Time and social media

My Christmas gift to myself was finally getting off of Reddit, which was the last vestige of social media that I consumed.

A few things I’ve noticed since then.

I have a lot more time now in the evenings. It’s so easy to unwind for a few minutes after work by checking Reddit, which then turns into an hour gone. And then a quick peak a bit later eats half another half an hour.

Instead, I’ve literally read thousands of pages from books in the past month. The difference between time spent reading a book and surfing the internet, is that I don’t ever find myself regretting it, feeling that it was time lost.

One trick I have is reading a few books at once. I like really academic topics, but some of these books require a tremendous amount of mental energy to meaningfully read. So I keep those books for a bit of time in the morning or weekends.

I also have some light reading around. I really enjoy Brandon Sanderson, and some of the themes from Stormlight Archives have made me think, even consider some big changes to how I act. This is from books that are written at about a high school reading level, which is just fine because I read at that level even if I’m tired.

I usually have a nonfiction book or two sitting around that’s somewhere in between a heavy academic tome and pop-fantasy. That way, I always have something to do instead of zoning out.

The most common mistake people make when ditching social media is not having a decent substitute, something to do when you’re mentally tired. You’re not going to stop social media today and start doing differential equations for fun tomorrow. Work up to it.

The other benefit is that it’s even easier to keep my no devices in the bedroom policy, which means I tend to get a good night’s sleep, which gives me more energy the next day, which means I’d rather spend the evening doing something rather than vegging out. A nice feedback loop.

And perhaps most importantly, I’ve become more comfortable with simply having some unstructured down time. Not needing to fill those five minute gaps here and there really changes your perception of time. Even having five or ten minutes a day of not doing anything, sitting with the cat, having a cup of tea, but not zoning out either, having that bit of time every now and then does something powerful.