The cartoon above from Chuck & Beans is amusing but it highlights, in some way, how social media addiction is overcoming real-world human relationships and hampering productivity.
I love social media but I’ve recently stopped visiting and updating my own personal Facebook and Twitter profiles as often as I was. I realised that I had become addicted. Internet usage fulfills the criteria of addiction, ‘obsessive mental content connected to compulsive action’ noted by author Will Self.
Some of my Facebook friends have posted similarly that they were going ‘off-line’ for a spell, so that they could spend time with their young daughters and to be ‘out there’ in the real-world being productive.
When you think of how many hours you spend on social media sites in a week, and multiply that by 52 – you get an idea of how much of a time-sink this can be in a year. That time could be used to engage and be with people around us, come up with business ideas or to develop in other areas of our lives.
A number of well-known writers including Nick Hornby and Zadie Smith have recognised and admitted that they are addicted to using Internet and that it is hampering their writing productivity, hence their ability to make a living. Smith acknowledges this in her latest book as a credit ‘for creating the time’.
The authors have used applications that control their internet usage called Freedom (PC and MAC) and Self Control so that they can be productive.
There’s an excellent version for social media which I found that is brilliantly called ‘Anti-social’ for MAC OSX where you set the amount of time you want to be anti-social for and it will block access to Facebook, Twitter domains and can block access to email applications. I tried out the trial version of anti social and liked it. It’s customisable and helps enforce that breathing space, before it becomes natural to not want to compulsively use the internet.
I’ve found that my productivity has improved, I have better focus on my coaching work and I’m able to be more creative. At the same time, my relationship has improved because we can chat and discuss important issues more, without being distracted.
Optimal Life (www.facebook.com/OptimalLife1)
Useful software links: