I logged off Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter for a month — and it changed everything.
I quit social media for a month. So I quit Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. I just needed a break. It was time to cut myself off.
I stopped using social media this morning, and my brain is going crazy. I just realized how often I glance down just to see if I have a notification. When I wake up in the morning, on the way to work, on the train, walking from the train to work, sometimes at work — sorry — when I get home from work. It's constant.
I watched a TED Talk by Cal Newport and he said going on social media is like going to the casino. You're anticipating getting likes and you come out of it. You go back in thinking, “I’ll get the reward next time. I’ll get the reward next time. I’ll get the reward next time.” And you just sit around waiting for a notification to come around so you can go back.
I think I'm probably not the only person in my generation who feels this way. I have friends who use Facebook to promote their music shows and send invites for birthday parties. It's a very big part of my social life, and that might be something I'm missing.
I'm hoping with this social-media fast that my brain will kind of recalibrate itself — go back to my life pre-social media. I hope to become more focused, more productive, for my brain to be a little less scattered and all over the place. I really hope I inspire other people to do this because as an avid social-media user. I'd like to prove that we don't need it.
Here’s how it went.
The first day of my social-media cleanse was a Friday, so I was at work and I wasn't — shouldn't — have been on my phone anyway. I woke up on Saturday to go to brunch with my friend. She was an hour late and I had nothing to distract myself. Day two, my solution for being social media-free was “Let's text every person I know because I'm so bored.” And then once I got back to work it got a little easier. Coworkers were trying to get me to watch videos on Twitter. Within the first week, I was cured of my addictive thumb swiping and checking my phone.
I wake up feeling way more rested. I spend nine hours a day staring at a screen at my job, and cutting down on screen time outside of the office has changed my world. I don't have as many headaches; I don't feel tired all the time. It just makes so much sense. As the experiment went on, I started to feel like there were extra hours in the day, like I was given this gift of reading time and cooking time and exercise time. I realized that once I'm tired, I just surrender. I just go to bed. It’s, like, whatever. I don't need to sit there and be, like, Must stay awake. Must consume content. It’s, like, No! Just go to bed, you freak!
This experiment has revolutionized my productivity at work. If you had checked in with me before this experiment I would have 30 tabs open doing random research and tweeting and checking Slack. I was a productivity nightmare.
My well-being has improved tenfold. My mind has never been so clear. I feel like I'm learning how to properly communicate in a world without social media. I’ve been given more time with my thoughts.
I know a lot of people who will mind-numbingly scroll instead of just sitting with their thoughts and dealing with their emotions and all the things that have happened in their day and their week and their month.
We’ve got to focus on ourselves for a little bit and not every random stranger you’re friends with on Facebook.
I learned that FOMO isn't real if you don't know what you're missing out on. If there was a party that I missed, I don't know about it so I don't care! I'm not seeing people's Instagrams from it and I'm not seeing Snapchat videos and I'm not feeling like I missed out on anything because I'm not seeing it.
I would urge you to delete one social-media app from your phone. See if you miss it. See if it changes your life. See if you notice how much time you had been spending on that app.
I was really scared of quitting social media at first. I thought I would miss out on a ton of things. It actually turned out to be the best choice I’ve ever made and I really encourage you to do the same.