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Why You Should Disconnect from Social Networks Once In A While

Why You Should Disconnect from Social Networks Once In A While

Last week, I embarked on my month long challenge from some of the social media networks I frequent a lot, too much in fact. Yesterday was the end to my first week of the challenge.

Here’s an overview of my routine before I took the challenge.

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is reach for my phone, off my alarm, and scroll for updated feeds on my phone. During my commute to work, I would be checking several social apps updates, and usually find the same news.

Over meals, I would be at times be posting pictures of new dishes or restaurants. I would constantly be conscious of checking in, trying to learn ways to capture selfies, sieving out better photos to upload and thinking up witty posts. At home, I would be multitasking and sub-consciously scrolling and re-scrolling feeds even when there are no updates. At the same time, I was also subscribed to email newsletters from same sites.

Recently, I found myself being hooked on to constantly checking for feeds and notifications. It was eating up a lot of my time and energy. Besides, I was allocating a portion of my attention to mindless scrolling, wishing for things that didn’t matter to me and wasting time unnecessarily.

The Start of My Challenge

A day before my challenge, I posted a note on my personal page that I was taking a month break. I then proceeded to uninstall the apps on my phone. On the first day of my challenge, I had to consciously remind myself to stop reaching out for my phone or stop wondering if anyone has liked my last post.

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On the second day, I was still slightly affected by the lack of connection with my friends (acquaintances) virtually. I was tempted to steal a peek from the shoulders of others, but I managed to pull myself away. I began to unsubscribe from emails that I’d always delete without reading on automatic mode.

The third day, I was able to focus with full attention on my work without reaching out for my phone. Lesser emails were coming in and I took lesser time as well. I gathered that the more important news to keep updated would be from the news platform so I subscribed to notifications from news station.

On the fourth day, I started paying attention to my surrounding and noticed that most were looking into their phones either on social feed or watching videos. At meal times, I felt a tad conscious of not taking photo or reading on phone while eating.

On the fifth day, I began reading more news from news notification, unsubscribed from more newsletters that I had signed up earlier and had more quality emails coming to me like LifeHack and Highbrow. I completed my work lists that I had been putting off for a while without being interrupted.

On the sixth day, I feel more productive and less consumed by the addiction to my phone. I slept earlier.

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Today, I am not as tempted to log in to the social media sites nor hooked on to my phone as the week before.

Here’s what I realized…

While it was hard to disconnect myself from the more than ever connected world, I began to slowly realize and understand certain aspects of me that I’ve never paid attention to.

It was hard to turn off, but when we do, our senses open up more. I began to enjoy my meals without having to religiously take photos. I visited places without bothering with connection to check in or take selfies. I immerse myself in the experience and the company I am with. I didn’t even have to think of what to post, re-write my thoughts or edit my grammar, let alone thinking if someone has liked my photos or posts. I began to enjoy the scenery and watch in awe how the city has changed when I was busy looking down.

Clear the mindless clutters. There’s something about them that hooks us on. Be it watching videos after videos, or reading posts of others, it seems like a never-ending process. By the time we realize it, we’ve probably spent a few hours just doing the finger exercise and become too tired to do anything else. Plus, most of the stuffs we see, though entertaining, are not as important as we think. A week into the challenge, I don’t feel I’m missing out much at all.

More time for productive work. I was able to do more other than being on the apps all the time. I spent time re-organizing my tasks and schedules. I cleaned up my inbox. I wrote more articles. I completed more work in office and to-do lists at home. I am clearing myself of my mind clutter at the same time.

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Switching off is necessary to re-connect with ourselves. Being connect all the time keeps us engaged all the time, we would always be switched on mentally, one way or another as there would always be a constant reminder ringing in our heads to check these apps and read those notifications. I made time to cook my own meals, read books and chew with mindfulness during my meals. I’m sleeping earlier and reading less in the dark which is great for my eyes. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is to stretch and look outside the window, smiling to be greeted by dawn.

In a matter of days, my lifestyle has changed just by removing one habit that I have unhealthily built up and incorporated into my lifestyle without me realizing it. Instead of feeling the constant need to check my phone or reaching out and automatically opening apps to check for repeating feeds, I started exploring other channels and find myself enjoying more useful and quality articles and sites that will help me grow.

Disconnecting has brought me closer to reality, I re-learned how to look up when walking, to spend time being connected with those I care and improved my sleep quality.

We are so connected virtually yet we’re disconnected from those we actually care about in reality.

While being great communication tools, we get engulfed in the emotional and psychological ties when we get captivated by them. At the end of the day, would the likes and loves we collect from our selfies, photos and photos have meant anything? Would we miss the pages we follow fervently if they’re gone one day?

I am on my second week of challenge and I find myself holding on less and less to online connections. I began to pay more attention to real connections (real conversations over meals, no risking my life on the phone when walking, making time to prioritize real work over notifications) and I am enjoying every moment of it.

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If you are up for the challenge, try it for a week and see what resistances you will feel (even now thinking about not being able to check your feeds and notifications), the effects during the challenge and what happens when you have been disconnected for a week.

What would you have missed?

Or would you be missed at all?

I’d think not, but even if you would be missed at all, the real connections would know where and how to reach you.

Featured photo credit: Pablo via pablo.buffer.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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