5 Day Media Fast
I have been listening to and applying some of the advice given in The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. One of the suggestions is to Go on a 5 day media fast. I figured this would be easy, because I already choose not to listen to the tv news, read newspapers or magazines, etc. I did realize that I had a facecrack, ahem, facebook addiction though. As well I obsessively was checking my emails and dealing with them a lot throughout my day. I took this challenge on as chance to loosen the obsessive grip I had developed.
I largely relied on facebook and email as an outlet while files for my data abstraction job would download to my laptop intermediately throughout the day. Because the data abstraction working world is tedious and dull at times, it was quite interesting to see what was being shared via email and facebook. I had been doing this regularly for about 18 months, and it had also become a habit to check email and facebook first thing in the morning and last thing before I went to bed. I mean, really? What about connection with my family? So 2 weeks ago when Tim Ferris gave this media fast challenge, I said, OK, let’s do this thing. I did the program as outlined excepting that I did tweak it to fit my needs. Tim suggests no social media or email. I knew that wasn’t best for me as I was beginning my new business ventures and I sensed it was good to remain connected at a basic level. So my individualized targets for my media fast included:
1: Whittle down facebook to checking for private messages or business mastermind groups updates that I belong twice a day, at lunch time and 4pm.
2: Whittle down checking emails to twice a day also, lunch time and 4pm.
3. Otherwise No Media as per the challenge guidelines. No extra non-fiction books besides 4 hour work week. No TV. No Magazines. No news websites. No surfing the web. Music was allowed.
My Media Fast Experience
So what happened during my my media fast? Number 3 was the easiest for me. I think I only clicked on 1 or 2 media links the entire 5 days. Numbers 1 and 2 were rough. I took my work laptop work downstairs to my recliner, away from my desktop, so I would not be tempted to click and skim status updates or on my latest email. I learned I had a ton of extraneous emails I never really gained anything from anyways. I unsubscibed to a ton of things I wasn’t engaged with anyways, like most of the groupon, daily deal, and coupon sites. I checked email like 4 times the first day. I realized that even checking took a half hour to an hour of my time. That really adds up. I realized what a huge time suck that had been for me. Day 1 of the media fast on I did get sucked in to facebook a couple of times. My partner made sarcastic sucking sounds when he walked by me. I laughed at myself, and renewed my commitment to attempt again the next day. Beginning Day 2 of my media fast, and continuing through Day 5, I kept my word for the most part and did not check facebook.
Insights Gleaned from my Media Fast
What awareness resulted as a result my participation with this media fast challenge?
Throughout your work day, Tim suggests asking yourself “Am I being effective, or just productive?” How much of my life was I spending on being productive, but not necessarily effective?
1: I don’t really have time to spend scrolling through hundreds of statuses just for the hell
of it. It is a real time drain that adds nothing to my life. If it actually feels light and expansive now, I can do that. However, the need isn’t there. A lot of time was sucked up by clicking on external news site links that actually left me with quite a bitter ‘this world is crazy’ sense that I could do without. I actually took some pages that I liked off of my “show in newsfeed.” I still ‘like’ them because it is a good introductory wake up call for some people to be exposed to that info. (truthout, ce evolution, vaccine information network, etc) So I like to have my name there for other friends to see, as social proof. However, I am well aware of what is crazy in this world and am taking steps to be the change I wish to see. Also, with a couple facebook friends I took measures to either “only show important” updates or “don’t show updates” in my newsfeed. These are the people that are professional energy sucks that I had been overdosing on. Also, now if I skim the newsfeed, I go really fast, and I give myself permission to use my razor sharp awareness to only stop at the status’s I am inspired to as I ask questions like, “what is possible here in order to receive and be a contribution?”
2. Checking my email a couple of times a day is sufficient. I still could tweak this some more. Email takes a lot of time. I am asking the question, “Will this expand my agenda?” If not, I click “delete” immediately, without looking at it, and I don’t look back.
3. I was glad that the other challenge stuff, like no tv news and tv watching was already something I do or was easy. I am grateful that that drain on my time isn’t there. It works for me to be unplugged from those arenas.
4. If something important is happening that is relevant to your world, you will know. Also, people will be talking about big stuff. For example, on Super Bowl Sunday, I had no idea, and all I had to do was glance at facebook. (shows how much I care about cultural norms) You can let go of the world for a few days. The world does go on without you. In a way, that knowledge frees me to be morepresent with my own life. And I ask “what do I wish to create as my living now?” on a regular basis.
Overall: This media fast resulted in an intermediate level media detox for me. I’ve done physical cleanses, and I perceived information clutter and junk was leaving my system. It’s amazing how much information I was using as a distraction from choosing to have my own life. The room and space created now provides more clarity for actions to take towards fulfilling my own desires.
Questions for You
Have you tried a media fast? What were the results? Would you be interested in doing a Media Fast? How could going on a media fast provide benefit to you? Lastly, have you been successful with implementing strategies that result in spending even less time with emails?