No Social Media One-Week Challenge: 101 in 1,001 Days Update
I’m glad that’s over.
This past week I challenged myself to avoid my personal social media as part of my 101 in 1,001 days list which ends later this month.
On Sunday evening, I had anxiety over the challenge. I reminded myself that I grew up without social media and could survive a few days without my personal channels. I woke up Monday morning a bit unsure if I would complete the challenge. After all, my 9-5 career is in social media marketing so being on top of the trends and what’s going on is imperative. But a challenge isn’t a challenge unless it’s….challenging.
To eliminate temptation, I deleted Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat off my phone. I still kept Instagram so I could post for my client, but I didn’t check my personal feed at all.
I quickly learned that staying on top of trends and what’s going on in the world isn’t as hard as I thought it’d be without social media. Google definitely came to the rescue a few times!
Here’s what I learned:
Checking my phone was an absent-minded habit. I found myself picking up my phone just because it was next to me. If I had social media apps on my phone, I would’ve opened them without truly thinking or realizing I was doing it.
Finding photos was difficult. There were a few occasions this week when I wanted to reference or find a photo and couldn’t because it was on Facebook. For example, the topic of weddings came up with a few people and I realized that most of my wedding photos are on Facebook or Instagram and not saved directly to my Photos app.
Searching wasn’t as easy. Twitter is usually the first place I go to when there is breaking news or I want to read more about a current event. The Steelers’ QB was injured during Sunday’s game and when I went to learn more about why he’s out for the rest of the regular season, I realized Twitter would’ve been the first app I opened. Instead, I Google’d it and found the details. It wasn’t a hassle, but it did make searching a bit slower.
Here are a few pros:
More time in the morning. Like many, one of the first things I do in the morning is check my phone and social media. Without that temptation this week, I had more productive mornings. I spent time reading or bullet journaling and felt mentally prepared to take on each day. Who knew such a simple change would affect me so positively!
Less FOMO. Without knowing what people are doing you can’t really have FOMO about it. Although there were times I wondered if I was missing anything big or important, I realized I didn’t have a sense of “I need to be doing this” or “I should be doing that.” The expectation to live up to others’ approval or satisfaction was gone.
Better focus on tasks. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been focused on a task and decide to take a “quick break” to check social media. Whether we realize it or not, we grab our phones and scroll Instagram mindlessly and then get back to our tasks. Without the temptation of my social media apps, I realized I was able to focus better on the tasks set before me, whether that was folding laundry or writing an email.
Would I recommend this challenge to someone else? Absolutely.
Would I do this challenge again? Probably not.
However, it was helpful to realize how big of a role social media plays in my everyday life. Not only is it my job, but it’s also an escape from reality, a creative outlet, a way to connect with friends and family, and a form of self expression. I won’t give up social media for good, but learning to take breaks and set boundaries is critical for your mental health and overall wellbeing.
This challenge started out as a “check it off the list” item but ended up being a valuable experience. I can say with confidence that everyone should try it at some point in their lifetime!