This afternoon I gave a presentation to a small group at the Oregon SHAPE conference in Bend. If you were there or you’re curious about what I talked about, take a look at the slides embedded below.
A couple of months ago I started significantly limiting my time on Facebook. I removed the app from my phone and installed the Stay Focusd browser extension to limit myself to ten minutes per day. If it wasn’t for needing to feed the Facebook beast for work, I wouldn’t even need the ten minutes.
One of the benefits of quitting Facebook has been finding more time to read books and in-depth newsletters that I previously just scanned through. Here’s what I’ve been reading over the last two months.
The Joy of Search
The Joy of Search is Dan Russell’s new book about how to do in-depth internet research. Much like his blog, SearchReSearch, the book is written as a series of story-based and image-based search challenges that Dan explains how to solve. I’ve been following Dan’s work for more than a decade. I’ve used his approach to teaching search with my own students and colleagues over the years. It’s nice to see some of Dan’s “greatest hits” in book form.
Like most working professionals, I have a typical mutual fund laden retirement portfolio and a few individual stock holdings. A few years ago I started to learn about options trading as a way to benefit from rapid fluctuations in the stock market. Understanding Options was the first book that read on the topic and I’m revisiting right now.
By the way, I’ve done okay with the few options contracts that I’ve traded, but I’m not going to be a talking head on CNBC anytime soon.
Ready for Rain
Ready for Rain isn’t a book, it’s a weekly newsletter written by Lee LeFever. His weekly newsletter is all about the transition of selling a house in the city (Seattle) and moving to an island with his wife and dogs. Many of the recent installments are about the process of designing and building a house.
What Are You Reading?
I’d love to hear what you’re reading. Please leave a comment.
Last month I decided to give up Facebook except for a few minutes each day to post things to the various pages that I maintain for work. I signed out of Facebook on my phone and installed the Stay Focusd Chrome extension to limit myself to ten minutes per day of Facebook time. Here’s what I’ve learned about Facebook and myself over the last month of not using Facebook.
Facebook Makes It Hard to Quit Facebook
As the manager of Facebook business pages I can schedule Facebook posts to appear at later times. I usually schedule Facebook posts on Thursday or Friday to appear over the weekend. So the first weekend that I went without Facebook I didn’t post anything or log into my account. On Monday morning Facebook sent me an email notifying me of 38 updates that I “might have missed.” These weren’t updates from my pages, they were updates from my friends about their dogs, cats, kids, and political rants.
Scrolling Isn’t Reading or Learning
Sure, I can follow some interesting pages about my favorite topics and I might pick up a few tidbits here and there, but that’s not nearly as effective as just Googling a topic of interest, going directly to an informative website, reading a book, or diving into a message board that is dedicated to a topic. I’ve gotten a lot more out of my time by going directly to topics of interest than scrolling through Facebook posts that are loosely associated to topics of interest.
I Can Read More Books
I’ve finished three books in the last month by simply picking them up and reading a page or two at those times that I might have scrolled through Facebook.
Fewer Moments of Melancholy and Annoyance
Those of us who are prone to bouts of being melancholy aren’t helped by scrolling through Facebook. Even if it’s done subconsciously we’re making comparisons to others and to ourselves. That’s not good.
No one has ever been convinced to change his/her mind about politics based on a Facebook meme. Not seeing those has reduced the number of times that I’ve been annoyed about things that I can’t control.
Lots of Other Ways to Waste Time
I’ve found that there are plenty of other ways to waste time. But at least now I’m making a conscious choice to read a book or browse stock charts when I should be completing a work task.
All in all, giving up Facebook has made me think about how I use my time during the day. It’s also let me look at the world around me with the wide eyes that I had before Facebook came along.
This week’s Ed Tech Fitness challenge was to try going on a social media diet. In other words, cut back or cut out the time you spend on the social media site(s) that sucks time out of your day while not giving you anything positive.
I’ve almost entirely avoided for Facebook a month, and I feel better. Next I’ll be cutting back on my time on Twitter. It took a long time for me to get to place where I was ready/ needed to cut back. Based entirely on my own experience, here are some signs that you might be ready for a break from social media.
You’re annoyed rather than entertained.
From friends sharing “free ticket” scams to pithy inspiration memes to political posts, I found that my reaction to most of the things I saw was annoyance rather than entertainment.
You’re making too many comparisons.
We all carefully select the picture, video, or words that we post online to show the best parts of our lives. If you’re having a tough day, week, month, year and all you keep looking at are pictures of things that look like more fun than you’re having, it gets depressing really quickly.
Perhaps looking at pictures of people having fun is inspirational for you. If so, go for it. For me and many others it’s just a depressing comparison that’s easy to quit making when you stop either following those accounts or quit looking at social media all together.
You’re not reading because you’re scrolling.
Do you know how hard it is to take a paperback book with you to read while you’re in your doctor’s waiting room? It’s not! I found there were lots of times when I could have been reading a book instead of scrolling through annoying Facebook posts or pithy memes on Twitter.
You’re looking at your phone instead of the beauty around you.
I live in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Heck, our state nickname is Vacationland! I was sitting in my backyard on a beautiful summer evening and looking at my phone instead of enjoying the sunset. What a waste!
You think about the social media post instead of the actual experience.
When you find yourself thinking about an experience through the lens of “how will I share this online?” before just experiencing it, it might be time to ask if you have a social media addiction.
Stretching, like hydrating, is one of those simple things that has lots of little benefits but that many of us forget to do with regularity. We all know that we should stretch before exercising, but you can also benefit from stretching at other times too.
Challenge of the Week
This week try to do a 3-5 minutes of stretching a few times per day. It helps improve overall flexibility which in turn helps when you go to stretch before a workout. Stretching is also a great way to give yourself a little brain break during a busy day to help reset your mind.
I use stretching routines from an old copy of Yoga to Go but you can find good stretching routines on Healthline and plenty of other fitness sites. The important thing to remember is to work within your limits and if a stretch hurts, stop!