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social mediaI may be alone in this, but do you notice your routine changes with the season? Somehow the change in weather and amount of daylight shift, disrupt, and mold a new routine for me each season just as I became comfortable with the last one.

This fall, however, I’ve implemented my own changes to the seasonal shift I’m experiencing. One of the things that erased stress, improved my focus, and granted a sense of calmness during my staycation last month was signing out of email and social media. I went straight back to my usual work mode on my first day after my time off. That day I went back to “my normal”: I received emails and push alerts for social media on my phone, I reactivated my Google Alerts (all 30+ of them!), and I set timers for each of the projects I was working on.

I knew at the end of that day that I needed to make a long-term change.

At the end of that day I was more self-aware of stress, my to-do list remained the same as I was pulled in every other direction responding to alerts, and my timers did nothing more than cause other distractions and prevent me from completing what I needed to do.

What to do?

  • Social media goes dark one full day each week. Many thanks to Claire Asbury Lennox for this concept. She started this practice earlier this year and documents it from time-to-time like in this post “10 Things I Did Yesterday Instead of Social Media.” (I met Claire at my 2-day Write Naked Workshop at the Farm at Weather’s Creek back in 2013.) The nice thing I’ve noticed about these breaks is that I’m not scrambling, excited, or racing to sign back in. It’s building a comfortable distance.
  • GMail is now inactive on my phone. I only swipe in when I’m expecting something. Majority of the time I’m at my computer with my inbox open so no dire need for my phone to duplicate incoming alerts.
  • Google Alerts have been trimmed down (less than 20) and only on terms/phrases that are most relevant to me and my clients’ work. If you don’t have these set up already, they’re a big help in staying connected with new online content for the terms you’re interested in!

Have you made similar changes?