Need Freedom from social media distractions?


Need Freedom from social media distractions?

Have you ever considered just how much social media and the internet rule your life? Are you at the beck and call of whatever is happening on your mobile phone? Do you feel anxiety when you switch off devices, check out of email, or switch off notifications? Do you need freedom from social media distractions?

If you’re a writer or editor, you might have realised by now that social media can be your worst enemy. Those shiny sites with their 24-hour news cycles, followers, likes and shares create an addiction that is hard to break.


The days before constant electronic stimulation

For anyone old enough to remember the days before social media, there’s often a strong feeling of nostalgia.

I have a strong nostalgia for the 1990s when it comes to the amount of time I had back then to read books and write.

When I look back on the last two decades, I see the steady erosion of focused time and the meteoric rise of endless distractions. It’s not that we didn’t have distractions back then, but they didn’t come at us with a 24-hour global cycle, complete with massive public squares like Twitter.

The internet has been great in other ways – the ability to study courses online that are based elsewhere, even thousands of miles away is one of my favourites. There’s been an enormous expansion in opportunities for learning.

But with that expansion has come a closing of the attention span window.

To put it bluntly, our devices and our social media apps now control us in ways we never dreamed. They undermine the very dreams we tweet about – for example, the desire to finish writing a book.


Social media undermines our productivity

How many people spend too much time scrolling through the Twitter writing community hashtags and checking out ‘rivals’, while worrying over their own low engagement and follower count?

Yes, marketing is important when it comes to writing and publishing, or even running an editing business.

But if you want to write a book, or do a good job as an editor, you also need to shut off all distractions.

I’ve mentioned some useful social media blocker apps before in this post over a year ago. Since my phone has never ruled my life, my main issue has always been Twitter, YouTube, and the general ability to Google things too easily. And all of this is done on my PC. Yes, as a writer or editor it’s useful to be able to Google things, but sometimes you want to shut things down completely.

Having said that, I usually just shut down Twitter and YouTube. That alone takes care of a lot of the problem.


Freedom – a subscription-based blocker

But today I was looking at some of the social media blocker alternatives and I stumbled across Freedom, a paid app with over a million users. There’s a free trial version which I might try – otherwise, it’s a subscription-based blocker, for $2.50 a month across all devices.

The Freedom website quotes scientific research on our problem with online distractions.

That we lose 23 minutes every time we check our email, check a feed, or respond to a notification. This is because it requires 23 minutes of our time to refocus and get back on task.

Multitasking is 40% less productive (something that was recently hammered into my head in a copywriting course).

Apparently, multitasking may even affect your IQ negatively by 10 points.

Willpower actually requires effort and energy and we deplete it fast.

Distractions are habit-forming – yes, and social media is designed to become an addiction, which then exploits this phenomenon.

Freedom offers a free trial which provides you with seven trial blocking sessions. I don’t know whether it will prove to be better than Cold Turkey. I think Cold Turkey seems to be somewhat less complex in its user interface. It’s a very easy app to use and I’m still using the free version.