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Time to recharge the batteries

Written by A.R.Fairbank@swansea.ac.uk / Friday 20th December 2019

As 2019, the year we celebrated out 10th birthday, comes to and end, our Marketing Manager Adam Fairbank explains why he’ll be taking a break from his social media feeds, and ION’s, over the Christmas break. 

I’m a fan of Christmas. Christmas is a time to ‘switch off’. Switch off from emails, office politics and most importantly social media. I love a digital detox. When I’m off work I like to recharge the batteries, (try to) stay away from what’s happening in the digital world and concentrate on what’s happening in the real world.

Time_to_recharge_the_batteries.pngIt’s not that easy though. A recent OFCOM report (August 2018) found that we now spend a total of one day a week online. That’s a lot of time you get back when you take 2 weeks holiday.

One slight issue this year is that as well as managing my own social media profiles, I am also responsible for the ION leadership social media feeds. Fortunately, both Programme Director Gary Walpole and Programme Manager Suzanne Parry Jones were very supportive of my digital detox and therefore the ION social media channels will also be taking a break over Christmas.

Now I fully understand that not everyone can take a break (or wants to take one). According to social media consultancy Avocado Social, the average UK based user spends 1 hour 50 minutes a day scrolling through social media sites. Therefore, just one day off social media could earn you back on average nearly 2 hours to spend time on other things – playing board games with the family, arguing over the last Quality Street or watching Love Actually (again!).

Plenty has been written over the years about the benefit of talking a break for social media.

As well as living in the moment, reconnecting with the real world and conquering your fear of missing out, from a business point of view, there is the impact on productivity. Evidence shows that we work best when we can focus on a single task. But the multi-tasking we are all guilty off (checking our social feeds to see if anything has happened in the 2 minutes since you last checked) can reduce productivity by as much as 40%.

In his book ‘The Art of Creative Thinking’, Rod Judkins talks about pausing for thoughtlessness. He believes 'the geniuses of the twenty-first century will be those who can unplug from the unyielding flow of incoming communication: emails, tweets, facebook, phone calls'. He also beleives that ‘Rather than steering life, we’re reacting to whatever pours in”.

One of the reasons I used to struggle with abstaining from social media was FOMO – fear of missing out. But what was I missing out on? Missing out on finding out what someone I went to school with 30 years ago is having for their tea, or what so and so’s opinion is on who is going to win the Premier League. None of this really matters. But what does matter is when my kids ask me to put my phone down and play Guess Who. Rod Judkins goes onto say in his book that 'We tend to not rate shutting down, but it’s more than just an absence of work, it’s a tool for recovery. It’s important to completely clear your mind. Only when you achieve this can you begin again, refreshed'.

So if you want to improve your productivity, come back in 2020 refreshed and become a genius of the twenty-first century, just pause.

See you in 2020.

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