The closer and closer I got to 10k followers on instagram, the more and more obsessed I became about constantly checking my phone for a notification. Constantly thinking about ‘what my next picture or post could be’. Constantly considering, “what time of day are more of my followers active?”
YUCK! What the f**k? – Seriously.
I realized I had an unhealthy relationship with social media when I started thinking… that if I didn’t post to snapchat, everyone would wonder if I was ok. Snapchat has the perfect length of time, to capture a quick picture or scene or send a quick video message. And I was using snap chat from the moment I woke up, to the moment I went to bed. Often only to snap a picture of me and my pup cuddling in bed.
When I heard of the app called Moment, which supposedly tracks your phone screen time and app usage, I figured I’d download it and test it for one day to see what my average usage would be.
After 24 hours of having the app. I was absolutely disgusted.
I spent 9 hours that Friday on my phone…. not talking on my phone… not listening to music… But 9 hours including, text messaging, instagram, facebook, youtube, and snapchat being my top 5 most used apps.
For those wondering… if I sleep 7-8 hours a night…… spending 9 hours staring at a phone screen is LITERALLY HALF OF MY DAY.
When did this happen? When did things get THAT BAD?
The Game Plan:
Continue using the Moment app. Monitor a few more days worth of my phone usage, then decide next steps.
After 7 days ( If I remove Sunday June 25 ) the average amount of time staring at my phone screen was at 7.5 hours a day! Even typing this makes me sick.
I became so worried about what people were thinking of me… how many likes I had… looking at so-and-so’s vacation photo album and replying INSTANTLY to every text, facebook message or instagram DM, I was precious time in my own life. I have so many creative ideas. So many dreams I want to accomplish. No wonder I wasn’t getting any of them done.
I decided then and there I needed to make a switch
How I made the change:
- I posted on all my social media accounts that I was going to be absent. Why and how they could find me.
- I DELETED my snapchat… not just the app off my phone, but I deactivated my snap account.
- I deleted all social media apps, off my phones home screen. Facebook, messenger, snapchat etc… were no longer accessible at my finger tips.
- I decided to keep my instagram account, but log out, and only post information in regards to business marketing.
- LASTLY – I turned off ALL phone notifications.. no more instagram or facebook messenger toolbars that slide down after EACH like or comment.
What I learned:
The first week was the hardest. When I took away the things I relied on when I was bored, I had to find alternative ways to occupy my time.
- I developed deeper relationships – Once you limit how often your phone is in your hand, you likely only communicate with those you need to speak to, or with those who reach out to you. Additionally I was able to spend time with people who were physically in my presence, instead of looking down at a screen.
- I focused on myself – With all this ‘extra time’ I was able to really truly reconsider my life and what is important to me. My career, my friends and relationships, my health, my future. This are things I never fully sat down to think about and now I have a much better understanding for my dreams and how to achieve them in the next 5-10 years.
- I picked up other interests – I started reading. ( The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg ) A book I’ve wanted to read for a while – IRONICALLY, the book is about our habits, conscious and non-conscious, how they form our day to day and how to change them to be more successful. I was able to spend more time OUTSIDE, and with my dog. Things I wouldn’t have ‘had the time for’ before.
- My friends were confused – I was overwhelmed with texts from friends saying “Is everything ok? I went to snap you and saw we aren’t friends… did you block me?”
AGAIN – I let it get so bad, that people literally thought THEY did something wrong. Or that I made it such a habit that someone could log on and see my presence, that something must be wrong if I was no where to be found.
- I had NO IDEA what was going on – I missed a lot of key information. I’ve had an event planned for a few weeks now and missed the memo that it was cancelled. People who didn’t have any other way to message me, would have to wait 2-3 days for me to reply on some platforms like facebook messenger ( since I deleted the app from my phone. ) I felt like I had no connect to the outside world. After all most of us, get our news and learn about life events through the internet.
- Social Media is an Addiction – just like drugs or alcohol. I never realized before, but just like I mentioned above… the closer and closer I got to 10,000 instagram followers, the more I wanted to post, the more I wanted to post a BETTER picture than I did before. I paid attention to when my followers were more active etc.
When I was on a bus or waiting in line, I just had the urge to open IG, start scrolling and start ‘double tapping’ friends pictures. While on this cleanse, this reminded me of an addiction and all I could think about was when I would get my next fix.
So What Now?
The combination of reading The Power of Habit, as well as using the Moment App at the same time as really really changed things for me.
During the second week of tracking my phone usage, I decided to make subtle changes as the paid portion of the app suggests.
- Don’t Sleep in the same room as your phone
- Delete / Remove unnecessary apps from your home screen
- CALL don’t text people today…
Moment App also allows me to set my own notifications such as an alert everytime I add another 15 minutes of screen time to my day. Or to force me OFF my phone once I am close to or have surpassed my designed screen time.
The Power of Habit suggests removing initial cues. Like turning my phone on silent at work, as not to create that urge or need to check if I have messages.
The past week (week 2) hasn’t been easy. But as you can see I’ve greatly decreased my screen time to an average of 3 hours or less each day this week.
The take away here is to step back. Reevaluate your situation and your life.
Are you accomplishing the things you want to?
How are your personal relationships?
Are you succeeding in other areas of your life, like work?
I wasn’t happy with many of these things. However I am making the change one day at a time.
I know this was a longer post than usual, but I definitely wanted to blog my thoughts and experience here. I feel in this age, we are sooo sucked into our technology. It’s important to step back and reassess ourselves.
As always, thanks for reading!
I look forward to writing more about my personal life and not just nutrition and health. So it that interests you, comment and let me know below!