as I could.

And so I focused on organizing my time, and getting into better habits. Part of removing social media from my life was so that I could break my bad habits and come back to make new, better ones.

I finished two books during that time (though I’ll point out that I certainly didn’t start them during that time)—one fictional book, that will be released very soon, and one non-fiction. In fact, it’s about writing, and it contains a lot of the writings from this column! Plus a ton of extra material that hasn’t been seen before.

I also did some great work on my business, as well, and did some personal things, like starting an exercise and meditation routine, fixing my sleep schedule, and getting a bunch of reading done (including for books I needed to review or proof for friends).

And ultimately, I made a plan for how to handle social media in the future, so it could be useful and fun without being a huge time-suck.

I returned on April 1st, and after much reuniting with my online friends, I settled into a good rhythm that I feel I can comfortably maintain.

And what does this mean for writing?

It means structure. It means organization. It means utilizing social media (particularly Twitter) for socialization and aiding my writing career, without letting it get out of hand.

It also means recognizing that, at times, the best thing we can do is step away from the internet. Our minds can only take so much stimulation, and the internet provides more of that than we know what to do with.

So while I’ve talked about the benefits of social media, consider stepping away at times to give yourself the time and focus to get some writing done.

I did, and I managed to get two books finished! It’s a good feeling, and it’s pretty productive.

Can I keep up this productivity streak with Twitter back in my life? Maybe. Maybe I’ll slip a little. But I got a taste of super-productivity, and I like it.

(It also helps that I managed to revert out of my nocturnal state, so hopefully that’ll help keep me in check.)

It might sound kind of silly, but I found it refreshing, mind-clearing, and very helpful. Maybe you will, too.

Anything to finish those books, right?

 

How do you stay focused on writing? What’s the most drastic thing you’ve ever done to finish a project?

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