The thought of being productive consistently throughout a day is attractive. But to actually execute is quite difficult — at least for me — especially with all the distractions we have access to these days. I was talking with one of my good friends the other day and he was telling me about how he had completely done away with social media. Now, he never was a big user of any of the social media outlets, so getting rid of them wasn’t a big deal. For someone like me, who uses it pretty regularly like many of me peers, going cold turkey presented a challenge.
Social media is addictive. It’s become so pervasive that it’s second nature. I don’t even think about it when I pull out my phone and tap the app open. With each flick of the thumb and article of content your brain intakes, it releases a spurt of dopamine. Thus, it’s the ultimate source of instant gratification and is certainly an easy, cheap form of entertainment. But think about it, people spend a good chunk of their day on somebody else’s time, continuously refreshing the page looking for the next dose of their mobile drug. What would your day look like if you weren’t so tempted to be on social media? What would you fill that void with? I valued the advice that my friend gave, so I decided to try it.
I deleted Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, and Facebook from my phone (though I retained the accounts, I merely excised the app from my phone). It is honestly one of the better things I’ve done for myself from a production standpoint.
Because I didn’t have access to social media anymore, in order to avoid dying of boredom, I was forced to find other avenues of entertainment. It’s amazing the different ways you will stay active when you aren’t mindlessly scrolling through Twitter. I found myself finishing a book I had previously taken months just to get a few pages into. I took my dog for a hike and worked on my photography. Those are activities that improved the quality of my life; that I wasn’t taking advantage of previously because I was always distracted with getting my fix of social media. I was now forced to get creative with my time and as a result, my time outside of my full-time job was spent improving who I am as an individual.
Let me be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking time to unwind after a long day, sitting on the couch and watching your favorite show. Leisure time is invaluable and a necessity. But there’s a fine line between leisure activities to unwind, and living on Instagram. What you will come to realize is that the productivity you gain from getting off of social media is different than work. You find ways to fill your leisure time with more productive activities because you can’t fall back on cheap entertainment. Sunday through Friday, social media does not exist on my phone and it has done wonders for me. I probably wouldn’t be writing this article if I had not taken this step. You will not be disappointed.
Here are some things I saw instead of a news feed: