How does it feel to spend less time on social media? My experiences pt 1#unplug

A screenshot from a smartphone, showing a window asking if the Facebook app should really be deleted

On a recent Monday evening, I pulled the plug. I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. As uneventful as that may sound, it has been a drastic decision for me. I have never measured how much time I spend on Facebook, but I am sure it must have been quite some hours in a week.

Getting dragged into the never-ending rabbit hole of the auto-scrolling Facebook feed for more time than I wanted was one part of the problem. What was even more of a problem for me was that I kept reading postings that aggravated me and caused me to think about smart rebuttals, resulting in long, imaginary conversations that kept my mind working for hours. I hardly ever really replied to anyone, of course, knowing that discussions with others online seldomly where fruitful.

You can read about why I pulled the plug in my first post about this topic: https://www.mizzi.at/reduce-social-media-consumption-in-september-unplug/

So, a few days have gone by since Monday – how did my “strategy” work out for me?

I haven’t logged into Facebook ONCE since Monday. I never felt the urge to do it, although I had a brief moment of wanting to check out one of the camping groups I am in to find some info about travelling to the Bretagne.

I have checked Instagram sometimes, although way less than I used to. Somehow it currently feels uninteresting to me to scroll through endless streams of pictures. My Instagram follow-list has grown so much that I sometimes see more stuff from people I don’t really know than from the ones I care about. Today, I opened Instagram and was instantly triggered by a posting about organic veggies by somebody I don’t even know in person… I closed the app and haven’t opened it again since.

The first noticable effects my reduced social media consumption has on me are:

  • better sleep. I guess the first reason is this: less imaginary discussions mean less time that my brain is rattling on when I actually would prefer to sleep. The second reason could be that I was more conciously spending my evening, watching a movie or a show and not browsing social media at the same time. Due to this, I noticed when I was getting tired and went to bed a bit earlier.
  • more time for other things. It sounds cheesy, but I really managed to do more “real” stuff instead of scrolling around on my phone, without it feeling like a burden or being exhausting. I’m not forcing myself to do more “real” stuff, I just want to do it. For example, I went on multiple walks, I completed a book, I made my own chocolate, I tried my hand at making granola bars and I completed some chores in the garden and house.
  • more creativity and motivation. I wrote a few postings on this blog already again (which I have been wanting to do for ages!) and I often have ideas for new posts or other stuff I want to try/make. That’s how I came up with the wish to make chocolate and granola bars.
  • feeling better. I am proud of myself that I have gone a few days with less mindless social media consumption.

Sounds pretty good so far, eh? Even a bit too good to be true ;)
I am looking forward to seeing how this journey unfolds for me. At the moment, a variety of different developments is imaginable to me.

Focus already!

During my current quest to reduce my social media consumption, I have noticed a general urge in myself to improve my focus skills. I feel like I am easily distracted and I want to change that.

To help myself to stay on track, I have started using the Pomodoro technique (again). Basically, the Pomodoro technique helps you to focus on getting one task done, concentrating on it for 25 minutes. After that period, you can take a short break of 5 minutes. When you have completed four cycles, you get to take a longer break.
Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the Pomodoro technique: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique

I am using an extension for Google Chrome called „Block & Focus“, which helps me to stay on track.

Sometimes I also manage to turn off all notifications for a period of time, but sometimes I am also too weak for that ;)

So far, I feel that using this technique is helpful for me. I find it hard to grant myself the right to take a break, although breaks are needed to stay mentally fresh. The breaks are what make a work process sustainable after all! Still I feel guilty from time to time for taking breaks.

I have extended the focus timespan to 60 minutes today, because 25 minutes seem just a bit too short for the tasks I need to complete. Maybe I will go down to 45 minutes of focus, so I don‘t overlook my need for breaks.

I will try to incorporate the Pomodoro technique as often as possible!

Reduce social media consumption in September #unplug

A female hiker sitting on a bench on a summit, overlooking a valley filled with green trees and meadows

During the last weeks, I have felt more and more uncomfortable and unhappy with my social media consumption. Multiple times I was aggravated after reading articles and comments on social media. My biggest issue is with Facebook. I am aware that there is a strategy behind which postings get washed into my feed. The more it triggers me, the more likely I am to interact with it, the longer I will stay online on Facebook.

Fear of missing out, hate-reading, looking for validation are some of the factors that make us open up that social media app time and time again. Stuff like comparing ones life with the seemingly perfect lives of others makes us feel bad about ourselves.

I don’t want to sound like I think I am a zen guru now, I am not claiming I will never open up Facebook again, in fact, I still want to keep running the Mizzi Facebook page (however I am going to handle that) and sometimes check my feed, but I wish to reduce the time that I spend on social networks.

I have already attempted that once, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone which somehow was a scary experience, telling myself that I could always just sign in via the website if I needed to. My experiment went well for some time, until I got annoyed by all the detours I had to take. I even reinstalled the Facebook messenger because Facebook made it harder to respond to messages without the app.

We will see how my experiment goes this time. I deleted the Facebook app yesterday, I kept the messenger because I hardly get messages there and it’s not dragging me back into the rabbit hole of social media anyway.
I will not delete Instagram or any of the messengers I use, because I feel like those apps are not having a big negative effect on my life. I do of course compare myself with others, but I am aware that most pictures on Instagram are not “real”. I, myself, also use a good angle when taking pictures, I try to cut out disturbing elements, I play around with filters… I think that’s fine, as long as I am aware that Instagram is an app for posting “nice pictures” and not authentic, real life stills.

I have turned on the screen time statistics on my phone to collect a bit of info, I am curious to see how often I pick up the phone… I guess I should have started that before I deleted the Facebook app, but oh well ;)

Do you have any issues with your social media usage? Have you tried to reduce your social media consumption or your screen time? Do you have any recommendations for me? Please feel free to write a comment or e-mail me!