Hello and welcome to Film Pro Productivity the podcast which helps film professionals and other creatives to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 30 – LESS SCROLLING, MORE LIVING
The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung said “Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.”
I think that if he were alive today, he might say the same about social media, or more broadly about technology.
Earlier this year I broke one the unspoken social media rules by announcing on Twitter that I was going to quit social networking. At least I was - for the MONTH OF JUNE. But people say they are quitting all the time - to return a few months, weeks, days or hours later because they still need their fix.
I’d been hammering the social networking to promote this show from February through to May and I was tired of it. That said I do like social media. I like interacting with people, I like to hear feedback on this podcast and see people discussing it. I like the podcasters who support each other, I like the uber fans of shows like Outlander, and the boxer lovers who say my dog is cute. I like the film pros and the regular folk who get online and interact as a community. I follow their the links, watch their videos and read their chat - the thing is though that I like all of it a little too much - I needed to break the circle of addiction, so from the 1st till the 30th of June I went offline – And I kid you not - it was freakin’ awesome!
Editor Aysha Taryam said “Just as one goes on a fast or a body cleanse you owe it to yourselves to detox your mind, it will not be easy but easy never yielded lasting results.”
I found leaving social media easier than you’d think though. I planned it as I said, setting up some twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts to go out via the Buffer app and If This Then That or ifttt.com to promote the show whilst I was offline and I just stopped. A long time ago, for time management reasons, I’d already removed all my notifications – but I deleted the apps from my phone and signed out of all the social networks on my computers.
And I didn’t miss it. Not at all.
I could go on at length about the various benefits of a social media fast, how it will improve your mood, how you will gain more free time or how you will get an improved sleep but let me focus on just one benefit today which will trump all others:
The main benefit of a social media detox is that it gives you increased focus on what really matters. If you’ve not caught onto it yet “developing our self-awareness” is a large part of what this show is all about. That we must work on our life and career at the same time as we are living and working in it.
And I wasn’t aware when I went into this that my self-awareness would be so augmented by the experience but good lord it made all the difference. By removing the social networking/ phone checking habit from the spare moments of my life, I gained back those moments for thought, for planning, for focussing on what matters and for action. In the end I realise that I needed to disconnect, in order to reconnect. And I achieved a few things along the way.
I exchanged social networking habit for a swimming habit. Sounds like an unlikely alternative but it worked. I swim every day now and I feel better for it. My fitness is up, my movement is better, my knee injury is slowly improving and my mood is elevated. This benefit alone was worth the break.
Next I was able to coordinate and complete work on an unresolved family business matter that had been unresolved for 2 years. A huge amount of focussed work made this possible.
Now this might sound like a negative, but in the last two years I’ve had terrible experiences in filmmaking and I’ve decided I’m putting a stop to it. I’m not saying that I’m giving up but I’m not wasting any more time or money on projects or people where I am treated with disrespect, where I am manipulated or where I am scammed or mistreated in some way. The detox allowed me to genuinely consider my relationship with filmmaking and without the constant reminders that come up on there I finally realised that, at least for now, I can do without filmmaking in my life and that I can better use my creative time elsewhere. This perhaps deserved it’s own episode so look out for it in season 3.
I was also able to spend time with friends and to plan a holiday which I took last week - and to start to build the infrastructure for a new creative business idea.
I was able to plan 28 or so new episodes for this show and a schedule for recording them.
And finally I was able to confirm that the time I’d been spending on social media promoting the show could be far better spent elsewhere. The reality is that only 1% of my social media followers and friends actually go on to listen to the show. The conversion of followers to listeners is very bad indeed.
That’s just a few things that I achieved through my detox induced self-awareness peak but there have been many more.
If you take one yourself you’ll learn to live in the moment, and appreciate the life you’re living. You’ll regain time that is otherwise wasted and get on top of tasks that just never seem to get done, from small household chores to larger life changing goals. You’ll also be able to make time for people, actual face to face time, not virtual - which is a far healthier way to maintain great friendships and relationships. Finally you’ll also be able to avoid the competitive one-upmanship of popularity practices that, consciously or not, lead you to comparing yourself to others and vie for your attention online.
In 2011 the former Vice President of User growth at Facebook said “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works.”
He expressed regret for his part in building tools that destroy the social fabric of society.
Sanam Hafeez, a faculty member at Columbia University says “When you feel anxious because you haven’t updated your profile or aren’t ‘connected,’ that’s exactly when you should disconnect,” - “Being away for a month allows the brain time to create new neural pathways, which means new behaviours and routines begin to replace old ones,” - “So if you typically reached for your phone when you woke up to check Facebook, after 30 days, you would have adopted a new ritual, which is the new normal.”
Call To Action
Your call to action this week is to stop letting social networking dominate your life. I ask you to plan your own social media detox and stick to it. It’s as easy as just doing it, and when you’re finally offline, enjoy the experience and embrace your new found freedom.
One of the best quotes I’ve seen during my research is the title of this show
“Less scrolling, more living”
but I can’t locate the exact origin of it so I’ll just make it the title. I tried to keep this one shorter but kinda failed. I’ll leave it as it is and keep trying – these inbetweenisodes are tricky! There’s an awesome article on thegreatfull.com called tips for a healthier relationship with social networking which I urge you to read. I’ll leave a link to it and my other references in the show notes and I’ll be back again with another in-between-isode or two in about a month.
In the meantime - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, and join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.
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