What being offline for months has taught me and why should try it

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What being offline for months has taught me and why should try it

Have you ever felt stressed by all the social media interactions and distractions? Have you ever felt stressed over that you “must”: re-follow/Unfollow/post/Unpost/like/unlike on social sites?
Ever feel that you you are “missing out” on some event and do you find yourself wasting a lot of time on Facebook or similar sites?

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In this article you will get a complete (and now re-written) guide on how to “pull the plug” and take back the power.

You should control “Technology” – not the other way around.

 

How and When to be OFFLINE?

Every year I spend a total of 2 months on being deliberately “offline”. This means NO SOCIAL MEDIA AT ALL. I usually do this “challenge” in January  and in August. There are several reasons for these specific months.

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January in Sweden is a month of darkness (both mentally and vividly, since it is after one of the biggest public holidays of the year: Christmas AND New Years.
I use the “new found time” to reflect of the passing year, set goals for the coming year and more as we will discuss further..

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August is a month (once again in Sweden) that’s “in-between” seasons, most people have had vacation, summer is coming to an end and all the festivities and highlights are over. Most people are also coming back from vacation at this time – it is a perfect time to STOP: LOOK: LISTEN: and Reflect – what am I DOING? Why am I doing it? Is it working? Am I aligned with my goals and values?

During these months all Social media apps are removed from ALL devices. If you are single; don’t forget to shut down all form of dating apps and sites. All notifications are deliberately turned off and you are NOT allowed to check in at all on those platforms.

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To help out in this quest – we are of course using How to use Coach.me to our advantage and for accountability. Here is the GOAL on Coach.me

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WHY!?

One of the biggest problems with modern living is that our “survival strategy” has become extremely shortsighted.. We no longer scna the horizon for food or enemies. Our computers are centimeters from our eyes and we STARE at the glow of electricity for hours every day, usually we sit lock our necks in terrible positions. The Internet expands our access to the world while shriking our engagement in it. We are passive recipients of a nonstop data based bounty. In the quest for comfort, convenience and immediacy we have handicapped ourselves. As Jill Miller mentions in her book: The Roll Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility, and Live Better in Your Body

Modern “progress” Has perpetuated a life of immobile reactivity rather than engaged pro-activity.

We are stagnating inside our skins, and this passivity is causing a breakdown in our ability to live without pain. And we SIT more than ever. And even though technlogy is great, social media is the one that is hardest to quit, since it is soo addictive.

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Believe me.. I love social media! I am sure that Social Media are here to stay in many ways and I am 100% convinced that it will be an integral part of all business platforms in the future. Personally I found “Social” to have many advantages for leveraging business, relationships, cultivating interests, spreading my vision and sharing my experiences with friends and like minded people.

More people are lonely than ever before… Online Social Network MIGHT Be the cause of this.

Take 5 min of your life and have a look at this YouTube-clip:

Is it really that bad?

The caveat is that sometimes (NOT all the time.. but sometimes) when I use social media, it gets me in a negative spiral.
example: When my self-discipline is lacking -> social media is the first thing I check in the morning.. For example:

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Just to check if there is anything new! This is for the most part perfectly fine, and it will not kill anyone. 🙂
The problem is that this is NOT fine when I want to be productive and deliver results! In Tim Ferris famous book: the 4-hour workweek, Tim recommends the reader to go on a low information diet Lets dig a bit deeper into this concept.

Low Information Diet

Tim Ferris suggests that you should cultivate an extreme selective ignorance due to that the world is full of interruptions. Tim argues that the norm is “infinite interruptions”. You don’t have to read the entire book, just check out this clip

There is NO POSSIBLE WAY THAT YOU CAN CONSUME THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION THAT YOU REALLY WANT TO

Three takeaways from Tim Ferris

  • Batching tasks
    Tim argues to create an auto-responder informing that you are only answering email at certain times. And goes on to mention that people often Create “artificial emergencies” with email.Want to get more control over email? Read this post about how to OPTIMIZE your email management
  • Apply the 80-20 “pareto principle” to your customers and employees. Meaning – get rid of NON productive customers
  • Outsource your life
    Tim argues that you should outsource everything that has an hourly cost of less than 50% of what you make an hour.

The Low information diet is the foundation of the 2 yearly “FOM:s” FLAWD OFFLINE MONTH

It is great to remove all the digital clutter in your life.. Soo what really happens during FOM??

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What happens? Why should you try it? 

First you will experience “FOMO” (fear of missing out” feeling – what IF i miss something!?

So… What if you do?!
You can’t live your life with that feeling.. Things happen all the time and you will always miss something… Get in control!
One of your aims in life should be to take control of your life and not let the circumstances rule you (at least not 100% of the time).
Make the CHOICE! Chances will come later, and they will come to those who work hard and focus on their goals.

BE SMART about it!

Maybe a month is not possible for your business?
Maybe you interact with customers on some platforms?

Let me make the choice easy for you! The Social media platforms that generate revenue for you or improve your personal health and/or well-being in a measurable way -> stay online on those platforms. Remove all others. As an example I communicate a lot on Skype for work related tasks. Therefore Skype is one “semi-social” platform that stays during “the FOM”.

You will get things done faster. You will get insights and ideas.

I have gotten so many insights and ideas during this months thanks to all the new “FREE time”.
I have also cached up with all my podcasts (added some new podcasts). Read this article for our complete list of which podcast to listen to for world domination.
). Catched up to my pockets.Created like 30 new IFTTT recepies for more automation in my life. Tested a lot of apps for health and productivity.

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I have also Finished 3 books during this month. Do you want to join our bookclub? Or simply want to know what I am currently reading: Follow me on GoodReads here: goodreads.com/peterlarsson I tested a new strategy for reading inspired by this Lifehacker post.
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What does “FOM” give you ?

Clarity

You realize that Social media is just a tool – you should use it to your advantage – don’t let it use you.

“Me-time”

It is so important to stop! Zoom out… and Think…

“Is the things and behaviors I am doing now taking me in the direction of where I want to go?” .

Think about where you are going. And just focus on yourself. No one else will notice or tell you that you are heading in the wrong direction, until you hit “the wall”- and then it is too late. Schedule “me-time” regularly.

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Reduced Stress levels

Your stress will automatically go down, you are relieved of the worries about how many “likes” your posts got or if you have to comment something or not. This will reduce your stresslevels.

Strategic re-fueling

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One of my heroes and rolemodels, the productivity guru: Robin Sharma had a podcast a while back and one of my favorite episodes where called: Strategic Re-fueling -I just love that expression. 🙂
Listen to that specific episode here.

Robin argues that all high performance persons need to refuel. And suggests that you should see your performance in cycles.
A period of Peak Performance should be followed by a “retreat” with a “renew/refresh” mode.

 “You don’t want to be so busy driving that you don’t stop for gas. ” Robin Sharma

In your life you should always take the LONG view.

Robins tactics how to achieve this:

  • Time off is time well spent
  • People get their best ideas when they are having fun
  • Take a weekly vacation – maybe on Saturday,  walk in the woods.
  • Spend time in nature
  • Silence – is natures sleep restore – go within and be reflective
  • Take time for re-creation

All of this goes hand in hand with being FOM – the FLAWD OFFLINE MONTH

Deepens Relationships

 

Which relationships are important for you?
You notice that some people will contact you and wonder where you are? Ask what you are up to?
Some won’t care. You will also notice in your mind, which persons and relationships that you miss and who you think about and who you want to reach out to. .

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The greatest realization:

Social Media are not that important.Unplug – be free.It is a core believe at FLAWD that

you should be free from limitations

If you are “addicted” you “have to check your status” – that is not healthy. You should check your status because you want to do it. The only way to know if you are doing it of your own free will is to set a goal to be offline for a week or a month – and just try how that feels.

Need more motivation to try FOM?

Read this cartoon – “The Way You Look At This Social Media Generation Will Change After Reading This”

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Unplug: be free!

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Have you tried being offline? What was your experience? Let us know!

Stay productive, and remember luck comes to the brave!

 

About the Author:

Peter is Podcaster, CrossFit Coach, Security Professional and productivity expert. He is the founder of FLAWD.se and the author of Security Encyclopedia: SakerhetsBibeln.se. Peter blogs about health, technology and productivity. Peter is on a mission to help you to Focus, implement success disciplines and to Win in life!
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