This year, I intend to take a different approach to social media to improve my health and wellbeing by embracing the Joy Of Missing Out aka. #JOMO.

This might come as a shock to those who follow me online – I know I have a serious case of TMI but this is me. That won’t change. I’ll still share things I learn and find interesting, be it from the world of tech, software engineering, team leadership or the occasional personal highlight.

I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter and Instagram – despite all intent to avoid both as their respective corporations try to satisfy stakeholders, I just keep coming back to the convenience of quick posting for personal records. If anybody else likes to interact, that’s an added extra.

There’s even a train of thought that suggests boredom sparks creativity:

“When you shut stuff out and are left with your thoughts, you start to think. I mean properly think. It’s that stillness of mind that lets you create and connect.”

Wayne Deakin, Executive Creative Director of London design agency, Huge

Anyway, after reading about #JOMO late last year, I now have a five-step plan to support my digital detox and improve my online footprint. Here’s how…

1. Read More

Not online – I mean paperback books and printed magazines. I’ve recently subscribed to a Wired subscription and I’ve been subscribed to The Agilist (a self-published agile newsletter) for nearly a year.

I’m not limiting my reading to non-fiction though. I like to balance learning with the enjoyment of fiction, immersing myself in a thrilling story. I’ve a growing wish-list on Goodreads and Amazon which I’ll be digging into.

This means I’m not tempted by tech. I can truly switch off, enjoy some literature and, if necessary, learn a few things in a focused manner.

2. Write More

I plan to write more content on my own blog – items like this – so I can reclaim my content and share my thoughts in a controlled environment. I’ll obviously be reposting on the likes of social media and Medium to improve awareness. The point is I don’t need to be online to write content thanks to the joy of Bear – my favourite note-taking app across the Apple ecosystem.

3. Reduce The Noise

Without realising, my following count on Twitter has grown to over 900 accounts. That’s ridiculous – there is no way I can actively engage with that many accounts. Apparently, the magic number for online relationships is around 130 so I’ll be culling those accounts right back to a more manageable number to reduce the noise, ideally of those I actually communicate with on a regular basis who bring me joy.

4. Delete Apps

To remove temptation and the convenience of distractions, I’m removing apps from my iPhone. Facebook is being replaced with Facebook Page; the only real reason I don’t delete my FB account is to support the pages I continue to manage for personal and family projects. The only time I open the app nowadays is to clear out the double-figure notifications badge, typically just more adverts and poorly curated suggestions by their so-called machine learning.

More drastically, I’m deleting Tweetbot from all my device docks. It has long been a favourite app across my iPhone, iPad and Mac but, for too long it has brought mixed emotions. I’ll keep the app available for important notifications (messages and mentions from people I follow) but it’ll be removed from primary positions.

5. Get Out More

Finally, the most obvious way to bring joy from missing out is to just get offline. I want to detach from the grid, head out for more walking, swimming, site-seeing, camping – anything that requires zero tech but time with my loved ones in the real world.

Over the past year or so, I’ve read several pieces about Silicon Valley people leaving jobs to live rural lifestyles away from tech. I really respect this extreme decision – but it’s a reality check. If people who were completely absorbed by the bubble have had to take such extreme measures, we should all consider the importance of tech in our lives.

Do you feel like social media is taking over your life? Would a hard reset on your digital footprint help and, if so, how would you approach it? I’d love to hear some other stories on embracing JOMO – get in touch on Twitter or in the comments.

(Image credit from Disney Pixar’s Inside Out)