I went on vacation with my husband last week and truly disconnected myself from my profession for a few days. I didn’t go completely AWOL from Social Media because we continued to post pictures from our journey on Facebook and Instagram for family and friends. However, I did make the conscientious decision to stray from Twitter and Voxer, and even my e-mail account, my highest concentrated means of communication with the education community.
I was really nervous at first. What if I missed an inspiring chat with my PLN or a link to an excellent blog post that would help me navigate the upcoming school year? I was afraid of missing the littlest piece of teaching advice to gargantuan news about educational legislation and everything in between.
But I did it. I disconnected. And it felt really good. The education community did not have it’s hooks in me for a few days and I felt…relief. Happiness. I felt like I was free.
Is it okay to feel this way? I thought a few days into our trip. Shouldn’t I feel like I’m missing something? Shouldn’t I feel remorse that I’m not more interested in what’s happening? Is it bad that I’m not constantly checking my Twitter feed?
No, I thought. I’m focusing on my family right now. I eat, sleep, and breath education most of the school year, and way more than the average educator. It is more than acceptable to take a break.
I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation with my husband. But now I’m back home. Twitter, Voxer and my email are awaiting my inevitable return. A part of me can’t wait to jump back into my old habits and incessantly toggle back-and-forth between all of the social media apps on my phone But another part of me is stopping me from jumping back in so quick. How did I let social media become such an addictive and controlling part of my life? And what can I do to keep it from grabbing a hold of me again? All of a sudden, a childhood memory came crawling back…
When I was eight years old, my parents bought me a Super Nintendo system. I received the game as a birthday present in late June. Since it was in the middle of the summer, my parents were understandably worried that I may waste my summer away with Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Therefore, they gave me the gaming system under one condition: I could only play Nintendo games for one hour – sixty minutes – per day. I could choose to play in chunks of time or for a straight hour but once that hour was used, I was done for the day.
Well, I think it is time to re-institute Mom & Dad’s Nintendo rules and apply them to social media. I’m going to try the one-hour limit per day. I am going to start my timer on my phone before each time I run the Twitter or Voxer app. When I hit the 60:00 mark, I will choose to be done for the day. How fast will 60 minutes feel? How will I optimize my time? Will I choose to spend my time on Twitter engaging in chats or following links? Will I listen to full two and three-minute voxes or skim through the conversations? Honestly, I can’t wait to find out!