I know I speak for everybody when I say that social media is one of the purest forms of addiction. Taking myself as an example, to elaborate on that, I spent an average of 3 to 4 hours daily on Youtube, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit on weekdays. I averaged about 5 to 6 hours on the weekends. Totally, I spent close to 30 hours every single week looking at my phone. That is more than a day in the week spent looking at my phone. And I never really paid any attention to it. As a part of my experiment on the effects of “seeking discomfort”, I really wanted to come out of my comfort zone of constantly being on social media. So I took up a challenge and deleted all the social media apps on my phone. Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and Youtube – all deleted. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever taken in my life.
To give a background on the level of addiction I was at, I’ve been addicted to Youtube from the past 4 years now. By addiction I mean that if you considered any time frame in those 4 years, I would have been following a minimum of about 10 to 15 youtubers every single day. Let us consider the situation a few months back. I was constantly following Pewdiepie, KSI and the sidemen and too many British youtubers to name. Most of these youtubers upload daily and each of their videos are at least 10 minutes long (Big up youtube algorithm). So that’s about 10 to 15 youtubers releasing 10 minutes worth of video every single day. That’s close to 2 and a half hours every single day. And I had to watch them all. Why? Because I had to be relevant and updated, duh. Now apart from this, there’s Instagram and Twitter. Of course that’s a necessity too. How else will I know what’s happening in the world? How else will I know which drink the friend I met 2 years back drank last weekend? And Reddit. Where else would I get my daily dose of memes from? 9gag? This was my situation.
The first 3 days without social media were interesting, to say the least. I realized how much I actually was addicted to it and how much time I had on my hand. In the first 3 days, every time I unlocked my phone, my muscle memory involuntarily navigated to where my Instagram would have been only to find out that there’s nothing there. I could sense the disappointment through my fingers. But as days rolled out, the hunger to know what’s happening in the digital world subsided. It didn’t matter any more. Sure, I did not get as much information as I did previously. But then again, do I really need that much of information every single day? Then I began to do something out of the 3 hours that I had every day. I read books, focused on my goals, converted that time into productivity.
I completed the one month challenge 3 weeks ago. One entire month without any of the apps I mentioned previously. I’m almost 2 months into the challenge and I have not felt the need to use social media like I used to before. Of course I’m not going to be a complete recluse, but I think I can confidently say that I’m never going back to the way I used social media previously. And I’m definitely not going to spend more than an hour on it daily.
Now, I’m passing this challenge onto you. First of all, calculate how much time you’re actually spending on your phone. Then delete 3 of the apps that you spend most of your time on. Maybe a month is too long. But try living without your 3 most used apps and social media platforms for a week. Instead, spend that time doing something that’s going to help you achieve your goal. There’s nothing to lose, everything to gain.