It’s been one month since I uninstalled Instagram and Twitter, and deactivated Facebook. I also followed the ‘distraction free iPhone’ guide to taking emails off my phone and restricting Safari. Those last two though... *cue wringing of hands and nervously sweating*
I felt free! And then I began to feel like I had some kind of obsessive compulsive phone-grabbing disorder.
I just kept grabbing my phone.
All the bloody time.
For no reason.
Looking at my phone had become such a habit, that now when I did it, it took a while for my brain to remember that there was nothing exciting there anymore. It was very similar to that feeling of “what did I come upstairs for again?” Autopilot.
It took about 10 days to stop the involuntary phone-checking. Things I got addicted to in the interim; browsing the App Store, looking through old photos, seeing nice things and thinking 'Ah. I would've posted that on my Stories'. The Mailchimp newsletter reports were suddenly fascinating and I couldn't stop refreshing them to see if anything had changed. I pounced on emails. HOORAY AN EMAIL FROM AMAZON. Desperate times, guys.
A month of no social media?
I was quite worried that I would see no friends, get no new work, and that everyone would have a massive party without me.
However, once the initial withdrawal had passed...
Everything stayed the same. I just felt like I'd switched off the radio. No more background noise. A lot more free time and space to think and come up with ideas.
Work emails still came in, I still made a million procrastination cups of tea, the only new thing was the silence and these big, loooong days stretching out in front of me.
My main goals when I started this were to
reset my social media habits,
reconnect with real life, and
get more work done.
BOOM. 3 out of 3, baby!
In conclusion, this experiment made me realise the importance of my website, and more real-life things like my email newsletter, and, y’know, the human I live with and the people I see on the street every day.
Internet and Social Media Boundaries #adulting
Now that I feel relatively peaceful around my phone and have stopped picking it up every 15 seconds, I'd like to gently reintroduce some social media. Right now I'm working on Lizzie Finnigan's 2nd book, Umbrella Bella, and I want to wait until that's all done before I worry about How to Use the Internet Healthily.
I'm realising the value of taking an internet break during a big deadline.
My top tips for a social media break
Use an old alarm clock to wake up and keep screens out of the bedroom.
Think about what apps you *really* need. Try getting rid of the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram AS WELL AS Safari and Emails for 24 hours and see how you feel.
It's very relaxing once you stop hyperventilating.
You can deactivate Facebook but keep messenger, therefore eliminating the excuse of "how will people get in touch with me!?"
Leave a little note to let people know where you've gone if you aren't totally deleting accounts.
Ok. Enough of this waffling. Thank you for reading, if you read this far.
In the meantime, here’s a drawing from my iPad sketchbook this month. Wishing you all a productive and peaceful relationship with your handheld cellular modular interactivodular.