Updated: October 12, 2017
Back in October 2015, I went two weeks without writing an article here. It was a two-week hiatus on blogging.
The break was unplanned, and I didn’t realize it was necessary until I decided to do it.
I never announced it because it would only trigger questions, which I probably didn’t want to answer.
And I think nobody really noticed that I haven’t been writing except for a handful of people (thank you for your concerns).
An Interesting Conversation
On the last day of August that year, a friend posted online that she’s taking a break from social media for a whole month. This was something she normally does every September, so it wasn’t really a surprise announcement.
Just in case you’re wondering, her social media diet meant she will not use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the whole month. In today’s connected lifestyle, can you imagine yourself doing the same?
A couple of weeks passed, and I was able to chance upon her in a coffee shop one afternoon, where we had an interesting conversation about her annual routine.
“Why do you do it?” I asked.
“Because it helps me refocus my life,” she answered.
“Aren’t you worried about missing out?”
“I do, that’s why it’s great that people in the office often talk about what’s trending online because I could always just ask them to update me.”
“Don’t they tease you about your social media break?”
“No because my guess is that, they’ve accepted it – that it’s my thing – and in fact, they’re always excited to share with me what people have been talking about online during our lunch breaks. You should try it!”
That night, I thought about what she said, and decided to do something similar – that is to temporarily stop blogging, and minimize my social media activities; to spend less time online, and do more things offline.
In my mind, I had no concrete goals, just a genuine interest in seeing what I would do with the extra time that I’ll surely have.
A Mindful Journey
One of the first things I noticed was that being offline allowed me to do a bit of introspection – to examine my life and more importantly, revisit my goals and check if I’m still on track towards achieving them.
This is something we often do while on vacation. By being physically away from our daily life, it’s easier to look at the big picture, and see how we’re doing. It’s a great time to rest, relax, and think.
However in my case, I already had a full schedule of meetings and events for the next couple of weeks, so going away to the beach wasn’t an option.
But I discovered that it didn’t matter, because having some downtime from blogging gave me the opportunity to go on a mindful journey.
Because there were no topics that I needed to research, no article that I needed to write, and no posting schedule that I needed to follow – I gained a few hours of free time each day to simply live and enjoy the present moment.
The break from my usual online routine helped me identify areas in my life that needed management – things, tasks, and most especially, relationships that I’ve taken for granted because I was always busy blogging and spending time in social media.
When I began to starve my online distractions, of mindlessly scrolling through my timeline hoping to see something worthy of a like, share, or tweet, my focus began to shift away from the non-essentials towards the truly important.
When you allow yourself only an hour each day of social media time, you will be more discerning of what you’ll read and won’t waste time with matters that don’t really impact your life.
When I gave myself permission to stop blogging, I suddenly had some time to be creative, to learn new things, and to adjust my blog’s content plan towards a better focal point.
The familiar articles you’ve gotten used to here will continue, but it will have a subtle change in perspective that I hope will improve how we learn about business, investments, and personal finance.
My friend started posting again on October 1st.
I asked her how was her first day back in social media and she said, “As always, it feels good to be connected again, but with a better handle on what’s truly important while we’re online.”
“How about you,” she asks. “Are you going to start blogging again today?”
“Yes, I will. Thank you for asking,” I replied.