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Mindful Social Media

Making a few technology changes for Lent put me back in charge of my time.

Many people give up chocolate or soda for Lent, but stepping away from social media is a growing trend.

A few years ago, I gave up Facebook, but it had to come with a few caveats since I helped manage social media accounts for work. I still had to post and check work-related messages, and it was really tough not to look at all the personal notifications I saw piling up. I also got complaints from far-flung relatives, who missed seeing photos of my kids. I'll admit I wasn't 100% faithful to my vow to stay away.

Before Lent the following year, I realized I was spending way too much time on my phone once again. I'd find myself checking social media while in line at the grocery store or in the waiting room at the doctor's office, instead of striking up a conversation or just enjoying the down time. There are apps that track time spent on social media platforms, but I didn’t even want to know how much time I was wasting.

That year, I decided to give it another try, with a few adjustments to make my goal more realistic. Facebook itself wasn’t causing me problems; it was the mindless scanning of my newsfeed. Who needs to read updates from hundreds of people every day? Honestly, many of those people give me anxiety.

I decided I would give up using Facebook on my phone. I tried to remove the app, but it actually can't be deleted from my phone. What? Finally, I settled on just logging out, since I don't know my password without looking at my cheat sheet. During Lent, I checked Facebook from my laptop every couple of days, taking a few minutes to check notifications and to share photos I had emailed from my phone. 

I thought I'd miss the constant updates and accessibility, but I didn't. I felt free. I felt calm. I enjoyed the peace and quiet. I used my phone for texting or actually calling people, email, and checking the news occasionally.

I'd like to say I got my entire life organized with all the time I saved, but that didn't happen. I did complete a couple of Bible studies, wrote in my journal every day, exercised more often, played cards with my family, and worked on remodeling my bedroom. It was time well spent. 

When Easter rolls around, Facebook won't be back on my phone, at least not right away. I'm the boss of my social media life, not the other way around. 

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