Cellular Data: Work Detox of Social Media

So…when you have limited cellular data, and you’re about a week out when your data plan restarts, what do you do?

These days, a lot of consumers will switch to plans that have unlimited data or data not used previously to the next month. While these are smart business plans that provide people with a significant amount of access to the internet and social media.

The degree in which people are now dependent on their smart products is quite concerning, especially for children.

One study (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/862663) reveals that infants’ attention span decreases when their parents are distracted on smartphones.

The one that surprised me, when I first heard this was that we as humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish. (URL: http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/). Essentially, a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds. Humans now have an attention span of 8 seconds, a decrease from years ago — a whooping 12 seconds.  All because of smart products like phones and tablets.

It’s incredibly interesting that one of the most innovative, convenient, and stylish pieces of technology could in so many ways harm us as individuals.

When my cellular data hit the 98% mark Monday this past week, I knew, to not get charged for going over, I had to make a few cuts, particularly, while at the office. Now, I don’t spend that much time in the office on social media. However, because I work in a place that doesn’t have access to wifi (Yeah right?), I do use some of it for my tablet when I type up meeting notes and synch it later or for GPS when I’m out and about running to meetings, etc. However, that’s not to say that when I have a few minutes, I won’t check my Instagram (check me out @phportfolio) or Twitter (same as Instagram) or Facebook (Sorry guys, private).

I think when I first started this, not really by choice, but moreso, not wanting to go over while at the same time not wanting to buy in to the notion of getting an unlimited data plan, I wasn’t sure how I would do.

I’m big on technology. I’m fairly up to date on the newest technology that comes out. I even check out what’s out there, played around with various items that are on the market, utilized technology for school and work, fixed things at home, etc. So there’s no doubt in my mind that I like technology and think that it’s a necessity. I’m even see what’s out there to improve work productivity for tablets, smartphones, and PCs. However, I’m not going to nerd out here on technology, my blog isn’t about that, but I did want to write about something that people talk about scientifically, but not many talk about doing something like this on a blog or on the internet. I saw one vlogger talk about this very topic.

I get how social media has made access to info a lot more convenient, but I also came from a place previous to this blog where social media was really frowned upon. I’m not going to go into detail about this and obviously, given that I’m on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, even this blog, that my view of social media is that it’s available, it’s great access, and I like to see what’s going on out there with things that I love. Instagram is a great place to see what’s out there in the make up industry. It also shows me some beautiful pictures that photographers have taken. Twitter gives me the news beyond my normal searches via the internet. Facebook helps me keep in touch with friends and see some rather hilarious memes.

So, what was it like, when during work hours, I don’t have cellular data? I think the first few days were a bit hard. I wouldn’t say difficult, because it turns out that this week was incredibly hectic. However, it was difficult, because I wanted to keep up with what was happening with Rio 2016 especially swimming, since I was a swimmer. So…that was a bit hard. However, I do have to say that because I didn’t have data, was busy, and hid my phone from view as much as possible, I actually enjoyed not having to check what’s going on in social media until I got home where I had wifi. It was in many ways refreshing to not have to check social media. It allowed me to focus on work. Most of all, my 15 minute breaks in the mornings and afternoons included walks around the building or outside (dependent on weather, some days…it’s been hot).

On Thursday, one of my managers came up with an incredibly cool idea of a public health library where books related to public health can be borrowed for reading. Without social media, I actually started reading an incredibly very interesting book called Saving Gotham: A Billionaire Mayor, Activist Doctors and the Fight for Eight Million Lives  and this is how different people came together to address areas of public health that affected the people of New York. It reminds me of one of my favorite books, which is Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. So I’m excited to see how I’m going to utilize my breaks to get some fresh air through a walk or read a few pages of this new book.

The process of how I actually didn’t allow myself access to social media is hiding my phone (out of sight means out of mind) as well as turning off the usage of cellular data on almost all of my apps, including social media. I didn’t turn off cellular data altogether because I wouldn’t get access to texts as well as Slack which our team uses at work. By turning off cellular data, I would go back to my college days where data wasn’t available and the only thing we honestly cared about was reception to take phone calls.

So in conclusion, I definitely want to give this another go around for a few weeks or a month, who knows….because I think it honestly is good for me to build up discipline to concentrate on what’s in front of me and to not be so indulged in social media as if it’s something I need to see as often as I should. With regards to discipline, there is a lot of stats out there that show how students these days need to learn productivity skills because of the decreased attention span. In fact, for most college students, a standard 1 hour lecture is too long. Some can only listen about half way through, and some of that has to do with how much we spend time looking at a screen. So, to actually do this exercise, for me, I think is beneficial as a means of really learning to train myself mentally to not indulge in social media that often, focus, and learn to concentrate on things like studying for nursing school (if I get in of course…).

Lastly, I really don’t think that by not indulging in that much social media would cause me to lose out on anything. Honestly, it’s helped me, even at home, where I would skim social media and do other things. Heck, I’ve even gone to the gym without my phone and I was fine.

So, let the work detox of social media continue!

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