My name is Steph, and I’m a social media addict. My mornings start with an hour long perusal of Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram, and lead to a pattern of chronic phone-checking throughout the day. Being out with a flat battery leads me to seek out the closest available power point. Despite the insomnia, short attention span and procrastination, social media makes me feel connected and informed. It’s my lifeline, my comfort and the basis of my social interactions, but it’s the greatest barrier to productivity in my life.
This week I’ll chronicle the ups and downs of my social media ban, and hopefully come out the other side as a more balanced and responsible social media user.
Like an itch I can’t scratch, I’ve wondered what I’m missing out on and have tried to talk myself out of this madness. However, I’ve prevailed. I’ve logged out of all my apps, but I’ve absentmindedly clicked Facebook six times. I’m becoming more present in conversations and have spent a lot more time outside, experiencing nature rather than Instagramming it. I miss seeing what everyone is doing though, and I feel alone, like everybody is on social media. There’s been a few remarks that I won’t be able to last the week. I’ve agreed more than once.
It’s 7pm. I’m trying to ignore my family using Facebook. I’m bored and restless due to more energy and alertness. I’ve read articles about people giving up social media for 30 days, the struggles and how it changed their lives. It’s becoming easier and I don’t have my phone attached to my hand anymore. I’m thinking and acting more productively, and am completing tasks quicker than usual.
The first two mornings I woke up and went to check my phone straight away, but that habit has started to go away. My phone battery doesn’t run out anymore and my data usage has reduced immensely.
What I didn’t expect to feel is this resounding freedom. I don’t feel obligated to be updated on current posts and feel like I have more time and more independence. I have more time in the mornings and am getting to sleep a lot quicker. I am also sleeping deeper and feeling more rested and alert.
What I’ve learnt:
Being heavily reliant on social media, I’ve experienced a major turn-around. I feel less hindered, and have achieved many things like assignments that would’ve taken me much longer.
My Dad, who is a very productive and simplistic man, uses Facebook once or twice a day to check in and then goes about his day with his phone left at home or in another room. He treats social media as a treat not a necessity, and his life isn’t affected by it.
I have chosen to allow myself an hour at the end of the day on social media where I can check in and keep in contact with loved ones, and then have my apps turned off during the day.
In 2008, this was commonplace for me, and I was far more accomplished and social than I am today. So I believe that removing social media as a priority and only using it sparingly improves our lives. Why not give it a try?