I deleted Instagram from my phone on December 18th with the intention of being social media free for the weekend, which is pretty standard for me. (I haven’t had Facebook on my phone for nearly a year and it’s been awesome.)
On a usual week I would have re-installed the app on Sunday night and done a post to kick off the week. But when Sunday night rolled around, I didn’t want to.
I wondered if Monday would be the day that I started posting and checking in again. But I was too busy celebrating the Solstice and the Grand Conjunction to be bothered. Then I was wrapping up work for the holiday break, then prepping for Christmas, and then before I knew it, I’d been off for over a week.
Pretty soon I stopped checking in with myself to ask if today was the day I was going to re-install the app because I felt so darn good not thinking about what I was going to post, not needing to moderate comments, and not ending up in the mindless scroll loop.
As our company holiday break was drawing to a close, I knew I had some reckoning to do.
Being off social for so long was deliciously refreshing.
If it felt that good not to do it the way I had been doing it before, I knew if I was going to go back on (which I was giving myself permission to consider not doing), then I needed to set some new boundaries and change my approach.
If you’re re-evaluating your relationship with social media, I’m sharing what I learned from my time off and how I’m approaching it now in case it’s a helpful framework for you.
5 Things Being Off Social Media for 16 Days Taught Me
Being actively engaged on social media several times a day is not good for my nervous system and therefore does not support my highest contribution in the world.
In 2020 I dove deep into learning about the nervous system. What I’ve learned supports my
“Body first. Business second.” motto so beautifully.
In order to do our best work in the world, we need to feel safe. During my break I realized the degree to which social media had become a space that triggered hyper-vigilance in me.
When I felt the difference in my body and how calm I was without the app on my phone and without posting on the fly (more on that in a moment), I knew something needed to shift. Keep reading to find out the changes I’ve made.
Get in a rhythm.
My Instagram engagement prior to the holiday break had been tanking, and a friend had sent me an article about why that might be and what to do about it.
While I won’t be making Instagram my J.O.B. in order to feed the algorithm anytime soon, by running what the article said through my own “How does this feel to me?” filter I was able to craft a weekly rhythm of the number of times I will post per week and the types of posts.
Right now it’s one Reel per week, a feed post once a day on weekdays, and Stories a few times a week. (These are trickier and I’ll explain why in a moment. Still a work-in-progress.)
I reserve the right to change my rhythm whenever I need to.
No more on the fly.
I had been “meaning to” start pre-writing my posts and pre-scheduling them for nearly 18 months when I took my unplanned break.
The break showed me how distracting and draining it had been to have “What will I post today?” in the back of my mind all day and then needing to actually do that and respond to comments.
Energy management is the key to making our highest contribution and it was Caribbean-Sea-clear that having my little Instagram mental program running at all times was draining my energy in a big way.
I’m super proud that I’ve started using the Plann app to pre-write and schedule my posts at the beginning of the week, and it feels like a hallelujah of saved energy.
(That doesn’t mean that every now and again I won’t be inspired to post on the fly or that I’ll always stick with my plan, especially if events shift and it’s more important to address what’s happening than my planned content. But that’s going to be the exception.)
Make it devotional.
Folks talk about using social media intentionally or strategically, and I’m here for that…but I’m way more interested in it being devotional.
When I infuse my business activities (be they a meeting with my accountant, teaching a course, or writing an Instagram post) with the energy of love and purpose and mix that with full presence, the actions are not only far more impactful, I’m also nourished by the act of doing them.
Setting myself up to plan my posts in the same way I set myself up to write my blogs (which is the same way I wrote my books) is energizing for me and will call far more of my ideal customers to me than if I’m posting because I feel like I should or like I’ll miss out on something if I don’t.
This includes quiet, setting an intention at the beginning, and sometimes a candle, a meditation, an aura spray, and occasionally an oracle card pull.
I like to make sure the muse knows she’s welcome. 😉
I noticed that when I would go on to post, even if I intended to hop right off, I would get sucked into the scroll.
So, for now at least, the app is off my phone 90% of the time, and someone from my team is now posting to Instagram from her phone. I can then answer comments through the Plann app.
I don’t know if we’ll do it like this forever, but it’s working right now.
As a Gemini Moon, I LOVE social media. I love how I’ve met incredible people through it and built lifelong relationships. I love how much I learn, hearing new perspectives, and getting inspired.
And, my break told me that it had gone from energizing to draining for me– at least right now and at least in the way I was doing it.
It’s helped me to get really clear that social media is simply a channel to give people a taste of what’s possible when you embrace the Do Less Methodology. But I’ve never been more clear that in order to make our biggest impact, we need to invite those who are ready deeper into the experience (first our email list, then our books, membership, and other programs).
I’ve met enough people with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media who couldn’t pay their rent or didn’t know anything about running a business to know that focusing on growing there for its own sake isn’t where I want to devote my precious energy.
I’m here to help people have more by doing less and, at least for now, that means less social media for me.
How’s your relationship with social media going? What needs to change, if anything? What boundaries or practices do you currently have that are working? Leave a comment and let me know!
Kate Northrup is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, and mother who supports ambitious, motivated and successful women to light up the world without burning themselves out in the process. Committed to empowering women entrepreneurs to create their most successful businesses while navigating motherhood, Kate is the founder and CEO of Origin Collective, a monthly membership site where women all over the world gather to achieve more while doing less. Her first book, Money: A Love Story, has been published in 5 languages. Kate’s work has been featured by The Today Show, Yahoo! Finance, Women’s Health, Glamour, and The Huffington Post, and she’s spoken to audiences of thousands with Hay House, Wanderlust, USANA Health Sciences, and more. Kate lives with her husband and business partner, Mike, and their daughter Penelope in Maine. Find out more and receive your free copy of the 5 Simple and effective ways to get the results you want in your business at katenorthrup.com.
Image courtesy of Tofros.com.