Once you drop into the abyss who knows when you’ll resurface.

This ever happened to you? You’ve been busy all day or maybe you’re still in the thick of things but you find yourself with a few minutes of down time. Maybe you’re still at your desk but have shut your computer down. Maybe you’ve just gotten home and sunk into the couch or your favorite chair. Or maybe you just finished a quick meal before you start on the evening’s housework or things you have to do. Whatever the situation, you think, ‘I’ll just check Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and see what’s happening.’

An hour later you look up and the cleaning crew is coming at you with a vacuum or the couch has completely swallowed you up so much the dog thinks you’re part of the upholstery or the dirty dishes have food stuck to them like some industrial glue. You’ve become a victim of the social time suck.

You’ve succumbed to the mindless, browsing, brain drain of social media. I know. I’ve been there. It’s easy to do. Today we go, go, go and then we go some more. When we get a break, slipping our grey matter into neutral feels awfully good. We just have to scroll, scroll, scroll some more to see new, interesting or entertaining news, updates or commentary from our online friends and followers. We’re allowed to live vicariously through our friends and their all-inclusive vacation. We get a chuckle out of the sarcastic or sardonic commentary the Twitterverse offers up on a daily basis. And we’re entertained by the creative captions on Insta or the hijinks on Snap. It’s all good fun until we finally look up from The Twilight Zone of social and see that time did NOT in fact, stop.

How many times, when this happens to you, do you just bury your head back into your mobile device and keep looking for that steady dopamine drip? I mean, you’ve gone this far, you’ll never get to that dinner, those chores, that workout or that discussion with your kids or significant other, right? To be as crystal clear as your HD screen, I’m not bagging on those that do this. Heck I’m part of the crowd.

My biggest suck comes at the end of the day when I ought to be getting some shut eye. Instead I’m gawking into my phone, in the dark, in bed at the latest post or tweet or snap or whatever you call Instagram. There, as the nasty light tricks my brain into thinking it’s the middle of the day, I ‘m ensuring that once I do put the confounded thing down I have at minimum 30 minutes to lay there while my melon tries to get back to normal and realize just how stinking late it is. I’ll be lucky if I can quiet my mind in that time and not start thinking about all the stuff I have to do tomorrow because my brain is jacked up and looking for more feel-good stuff. Some nights, like last night, my unquiet mind won’t stop zinging left and right for hours while the logical parts of my brain scream at the funzies who, you guessed it, just want to have fun. Now, it should also be clear, I’m not a fun-hater.

I’m not so tightly wound and goal driven that I don’t love a good session of watching people fall down on YouTube. I’ve been known to laugh so much the other people in my house think I’ve completely lost my mind in the middle of the night, enough so that they’ve come to check on me. I’m not some all-work-and-no-play person who thinks everything has to fit into its pre-ordained box every day. Still, I have to be at least a little productive every day outside of work and I have to get decent rest or the wheels fall off in more ways than I can count.

So, this Thursday I’ve resolved to limit my social time to 30 minutes a day. This fits in well with my resolution to have a plan from last Thursday. I imagine assigning five minutes to Twitter each morning and ten minutes of Facebook (these are my go-to’s) and then adding 15 minutes of Facebook into my nightly routine no later than 9:00 should work nicely. I’ll avoid getting sucked into the black hole by setting an alarm on my phone to tell me when to get off social.

Will this be difficult? I think it will. I think it will be a bit like resolving not to check email after 6:00 that I kicked way back in September of last year but it will be worth it. Part of the plan is to expand my readership via social media so my efforts will have to be directed and focused. I might even have to put some posts and tweets together ahead of time rather than going off half-cocked like I normally do. On second thought, I’m just changing a behavior, not my whole personality. There’s no way I’ll be that organized! We shall see…

I’ve recognized this weakness in my m.o. for a long time. It’s just finally time to address it. I imagine a lot of you have fallen prey to it also and if you’re trying to kick the habit perhaps my resolution will encourage you. And if you were blissfully unaware, surprise! If you know someone who needs a wake-up call too, please share this with them.

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