What I Learned from 2 Weeks of No Social Media and Doing Important Things Instead

Kiev, Ukraine - October 17, 2012 - A logotype collection of well-known social media brand's printed on paper. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Vimeo, Flickr, Myspace, Tumblr, Livejournal, Foursquare and more other logos.

Two whole weeks of living off-grid: no social media and only basic phone use (using it as a torch/clock/phone) Instead I was doing really important things:

… like catching crabs with my 6 year old, (we caught 24 in half an hour in Staithes harbor) hitting the waves at Sandsend, hanging out on the beach every day with the kids, dinner with my wife in the acclaimed Estbek House Restaurant and the annual trip to Whitby Hospital (this time, my 3 years old gashed his chin!)

Did I miss the constant pinging of my phone and the endless social media noise?


Did I learn anything useful?


1) The number of daily views of my Linkedin profile has fallen off a cliff and my number of twitter and Instagram followers has slightly reduced (drum roll, panic, my stomach is in knots … NOT)

2) No one cares about social media if you disappear. The people who really care are the people who know you and love you through a personal relationship, so personal or business, don’t be an idiot: establish firm boundaries around your use of social media, so you’re efficient with your time, energy and emotions. (Use the rescuetime app or check out my 4th learning point and do what I do)

3) The noise from technology is relentless and it ruins your ability to concentrate and get in the zone. When you switch off from the relentless noise for a few weeks, it’s amazing how refreshed you feel. The thought of going back to it all is actually quite stressful.

4) My concentration has got worse over the last year as bad habits with my phone and social media have crept in. So moving forward, I will be even more ruthless with my number one social media management hack … the data mobile and wifi are OFF on my phone as my standard operating procedure, allowing myself only a few checks per day to post whatever I’m going to post and then deal with what’s important, before turning it off. No more than 3 checks per day, then the data mobile and wifi are OFF.

5) A bunch of cool stuff to share with anyone visiting Yorkshire (UK):

  • The best place to catch crabs is in Staithes harbour on the royal lifeboat slip road just before high tide. If you pick them up, do so from behind so you avoid their pincers.
  • Kayaking in big waves is not a sensible sport for kayaking beginners.
  • Dinghies with small children in them are prone to be flipped over by the North Sea wind, you really need the bodyweight of an adult in a dingy to avoid being flipped.
  • When you go to the coast with young children, you must watch them like hawks. Things change very quickly on beaches/in the sea. I love risk, but not when it comes to young kids and the seaside!
  • Going out for dinner with 3 young children aged 6, 3 and 6 months is more pain than it’s worth … either, avoid the pain and accept that life is all about seasons or embrace the pain but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
  • The best dish at Estbek House (Sandsend) is their signature fish pie (a sumptuous fish stack topped with perfectly seared scallops)