During the past 30 days, I decided to take a break from Twitter and Facebook. Here’s what I discovered:


I didn’t miss it much and, to my surprise, there wasn’t much in terms of news and announcements that I wasn’t able to get from other sources. There is one professional group that provides me access to information that I can’t get anywhere else (without as little effort) and it’s necessary for me to be on Facebook for my job, but I could easily let my profile go dark, quietly exit that space, and only use the FB messenger app to stay in contact with friends.


This was much more difficult to ignore. For real-time events, conversations, and news, there really isn’t an alternative for me. While I was certainly able to get by without it, I missed checking in during breaking news and, most of all, connecting with the community there. One obvious benefit: it’s been much easier for me to single-task. So I’m torn on whether I want to return to my previous levels of engagement.

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Last month’s 30-day challenge was to exercise for at least 45 minutes, three days a week. I’m happy to say that I accomplished and exceeded that goal. As a result, I’ve lost 10 pounds and have managed to keep my weight at a level consistent with my age, height, and the national recommendations. The plan is to continue this habit as time and workload permits. Not tonight, though: there is too much to do this week. I cannot express how eager I am to see 1pm next Saturday.

At the beginning of last month, I challenged myself to get up every morning at 4:45 and walk the dog. Both she and I need the exercise and it’s a much gentler way to wake up in the morning than being jolted into awareness by a hot shower or cup of coffee. This is the first time that I’ve tried a month-long challenge, an idea that I picked up from Matt Cutts. It was such a success that I’m working on a new 30-day challenge this month. No spoilers: apparently, telling other people your goal [SLYT] is a great way to ruin your motivation to complete it.

Instead, here is a list of 30-day challenges that I’m planning to attempt, many of which were inspired by Cutts’s list. Which one should I do next? What others do you recommend?

  • write a page of text daily
  • eat vegan
  • get 8 hrs of sleep each evening
  • give my partner a new compliment each day
  • meditate for 30 minutes daily
  • eat more slowly (take 10 seconds between each bite)
  • remove the work email app from my phone
  • stretch daily
  • record 1 second of video per day
  • stop reading the news
  • play the ukulele daily
  • draw a picture daily
  • discover something new to be thankful for each day
  • learn a new word daily
  • take a non-selfie picture a day
  • no facebook
  • no refined sugar
  • no caffeine
  • no TV
  • set a vacation message on my personal email
  • get rid of one household item each day

The goal of each of these isn’t necessarily to learn a new skill or develop a new habit, but to see how I react to a concerted effort to change my daily routine. To spice things up. As I said, I’m working on one of these already for the month of September. I’ll let you know how it goes in a few weeks!