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I Quit Social Media for 2 Weeks – Here’s what Happened

Things didn’t change overnight, but they did, eventually. Last month I subjected myself on a 2-week social-media detox in which I removed apps on my phone, didn’t open them even on my computer, and left chat groups. The reason, as narrated in a separate article, had something to do with the fact that I was wasting my time doing things that have low value, thus affecting my creative process. I needed a reboot; it was a long time coming. One day, I quit social media cold turkey. So what happened after my 2-week social media detox?


I stopped wasting time spent on chatting

Apparently, I had no better use of my time because in chat groups I am the most active member. Before, I would constantly check my Facebook messenger and if it’s quiet, I’m going to initiate a conversation. I never run out of things to say; the opposite of how I am in person where more often than not, I just listen instead of expend all my energy doing all the talking. When I refrained from using Facebook, my virtual social life stopped consequently. It freed up my time, opening my eyes to the fact that I spend more hours than what’s necessary just talking with people on the other side of the screen.  

I got back to reading books

I used to be the girl who always had a book in hand. I was a bookworm; I could finish a book in one sitting and I could surpass the reading goal that I set for myself on Goodreads. It gradually changed over the years as I become powerless to resist the lure of social media. Instead of finishing a book, I would be on Facebook or Instagram liking photos and posts, watching videos, and conversing with people. My Currently Reading list on Goodreads was not updated for a very long time. I lost interest in purchasing new books, and the actual books that I own have collected dust.

During my detox one of the first things that I did was to pick up a book. Now that I eliminated the biggest distraction, I suddenly had free time. But the drive to finish a book wasn’t there instantly; I had to build up the momentum. I started by reading during my break-time at work and just before I go to sleep. Now, I read a book every chance I get. I finished the books that I stopped reading halfway before, and I downloaded new ebooks on my phone. Not only did I get that sweet sense of accomplishment from completing something, I also get to learn. Win win!

I finished the backlog on my blog

All of a sudden, I was able to deal with the backlog in my blog. I penned the pending stories, edited, and published them here. The only thing that I wasn’t able to do in this process is the social media promotion. Nevertheless, I felt accomplished and satisfied. By consistently producing new contents, the stat of my blog significantly increased. For quite some time I couldn’t get past 30,000 views, but during this period, the views shoot to over 60,000.

I continued writing a story

Last year, I was commissioned to write a story for a mobile game, a project that I couldn’t commit to 100%. Admittedly, this task was the most daunting and difficult to get back to so for days, I dilly-dallied on it, almost afraid to get it started. It doesn’t help that I have already forgotten some details in the story.

After a few days, I muted the monkey inside my head and just did it. First, I reread the previous chapters to refresh my memory. Next, I created a tracker of all characters and listed down their physical attributes and characteristics. Then I updated the layout and format of all the documents, even went as far as putting a graphic on the first page for aesthetic purposes. All these efforts have eventually paid off because it put me in the zone and motivated me to write again.   

It’s not easy writing a genre (in this case, dystopian fiction) in which I am not an expert of and I’d be lying if I say I didn’t think about quitting. Fortunately, my will to finish this is stronger than the urge to quit. It helps that I always remind myself that great is not supposed to be easy. [Read: 2017: The Year We Should Stop Asking for Easy]

I’m able to focus with work

Our company is lax on accessing non-work related sites, which does not help my already distracted mind. I had many moments when I would be on social media instead of getting my work done. Looking back, I think it’s one of the reasons I delivered half-baked jobs, thus triggering criticisms from my boss.    

During the break, I succeeded in breaking this unhealthy habit allowing me to get things done fast and efficiently. Hours passed by without me knowing it and this time it’s because I was truly busy with work. The effort has paid off, if the positive feedback of my boss and peers are any indication.

Takeaways

I have always been a restless person; easily distracted, quickly bored. It’s one of the reasons I find social media so appealing because it offers endless options to cure my boredom. It’s good in a way that I have become social media savvy, which is almost a requirement in blogging. But as they say, anything done in excess is bad for you and this dependence is no exception. My self-imposed “rehabilitation” made me realize a lot of things.

  • I waste so much of my time: On chatting alone, I spare a big chunk of my time, which I could have spent being productive.
  • I mistook acquaintanceship for friendship: I’ve been quite sociable in the last few years that blurred the line between friends and acquaintances; in 2 weeks time I remembered the difference between the two. In my self-exile I only communicated with people who truly matter to me and I was okay with it. I stopped feeling like I needed to be present in the lives of my friends constantly. 
  • I can do it: I thought that there is no way I could neglect my social media accounts because I’m a blogger; guess I was wrong. 

The Aftermath

2 weeks is a short time but it was enough to jump start my goal to redirect my priorities. Today, I can better manage my day; I only give a certain amount of time for social media and I do not neglect my responsibilities. At work, I make sure that I finish my job first before anything else. Taking away my biggest distraction allowed me to accomplish things. 

It also helped me see what truly matters. That, for me, is the biggest reward of this endeavor.

How about you? Have you tried pulling the social media plug?  

 

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Laura
    June 2, 2017 at 9:16 AM

    I do this ‘social media detox’ once in a while, and it’s very confusing sometimes. People are angry with me occasionally because I don’t answer their messages or they think I’m mad at them because I’m not liking their pictures anymore .. Very weird, I can assure you. But on the other hand, it’s SO relieving not to be ‘active’ every minute of the day ..

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    May 20, 2017 at 4:17 AM

    Ah! what marvelous ways, just like the old days when people were not into these social medias etc. but more into indoor and outdoor activities to live a joyful life. I think I too need to get into the digital detox mode once in a while. Sounds rejuvenating.

  • Reply
    Ami
    May 20, 2017 at 12:44 AM

    Right now you are voicing my opinion of it. Every once in a while, the detox is required for you to get back to ground reality. Social media just eats up a lot of time and on stuff which is not required. I also, feel that sometimes it gives you a very negative feel of things. Every once in a while we should all do what you did. Thanks for the inspiration !

  • Reply
    neha
    May 14, 2017 at 5:48 AM

    I can totally relate to it. Although I write about my travel, I am able to enjoy my travel the most when I cut off from social media during my holidays. I can see how a break from social media can give us a lot of time to finish off other important works

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      May 18, 2017 at 6:56 PM

      So very true, social media is such a major distraction and hard habit to break. But once you lay off the gadgets, you can actually get things done faster.

  • Reply
    Vishal Bihani
    May 3, 2017 at 2:53 PM

    So True. Now we are so much attached to social media that even we have forgotten to interact with our loved ones.

  • Reply
    Suruchi
    May 1, 2017 at 7:22 AM

    A good post which gave me a reminder too; to check my priorities. Even I had been spending a lot of day on social media and had realy given up few of my habits for it. Thanks for sharing this at the right time.

  • Reply
    Reshma Narasing
    April 30, 2017 at 8:12 AM

    Being a blogger, I can totally understand and relate to what you have told here. I have been wanting to try this for a while, but this thought actually panics me, and I get worried. Maybe I should try this sometime.

  • Reply
    sophie
    April 24, 2017 at 6:26 AM

    This is a great thing to initiate! I would love to perform the same act for like 4 months and focus on the work and I am sure as it helped you, the same way it will help me with my productivity,too! Thanks for sharing! Cheers! 🙂

  • Reply
    Michael Soriano
    April 23, 2017 at 1:27 PM

    I think I also need a social media detox. Haaaay… I’m guilty, I have been eaten by the Internet World… Thank you for this post Marge. It made me realize a lot of things.. 🙂

  • Reply
    Justin Vawter
    April 23, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    Same here. I’ve been trying to get out of social media but since it’s already part of my bread and butter, I’m just limiting my time on Facebook. If there’s work to do, I make sure that Facebook is not open and it really helps me in focusing on my tasks.

  • Reply
    Danica
    April 20, 2017 at 3:44 PM

    Wow. That’s really a great achievement. Social media is really hard to resist but you did it! And for 2 weeks? SALUTE. Recently, I’ve been trying to tone down social media as well and you’re right, it makes us really more productive. Great read! I’m inspired to try this at least once this year. Totally disconnect from the connected world.

  • Reply
    Arni
    April 16, 2017 at 1:09 AM

    I’m so happy for you and so proud of you. It’s not an easy task. I remember my withdrawals during the first few days 🙂 Reading your post, I’m going for a social media detox again. The other day I was watching a table of tourists at a restaurant. It was a group of friends and they weren’t talking to each other. They were all preoccupied with their phones. The present moment was stolen from them and the chance to create an even better memory of their travel by enjoying each others’ company at that given time.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 18, 2017 at 3:18 PM

      Thanks Arni! I have friends who are just like the people you mention that sometimes, I don’t want to be with them anymore. It’s only a waste of time.

  • Reply
    cathy
    April 15, 2017 at 11:36 PM

    That’s amazing that you can finish a book in one sitting. Like wow! Certified bookworm! haha. But it’s good tho, to detach ourselves on social media. Nowadays, social media has a big impact on our lives. I wish I could do the same thing, but I would miss chatting with my friends. I wondered if they’d ever miss me too? haha Anyways, congrats to you Marge. That was a great achievement! Xx

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 18, 2017 at 3:18 PM

      Thanks Cathy!

  • Reply
    Gareth
    April 15, 2017 at 4:49 AM

    I really do envy your discipline! I must say, I am getting really frustrated with social media and I can’t remember the last time I saw anything worthwhile on it. But seeing as I am trying to grow my blog, it seems there really isn’t any other option. Nevertheless, a really interesting read

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 18, 2017 at 3:20 PM

      Hey Gareth! You can do it when you’re ready and when you get to the point that it’s necessary.

  • Reply
    Mikee Pascual
    April 14, 2017 at 11:49 PM

    We cannot deny how most people in today’s time and age swear by the world of social media. It eats us out alive, decreases our productivity, and disconnects us from the real world, among others. With this, I can say that your 2-week social media detox was a great start! It may require adjustment, but I’m happy to know how fruitful you have become again after your break! I wish I could also pull this off. Congrats and keep the fire burning. 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 18, 2017 at 3:19 PM

      Thanks Mikee!

  • Reply
    CARMEN
    April 14, 2017 at 5:18 PM

    This is a good reminder for all of us. I think I have to try this too to reassess myself and reevaluate my priorities. I am proud of you for doing this

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 18, 2017 at 3:19 PM

      Give it a spin Carmen.

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