How does it feel to spend less time on social media? My experiences pt 1#unplug

A screenshot from a smartphone, showing a window asking if the Facebook app should really be deleted

On a recent Monday evening, I pulled the plug. I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. As uneventful as that may sound, it has been a drastic decision for me. I have never measured how much time I spend on Facebook, but I am sure it must have been quite some hours in a week.

Getting dragged into the never-ending rabbit hole of the auto-scrolling Facebook feed for more time than I wanted was one part of the problem. What was even more of a problem for me was that I kept reading postings that aggravated me and caused me to think about smart rebuttals, resulting in long, imaginary conversations that kept my mind working for hours. I hardly ever really replied to anyone, of course, knowing that discussions with others online seldomly where fruitful.

You can read about why I pulled the plug in my first post about this topic: https://www.mizzi.at/reduce-social-media-consumption-in-september-unplug/

So, a few days have gone by since Monday – how did my “strategy” work out for me?

I haven’t logged into Facebook ONCE since Monday. I never felt the urge to do it, although I had a brief moment of wanting to check out one of the camping groups I am in to find some info about travelling to the Bretagne.

I have checked Instagram sometimes, although way less than I used to. Somehow it currently feels uninteresting to me to scroll through endless streams of pictures. My Instagram follow-list has grown so much that I sometimes see more stuff from people I don’t really know than from the ones I care about. Today, I opened Instagram and was instantly triggered by a posting about organic veggies by somebody I don’t even know in person… I closed the app and haven’t opened it again since.

The first noticable effects my reduced social media consumption has on me are:

  • better sleep. I guess the first reason is this: less imaginary discussions mean less time that my brain is rattling on when I actually would prefer to sleep. The second reason could be that I was more conciously spending my evening, watching a movie or a show and not browsing social media at the same time. Due to this, I noticed when I was getting tired and went to bed a bit earlier.
  • more time for other things. It sounds cheesy, but I really managed to do more “real” stuff instead of scrolling around on my phone, without it feeling like a burden or being exhausting. I’m not forcing myself to do more “real” stuff, I just want to do it. For example, I went on multiple walks, I completed a book, I made my own chocolate, I tried my hand at making granola bars and I completed some chores in the garden and house.
  • more creativity and motivation. I wrote a few postings on this blog already again (which I have been wanting to do for ages!) and I often have ideas for new posts or other stuff I want to try/make. That’s how I came up with the wish to make chocolate and granola bars.
  • feeling better. I am proud of myself that I have gone a few days with less mindless social media consumption.

Sounds pretty good so far, eh? Even a bit too good to be true ;)
I am looking forward to seeing how this journey unfolds for me. At the moment, a variety of different developments is imaginable to me.

My experience with my #reduceplastic challenge pt 2

A hand holding a cardboard box of noodles and a packet of chocolate.

Today, I went shopping for groceries. I wanted to check out what options with no plastic and less packaging in general there are.

First, I went to the farmers market. This is a pretty easy way to buy non-packaged stuff, often-times the food is even organic. I loaded up on veggies there, got some fruit and bread, as well as grape juice in a glass bottle.

Next, I stopped at the local organic supermarket. I was able to find some hearty spreads to go on top of the bread I bought, packaged in glass. They also had one of the chocolate brands that use biodegradable wrapping for their goods (info found here: https://einbisschengruener.com/2016/02/14/plastikfreie-alufreie-nachhaltige-vegane-schokolade/).
Sadly, they didn’t have any noodles in paper or cardboard. Maybe one of the packages was non-plastic, as it felt differently to the touch, but since there was no info on it, I didn’t buy it.

I went to a bigger supermarket, where I found noodles from the house-brand, packaged in cardboard box. Too bad that those noodles aren’t organic. Phew. Maybe it’s like with the vegetables – if they’re organic, they will be wrapped in plastic. If they are non-organic, they won’t have a plastic wrapping. I still haven’t understood why it’s necessary or meaningful to wrap the organic stuff in plastic, but I guess most people don’t buy organic, so at least less plastic gets bought that way… with the exception of those damn plastic bags they give away for free at the fruit & veggie section.

My conclusion so far: it’s possible to buy less plastic and less packaging. It feels a bit like when I went vegetarian (or vegan after that) – in the beginning, it seemed a bit difficult to find alternatives, but as soon as you knew about them, your shopping list changed a bit and from then on, you simply bought a few different items.

We’ll see how my experiment continues…

Making my own chocolate #reduceplastic

A piece of star-shaped chocolate on a plate.

I have found an inspiring blogpost about making chocolate yourself and tried it out today. Here’s the recipe: https://cakeinvasion.de/schokolade-selber-machen-vegan/

Only three ingredients are needed: cocoa, coconut fat and powdered sugar. That means that you might be able to quickly make yourself some chocolate anytime you crave some, if you keep basic baking ingredients at home! That sounds pretty calming to me ;)

The process is easy, although it takes some time to melt and mix the ingredients. I was able to produce a pretty decent result, so everyone with minimal baking knowledge (reaaaally minimal) can do it too! Next time I will use syrup as sweetener instead of the powdered sugar to avoid having lumps of sugar in the finished chocolate.

My experience with my #reduceplastic challenge pt 1

Since deciding to reduce my plastic consumption starting in September, I have done a bit of research and thinking.

My first quest is to find alternatives to noodles and chocolate packaged in plastic.

So far, I have found out that there‘s a company from Austria called Wolf Nudeln which produces noodles packaged in paper/cardboard AND they offer vegan noodles (good old-fashioned durum wheat noodles ;)).

Also, I found a blogpost about chocolate without plastic wrapping, stating that there are some brands which use a bio-degradable plastic wrapping. The author even tried the bio-degradation for herself by burying the wrapping in her garden for some time and she was able to confirm the company’s claim.

Here‘s the blogpost: https://einbisschengruener.com/2016/02/14/plastikfreie-alufreie-nachhaltige-vegane-schokolade/

I will visit the organic supermarkets that we have in town to see if they offer one of these brands. So far, it seems like good alternatives can be found.

Focus already!

During my current quest to reduce my social media consumption, I have noticed a general urge in myself to improve my focus skills. I feel like I am easily distracted and I want to change that.

To help myself to stay on track, I have started using the Pomodoro technique (again). Basically, the Pomodoro technique helps you to focus on getting one task done, concentrating on it for 25 minutes. After that period, you can take a short break of 5 minutes. When you have completed four cycles, you get to take a longer break.
Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the Pomodoro technique: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique

I am using an extension for Google Chrome called „Block & Focus“, which helps me to stay on track.

Sometimes I also manage to turn off all notifications for a period of time, but sometimes I am also too weak for that ;)

So far, I feel that using this technique is helpful for me. I find it hard to grant myself the right to take a break, although breaks are needed to stay mentally fresh. The breaks are what make a work process sustainable after all! Still I feel guilty from time to time for taking breaks.

I have extended the focus timespan to 60 minutes today, because 25 minutes seem just a bit too short for the tasks I need to complete. Maybe I will go down to 45 minutes of focus, so I don‘t overlook my need for breaks.

I will try to incorporate the Pomodoro technique as often as possible!

Reduce social media consumption in September #unplug

A female hiker sitting on a bench on a summit, overlooking a valley filled with green trees and meadows

During the last weeks, I have felt more and more uncomfortable and unhappy with my social media consumption. Multiple times I was aggravated after reading articles and comments on social media. My biggest issue is with Facebook. I am aware that there is a strategy behind which postings get washed into my feed. The more it triggers me, the more likely I am to interact with it, the longer I will stay online on Facebook.

Fear of missing out, hate-reading, looking for validation are some of the factors that make us open up that social media app time and time again. Stuff like comparing ones life with the seemingly perfect lives of others makes us feel bad about ourselves.

I don’t want to sound like I think I am a zen guru now, I am not claiming I will never open up Facebook again, in fact, I still want to keep running the Mizzi Facebook page (however I am going to handle that) and sometimes check my feed, but I wish to reduce the time that I spend on social networks.

I have already attempted that once, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone which somehow was a scary experience, telling myself that I could always just sign in via the website if I needed to. My experiment went well for some time, until I got annoyed by all the detours I had to take. I even reinstalled the Facebook messenger because Facebook made it harder to respond to messages without the app.

We will see how my experiment goes this time. I deleted the Facebook app yesterday, I kept the messenger because I hardly get messages there and it’s not dragging me back into the rabbit hole of social media anyway.
I will not delete Instagram or any of the messengers I use, because I feel like those apps are not having a big negative effect on my life. I do of course compare myself with others, but I am aware that most pictures on Instagram are not “real”. I, myself, also use a good angle when taking pictures, I try to cut out disturbing elements, I play around with filters… I think that’s fine, as long as I am aware that Instagram is an app for posting “nice pictures” and not authentic, real life stills.

I have turned on the screen time statistics on my phone to collect a bit of info, I am curious to see how often I pick up the phone… I guess I should have started that before I deleted the Facebook app, but oh well ;)

Do you have any issues with your social media usage? Have you tried to reduce your social media consumption or your screen time? Do you have any recommendations for me? Please feel free to write a comment or e-mail me!

Avoid plastic challenge in september #reduceplastic

Stephanie Jagl-Posch standing at the beach with a pile of collected trash

Inspired by a posting by a fellow surfer, I will try my best to reduce my plastic consumption this september (and hopefully stick to it for the rest of my life).

Here is the posting I am referring to:

I can relate to the experience that the awareness for how much we litter our earth has grown due to surfing. I have reduced my plastic consumption over the years already, but I still have lots of room for improvement.

I really had to think for a while what items packaged in plastic I am buying constantly, then I noticed that our beloved noodles come in plastic wrapping. I don‘t know why, because I guess that dry durum wheat noodles could easily be packaged without using plastic, but then again, I‘m not a food engineer, so what do I know, really? ;)

Another item that always is wrapped in plastic is chocolate. There is of course chocolate that is wrapped in aluminium foil, but that‘s probably not better.

My personal challenge for september will be to find an alternative for the noodles that come in a plastic bag, I am optimistic that this will be possible.

More of a mystery to me is my second challenge task – don‘t buy chocolate wrapped in plastic or aluminium. Will it work? I have no idea. But I want to educate myself, so I can make more conscious decisions in the future.

I will continue to buy less plastic, stick to fruits & veggies that are sold unwrapped (ideally locally, organically grown stuff directly at the market) and look for other alternatives to single use plastic.

If you have any recommendations for me, please feel free to post a comment or send me an e-mail!

Lots of Accessibility News

A lot has happened in the world of Web/Mobile Accessibility in the last month:

– Microsoft and Deque Systems (makers of Axe, one of the best automated Accessibility Testingtools) got together and produced Accessibility Insights – a Testingtool, that guides you step by step through the testing process. There is both a version for website testing, as well as a version for testing Windows applications!
https://accessibilityinsights.io/

– Google released a Tool called Accessibility Scanner for iOS, that lets you test the Accessibility of iOS Apps:
https://github.com/google/GSCXScanner

– Deque Systems published Axe for Android, this WCAG Accessibility Scanner is available in the Google Play Store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.deque.axe.android&rdid=com.deque.axe.android

All those tools are for free!

 

– Marcus Herrmann documented the process of making an inclusive app/web app and also included some helpful links on this website:
https://accessible-app.com/

Girls Park Attack – 16.03.2019 Snowpark Stuhleck

Girls Can Do Flyer

On the 16th of March 2019, the first Girls Park Attack will take place. Organized by the GCD Crew (GCD meaning “Girls Can Do”) in cooperation with Blue Tomato, the day will focus on girls and women who want to get better at riding the snowpark or who even want to try it out for the first time. The GCD Crew is a group of women who have found together through their love for snowboarding. They will help others to grow their bag of tricks and to better their skills at park riding. Besides the costs for the lift ticket, the whole session is for free, so don’t miss this chance to get to know others and to up the ante!

For more info, check out the Facebook event:
-> https://www.facebook.com/events/2225803570774351/

Girls Can Do on Facebook:
-> https://www.facebook.com/gcdcrewvienna/

Girls Can Do on Instagram:
-> https://www.instagram.com/gcd.crew/

FEEL THE FLOW

“Die Freireiter”, Andreas Prielmaier and Thomas Mayer, met up with Sonnia Höffken, who is an avid yogini and freerider, in La Grave. The guys were skeptical at first, but after sharing some incredible runs with Sonnia (SkiYo – feel the flow! ®), they found the positive effects of yoga for skiers intriguing.

Can you “Feel The Flow” as well?

-> https://skiyo.de/
-> https://www.diefreireiter.de/