Having listened to podcasts and read articles, where the benefits of taking a 30 day social media detox were extolled, I decided to do my own. I’m not that visible on social media to be honest as I only have accounts on Twitter, however I do often find myself getting lost on You Tube as I go from one clip to the next ad can find myself 1 hour or so later still hunched over my phone. As I’m travelling, my concern was that instead of talking to people and spending as much time as I could out and about, I was in fact losing precious time to Twitter and You Tube. After 15 days I have adapted the challenge and here’s why!
Pick an easier day to start: As I was travelling overnight from Paris to Venice on the 27th March, I decided to start that day as I thought it would be easier to not miss picking up my phone. I purposely didn’t connect to Wi-Fi on the bus which went well. On arriving in Venice, I knew there was certainly enough to keep me entertained outside of Twitter and You Tube.
Maintain any professional/ business accounts: My travel/business account, 40countriesinmy40s@40countriesinm1 still needed to be updated, however I didn’t touch my personal account.
Delete the apps from your phone (if applicable/necessary): The Twitter and You Tube apps remained on my phone throughout as it was more important for me to deal with the temptation rather than take it away. That was my challenge, however if it will help you more then delete the apps from your phone altogether.
Here are some of the benefits I discovered:
Being able to avoid dates/ news: As my mum passed away 14 years ago and my nan 9 years ago, Mothers Day is always something I prefer to avoid so the sense of loss doesn’t overpower me. As I also don’t have children, it’s not a good day and I especially dislike all the adverts aimed towards celebrating Mothers from organisations who have clearly ignored that not everyone can celebrate this day. Being off social media allowed me to avoid the last few days lead up as well as the day itself so I think next year I will do another detox in the month before Mothers Day. Another bonus was being to avoid Brexit tweets as I found them increasing both in intensity as well as frequency in the lead up to the proposed date. I like to keep up with news, however I’m not a fan of insulting, aggressive language or swearing coming through my screen.
Not reaching for my phone: I found that I was reaching less for my phone apart from when taking photos. I read more in the evenings which was beneficial as it meant I could leave more books behind and not have to carry them. This meant that I was also reaching less for my laptop too so I was having days without using screens which offers many more benefits.
Paying more attention to where my focus was versus where I want it to be: On a positive note, I realised that a lot of the You Tube clips I normally watch and subscribe to are mostly linked to personal/ professional development and are educational. Some of the clips I missed watching I was able to listen to their podcast versions on iTunes so now I’m debating with myself whether I learn more from the audio podcast or the visual You Tube clip.
Sleeping better: As I was reaching less for the phone, I found that I could settle down quicker in the evenings and slept better as I wasn’t tempted to look at the phone if I woke up in the night.
After 15 days, I stopped the challenge:
Whilst in Split, I stopped my detox after 2 weeks. Firstly because I needed to reply to tweets about my post on Last night a man opened my hotel door so people knew I was OK. During the 2 weeks, I was also thinking about how I’ve used twitter for my business account and I realised that there were learnings I could take into my personal usage.
For the next 2 weeks I’m putting my learnings into practice to see how that works for both Twitter and You Tube and see how that impacts my usage after the full 30 days. Rather than rushing into changes and a new plan of reduced use and then feeling bad if it doesn’t happen, I’d rather experiment and see what fits my needs. As I’m travelling within Croatia with longer stops in places, it should be easier to maintain a routine. I also have work to do so i know I’ll be focussed elsewhere.
As I have read most of the physical books and the Psychologies magazine I brought with me, now I have to rely on Kindle to provide me with reading material which means more tablet time! As I’ve given myself time off the screens completely both as part of the social media detox and since stopping it which as been great, I know that going forward I want to maintain days when I don’t touch my devices at all.
How about you, have you tried a Social Media detox or do you want to? What have been your experiences? Why do you feel you need to try a detox? Let us know by contacting us below: