A few weeks ago I set myself a challenge to go offline and to not use SoMe for ten days as I was struggling to create new ideas, new perspectives, and generally be creative. And I thought a SoMe detox would help.
I thought this would benefit me as I remembered an interview with the creative genius John Cleese of Monty Python fame, who said “if you want creative workers, give them enough time to play”, and I wanted to test this statement and to help my SoMe network understand the benefits, if any.
So on the 25th May around 7pm, I turned off my phone, poured myself a glass of red, and waited for my creative juices to flow… Within minutes I had an uncontrollable urge to check my LI posts, check my website engagement, check my inbox for something unaccountable… it was curious Chris in full swing, but I resisted!
The following morning, once again I had to break the habit of checking. Check, check, check… but for what? I resisted the distraction again. Skipping ahead a few days, I began to relax, I began to feel more in the moment, and yes, more creative. And I am now in the middle of a great creative project that I would not have started without this SoMe detox, but what is not the real learning here?
Outcome 1 – I was busy, but not rushed
Outcome 2 – I was more attentive, less of a spectator
Outcome 3 – I did more by not multitasking
And why was this the upshot of not using SoMe?
Learning 1 – I was less distracted. I was busy focused on a task and in a “flow” of work that felt good. I was not rushing from one thing to another but building my thoughts piece by piece. I was busy, but not distracted, which would have stopped the flow.
Learning 2 – I was more attentive, and could simultaneously see, process, judge the opportunities better, rather than “fix the problem of work” by listing out tasks for me to unconsciously manage and tick them off as a job well done. Less distraction meant I could think bigger.
Learning 3 – And most surprisingly of all, I did more. I managed to scope and mobilise a great fun project for me, in addition to everything else I was doing and it felt fun. The “multitasking” skill just didn’t work under scrutiny as it wastes time flicking between tasks. Less distraction pushed me through the value chain faster, and it felt fun because I was achieving!
So why not try a SoMe detox, and see what happens to your thinking, time, creativity and motivation, and why not share your ideas with the Generation CFO LI Group, or simply post your thoughts below.
And by the way, I have a small confession. I didn’t make it to ten days, only nine, so it was official a failed challenge, but I am sure you will agree, in reality it was nothing but a triumph. Learning 4 – Fail fast, move on faster! Or as the old Japanese proverb goes;“Fall seven times, raise eight”, a very handy line for anyone manage transformation and change.
Chris Argent is the founder of Generation CFO LI Group, a network of 67,000 finance professionals who all have an interest in professional networking, knowledge sharing and career building, with a particularly focus on how innovation, technology and digital transformation is impacting the finance role and function.