Clicking mindlessly through social media sites has become a compulsive habit I indulge as often as biting my nails or replaying awkward conversations from the past. To help me reclaim the time and energy I’ve been wasting on social media, I’ve added “go 2 hours without checking social media” on my Habitica list. Here’s what happens when I force myself to break the cycle on a regular Tuesday at the office.
Did not open Facebook. Turned on my social media blocker to prevent me from doing so mindlessly. Had a conversation about taxes. Emailed a friend to ask about taxes. Pondered who we might know who could help us with this complicated question. Tried to open Facebook to ask more friends about taxes. Tab automatically closed. Remembered I was trying not to check social media for two hours. Have I already failed?
Return attention to daily to-do list. Check Habitica, my habit-forming app, which I am attempting to use to replace my compulsive and unhelpful behaviors with productive ones. See several items I do not wish to tackle on the list. Pick one. Nope. Just clicked through all my tabs instead. Pick one. Log in to this payroll platform test account and see how it works. I am unimpressed, and I don’t see the quote for this product that I asked for. But at least I can check it off the list.
Can I have lunch? Am I hungry? I am always hungry. Or maybe I’m bored. I don’t have time to be bored. I just want food because it’s good. It feels good. It makes me happy. I have had a lot of sadness lately. Sometimes I take shelter in simple pleasures like lunch.
I just churned through several slackbot reminders that I’ve been putting off. Followed up with Adam about an upcoming meeting. Reviewed a new file Kate created. Marked as complete a web site registration that was actually taken care of weeks ago.
Read the latest Oh Joy Sextoy comic. Had a good laugh at bad web site. Prepared lunch for myself and Chris.
Had lunch. Quietly. Without my phone. Then made hot cocoa to bring back to my desk. I hit inbox zero today. One of the things I do when I am not checking social media is read my damn email. “Hit inbox zero” is one of the habits on my Habitica, so when I check that box, I get points. If I’m already at inbox zero, and I get an email of no importance and immediately delete it, do I get to check the box again? I do not check the box. I sip my hot cocoa and look for an incomplete item on my schedule.
Sending emails like a goddamn boss. Responding to shit like I know what’s up. Clicking through this payroll dummy account and learning all about the service like some kind of professional lady who’s done this before. It is amazing what lunch will do for a woman. I am on top of it. But also, perhaps a good cry. I spent a good portion of last night and this morning just sobbing because of some stuff I don’t want to explain right now, and it felt like I had been carrying around this huge emotional weight for weeks. I feel lighter today, more focused and capable. I am approaching one problem at a time, not even tackling them, but walking up to them calmly as if to say, “How do you do? Would you like to be solved? Let’s see what we can do.” I think about going to Twitter to tell the world how having a good cry is so good for the soul. Open a tab, type twitter.com, tab automatically closes. Think about what I’ve done. Think about other things. Think about my outfit for the day, and how I posted a picture in a Facebook group earlier. Wonder if anyone has commented. Try to open Facebook. Fail. Sip hot cocoa, which is now just warm. Savor the chocolate sludge from the bottom of the mug anyway.
Our biz dev guy sent me links to a couple local events that would probably be professionally beneficial to me. One is a women’s leadership conference happening in two days, and I don’t think I have enough energy to get mentally prepared for that level of social interaction. The other is an after-work Women in Tech event that seems a little more my speed and is more than a week away. I will go to this one. It only costs $20. There will probably be wine and snacks. Gotta check my calendar. Check in with my people. Make sure I’m not double-booking as I am notorious for doing, and then buy my ticket.
Reflexively open a new tab, start typing another social media URL, hit enter, and see the tab disappear. Notice that I do this often immediately after a stressful thought or whenever I feel that life owes me a break. Also when I am bored. I don’t have time to be bored.
Chris asks me to help with an invoicing issue. Open Quickbooks to do the thing. While waiting for it to load, I resist the urge to open another tab.
Asking a client questions and waiting for responses. The perfect time to open social media and get lost in the waves of color, light, and meaningless approval from strangers. I must resist. I realize my two hours are done. I will resist. I’ve come this far. The client responds. I complete the invoicing task. I am strong. I will resist.
Unexpected meeting. Saved by the bell? I’d rather be on Facebook.