I just lived without my main email for almost two weeks, and that turned out to be quite nice. Just before I left on a longer trip, I messed up my Microsoft Office suite (don’t ask, I don’t quite know how that happened). My Outlook was uninstalled. I could only access my email through my Internet provider’s nasty webmail interface.

My Outlook inbox with its accumulated emails is my main lifeline in terms of work and writing. But you know what? I could live without it for a while. What needed to be done could be done via my backup gmail account and various other interfaces. That got me thinking:

Why does it take a mishap to get a vacation from my email?

I always complain about all the marketing emails I get in my inbox and have to wade through to get to the few messages that were actually written to me, and that I should pay attention to. I am always reluctant to delete marketing messages from organizations I am interested in, but clearly I don’t miss those messages when I can’t get to them. There’s a lesson in that, isn’t there?

I already take a break from email and social media every Shabbat. Instead of missing them, I relish the free time, the lack of distraction and the lack of having to respond. All that got me thinking about my use of social media.

Which social media do I actually use and miss when I don’t have them?

And which do I seem to have only to have them? Which do I string along by posting and engaging only once in a while? Why do I have them? Isn’t it a waste of time to dabble in something I think I should be doing but don’t find that engaging?

I haven’t taken any drastic steps yet. I haven’t deleted any accounts. However, I’m currently monitoring how I use social media to ascertain whether that is actually a fruitful way to spend my time. If you’re interested in doing the same, download my You & Social Media Worksheet, it’ll give you a framework.

A new year is upon us, and that’s always a good time to look at how we run our lives, and how we spend our time. After all, time is the most valuable resource we’ve got. The moments, the minutes, the hours we spend on email and social media make up our lives, too, and we should be judicious about that.