About six months ago, I went through an especially painful breakup with Netflix. I swore my ex off, lamenting all the time I lost in my less-than rewarding relationship. In short, I wanted my productivity back. The result? At first, it wasn’t revolutionary. I spent much of the time I would’ve spent binge-watching shows scrolling through every social media account I owned. I thought that my work ethic was no better, but in retrospect, I did meet all my semester goals, for a change. Still, by winter break, I felt like I remained the pigeon with a short attention span, always looking for the next mildly amusing internet-crafted entertainment. So I took my Netflix ban one step further. I banned myself from Facebook. And Pinterest. To date, I have only two social media apps: Instagram and Snapchat. Well, and WordPress, of course, but I consider this to be a hobby, not a waste of time.
And my inner pigeon, while not gone completely, is diminishing. This doesn’t mean that I have found the cure to procrastination, because that word is older than the Internet itself. It means that, when I’m sick of doing homework or just plain avoiding my adult responsibilities (as I am wont to do), I find more satisfying and productive ways of wasting time. I read a lot, for example. I read almost every chance I get. Once I finish one book, I pick up the next. When I finally exhaust the supply of books my mom lent me over winter break (okay, the pile of books I stole from my mom’s bookshelf over winter break), the library is going to be seeing even more of me than it already does.
That’s right, Netflix. I moved on and rediscovered a better option. Jealous? Good. You should be. The library has more to offer than you ever did, even before you got rid of that Starz contract back in 2012.
Since I started living on my own (at least during the school year), I’ve learned a lot about how to live as a person that frankly has little to no self-control. I only eat healthy because I refuse to buy junk food at the grocery store, for example. If there is an available bag of potato chips, believe me, I’m going to eat it. In this way, I only have to exercise self-discipline when I’m at the grocery store. When it comes to social media, my bored, potato-chip-loving inner pigeon will direct me towards it. But when I make social media unavailable to my pigeon, she becomes classier. If she can’t have endless Facebook ads, fine, she wants to read a book. Or a blog post. Or write something. (I admit that, at first, she insisted on refreshing my Instagram feed, but quickly tired of that and moved on to more effective forms of generally avoiding responsibilities.)
I mean, I’m supposed to be taking reading notes right now, but, hey, at least I’m providing quality blog content. Still, you could argue that you don’t care about me and how I dissociate my impulsive tendencies by making up an imaginary pigeon to take the fall. Maybe you’re content to scroll Facebook for the rest of forever, and you’re sick of people telling you different. That’s perfectly fine, but I invite you to think of your life as a sum total. When I found myself watching too much Netflix and scrolling too often, it gave me this sort of lonely-empty and all around not-nice feeling. And I think to myself, is this how I want to spend my life? If I have to procrastinate, shouldn’t I do it right, goddammit?
Books make me feel refreshed, social media makes me feel empty and brain-dead. And in my life, I choose to have more of the refreshed feeling. And it’s not as hard as you might think. My inner pigeon has, albeit slowly, forgotten that Facebook exists, and goes straight from bored to book.
But what about you? What social media sites are you on? Do you dissociate your impulsive tendencies with a nonexistent avian counterpart? Let me know in the comments down below. If you’re a multicellular mammal, like this article and follow my lovely blog. Or don’t. I’m not your mom or whatever.