Seven days. No social media. No excuses.
Let’s start with you — if you’re here there’s a chance you’re considering the removal of social media from your life.
First: Good choice.
Second: Start with a plan.
I’ve been spending (i.e. wasting) hours of time in the previous months on one social media platform or the next. Three weeks ago, I took a leap and deleted Twitter from my phone entirely. Two weeks ago I realized how much happier I was.
That’s when I decided to make a (small) change for (only) seven days. Here’s how I did it and what happened in the days that came after:
How to Remove Social Media from Your Life
I knew if I just started the week with an, “I’ll just stay off” mindset, I would inevitably fail.
I highly recommend you go into a social media detox with a plan. Base this plan off of your current usage.
Check out this breakdown of how I went into my detox week:
My Social Media Usage Stats
I wouldn’t call myself a lover of social media. In fact, I genuinely don’t enjoy it all that much. It’s just habitual and a product of working in marketing where it’s part of my job.
Quite honestly, social media makes me anxious. It’s a constant slew of internal conflict.
Should I post this? What will people think?
Can I curse? What about an itty bitty curse?
Before going into my detox week I checked my stats using the iPhone screen time app. From deleting Twitter the week before I was already down 2 hours of screen time.
My average week of phone usage consisted of:
- 6 hours per day on my phone total (mostly Youtube, Facebook, and Reddit — in that order).
- Picked up my phone roughly 90 times a day.
- Roughly 64 notifications a day (mostly email, messages, alarms, and Instagram).
Social Media Changes I Made to Improve My Life
I wanted to eliminate the time I was spending on social media and also limit notifications which drive distractions and increase the number of times I pick up my phone throughout the day.
The overall goal was to be more productive throughout the week and to stay in a happier mental state.
Here’s what I did to accomplish this:
- Twitter was deleted from the phone entirely
- 10 minute limit on Monday and Tuesday (IG, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest) for access to business accounts for work. One minute on all the other days because I couldn’t make it zero. When set it essentially blocks out the app and if clicked it gives you a popup reminding you that your time is out for that app.
- YouTube left available as I use it for music when working. I wasn’t allowed to watch any videos other than music.
I also took a hard look at my notifications and adjusted accordingly:
- I removed notifications for 33 nonessential apps
- I left notifications for 20 essential apps (like bank apps and Gmail)
- I left on emergency alerts and public safety alerts
- Downtime each day was set for 10 pm to 11 pm every day of the week
My Predictions Going Into the Experiment
YouTube and Reddit would by far be the hardest for me to let go of. Followed closely by Pinterest. I like to have background noise and listening to videos on YouTube is my go-to when cleaning the house or doing mundane tasks that don’t require much focus from me.
Instagram and LinkedIn would be the easiest for me to leave behind. I’m not a huge fan of Instagram and LinkedIn generally just bewilders me.
My Social Media Detox Week in Review
Monday — I feel almost free not having to worry about being on social media. I caught myself going to open the Pinterest app in downtime but it’s more of a habit than anything else. Instead of listening to YouTube videos while at work I’ve been listening to music.
Tuesday — I caught myself opening the Facebook app, not even necessarily interested in what I’d find, but rather just absentmindedly heading there when I unlocked my phone. I think it would help to completely delete the apps off my phone, but once again… work is work.
Wednesday — My days are so packed during the week, I didn’t notice how much time I was wasting on social media.
Eliminating social media has helped me get every single thing checked off my to-do list. Now that’s a reason to delete all my social media right there.
Thursday — Seconding Wednesday’s thoughts that no social media helps tremendously during the workweek.
Friday — Working on social posts for next week is difficult without hopping on the platform at all. For Instagram, I created content without checking my profile and for Pinterest, I left the graphics on my computer for use later. Meh, I think I could solve this in the future with a scheduled (and limited) time to be on social media for content creation purposes.
Saturday — I found it difficult to work on mindless tasks around the house without turning on YouTube videos. I have allowed myself to instead move to podcasts on Spotify. Folding the laundry is less boring with a podcast playing.
Sunday — I sort of miss browsing through some self-publishing and writing-related Facebook groups. I don’t necessarily want to scroll through my feed but I’d like to keep my finger on the pulse of the industry by taking a glance through the newest posts. Overall though I feel more on top of things at the end of the week. There’s far less scrambling this week compared to past weeks.
Results from Screen Time
The results are in and not too shabby.
A seven-day social media detox helped me drop my screen time down by 47% with an average of 3 hours and 18 minutes each day.
I’m still spending almost an entire day each week using my phone. But when looking at where the time was spent, the great majority was spent passively listening to YouTube and Spotify.
Last Thoughts and Social Media Detox Side Effects
Completing my social media detox was not only a success but a great decision for my mental wellness and my productivity levels. Once it’s done you realize that it’s not all that difficult to push these platforms out of your life.
I have to face the fact that working in marketing will keep me in contact with social media and certain content can bring value. The real test is putting a filter on social content to eliminate unnecessary fluff and distracting updates.
Hit that unfollow button on people who don’t bring value. Amplify exposure to content that makes you feel good and increases your knowledge. The lesson here is that ultimately social media should add to your life, not detract from it.