My 1 Week Social Media Blackout!!! Man, that was great!
Guess who’s back? Back again? Sillis’ back, tell a friend!
Hey ya’ll I decided serendipitously to do a week long social media blackout. It was consuming too much of my life and I read a study saying that the average American spends 2-3 hrs a day on SM and I was like, “oh hell no, no wonder I have no time!” So I ran an experiment on myself and I tell you what, my life this week has been a lot more positive and productive. I am closing in on my test date for the GRE so I will probably be doing this again to enhance my productivity and focus. I have noticed in my everyday life that I lack focus. I have been making concerted efforts to change this including introducing yoga into my life which promotes mind body connectivity and focus through the poses. I have introduced meditation which is yoga for the brain. It is literally like exercising your focus muscle. But through all of this effort I was still lacking. I noticed myself grabbing and cradling my phone like a baby whenever I have 5 seconds of down time. I would find my normal 1 minute visit to the bathroom expand to a 5 minute visit because I was just scrolling away on the throne. And all of this down time I decided to feel with mindless scrolling, began to bled into my focus time, my work time, my study time.
“how many likes”
“Did I respond to everyone”
“Did I post enough”
“What dumbass shit is happening in DC today?”
“Who did Trump piss off today?”
“What did my closeted racist friend post today?”
“Which one of my heroes will go down in flames because they’re despicable sexual harassers?”
This list of pointless questions in my mind to rationalize reaching for that phone goes on and on and I was sick of it. I had to do something and while sitting down last Saturday night I was like “FUCK IT, Im going to challenge myself,” and I deleted all the apps, changed my passwords to obscure things I would never in a million years remember, stashed the passwords away and went on with my days.
Day 1 Sunday (first full day)
I picked up my phone a lot to look for notifications, but not as much as I would on a work day because my weekends tend to be pretty jam packed with cleaning, yoga, studying, and errands. Day 1 hardly impacted me.
Day 2 Monday
Holy crap I got so much done at work, learned and noticed more issues with my instrument I don’t believe I would have been present enough to recognize if I were using social media because it breaks that focus. I learned more and just was an all and all more observant analyst YAY. I grabbed for my phone a lot this day, I definitely noticed the impact on how much I look to my phone to distract me.
Day 3 Tuesday
I am picking up my phone still to look for notifications but quickly remembering I have no apps! So I caught myself supplementing traditional social media. A little amazon.com browsing here, a little sudoku playing there, AND I found and started using my magoosh Vocabulary builder app, YAY! I had more deep and meaningful conversations with co workers at break as well, double YAY! I forgot my phone at home for the first time in AGES!!! That says something right there.
Day 4 Wednesday
Did you know amazon.com has tons of giveaway sweepstakes on their website? You can just enter by watching a 30 sec video or tweeting to them about them or following them. WELLLLLllll So I got caught up and about 30 minutes later realized I was falling into the baby/phone cradling way, I needed my phone in my hand, or least it felt that way so I nipped that in the butt, NO MORE AMAZON! Started making my vocab app the goto and thats helped a lot. I stopped picking my phone up as much. Plus side to Wednesday? I have stopped immediately cycling between all my platforms right when I wake up. Notifications? Who cares? Lets get the day started!!!
Day 5 Thursday
The urge to pick up my phone has decreased substantially, I am making more eye contact with people in my life because I am not constantly distracted, things are good. I haven’t read something awful online that made me sad or my blood boil, I didn’t have to deal with my closeted racist friends that “aren’t racist,” Yeah whatever you need to tell yourself bro. Things are nice.
Day 6 Fri-YAY
I feel like I have gotten to know my coworkers on a deeper level, I have knocked the grasping phone habit by at least 65% and the constant looking at the screen by about 80%. I feel good guys! I feel like I lost a lot of followers lol But my mental health, my focus, and productivity has definitely increased. I have found more me time which is a relief because I am so overwhelmed by the go-go-go momentum I am always finding myself in.
Day 7 Saturday
Practice test numero tres’! I started a ritual today. I have 2 days shy of 3 weeks until my test so I am starting a ritual in order to mitigate the impending anxiety that is sure to come on test day. I suffer from crippling anxiety, but I have had it under control for the most part for a couple years. I could have gone to the doctor and gotten a note to alter my testing rules, like extend the time or what not to take the test in, but I want to be able to do this on my own, so I am trying a ritual to help with the conquering. A lot of my friends and co-workers don’t understand me and just say, “Have a couple beers and take the test, its so easy and not a big deal,” and all I can feel is A) Dumb, I so feel dumb when people tell me this, because its not easy for me and B) These people have probably never suffered from something thats completely out of their hands like anxiety attacks. I can tell my body the world is kosher and its all good, don’t be anxious, but anxiety is like having a mind body disconnect, the body doesn’t listen. SO! I start with waking up about 7-8am and do yoga, followed by meditation, and cooking some eggs, bacon, potatoes, with a side or avocado, cilantro, and an orange fresh off my tree with a side of coffee and I take a nootropic, so this is when I take this too. Then I let the food settle while watching my favorite show at the moment, which is Crazy Ex-girlfriend, btw that show has taken a CRAZY turn, like she’s finally crazy in the show and they are addressing her mental illness. Its amazing and still funny and I love that they don’t shy away from things like mental illness, lets break the stigma, am I right? The comedy helps alleviate my nerves so its great. Then I meditate before the test to try and get my heart rate and blood pressure back down to normal. Anxiety is caused by an over excretion of cortisol, so you are basically stuck in a “fight or flight,” response and this literally blocks your ability to recall things so it’s no bueno when you are about to be tested on a bunch stuff you should have learned throughout your entire college career, which btw ended about 6 years ago for me, EEEeeK haha. BTW this is the third practice test I have taken and the first one I have taken where the week prior I had no SM at all and my score went up 7 points!!! SO this may continue the bulk of the next three weeks.
What I have found overall?
Deeper more meaningful present conversations, moments, and relationships. More focus. I am not looking to distract myself with my phone as I was prior, I am able to carry this into studying and practice tests. More texting. I reached out to more friends via text than before because I had no messaging on Instagram & FB. Less picking up of the phone and less carpel tunnel symptoms which are exacerbated by the constant phone usage. Less anger in my everyday for things that I have nothing to do with like politics, friends and family having, in my opinion, shitty ass views on the world or group of people ect. Less pressure to keep up on SM. Down side, I caught myself supplementing a lot. I told you about amazon.com and sudoku but there is also an upswing on my TV watching. I wasn’t watching but MAYBE 3 hours of TV a week before this challenge and I pretty much blew through an entire 3 seasons of a show during the experiment. BTW guys, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a fucking hilarious show and its my new, happy, laugh, OMFG she did not do that, show. Jump on the band wagon, tell me how you like it! (I’m getting comma crazy sorry I never fully understood the comma (= ).
BUT, all and all, it was a great way to kick off a piece of the first month 2018. I am glad I experienced this because now I know I am not totally addicted to SM and if I need to, I can shut that shit down and the doors of enhanced productivity and focus open.