Last week I had a daily average screen time on my phone of 8 hours and 6 minutes. Breaking that down, 1 hour and 55 mins on average was spent on social media a day, and 44 minutes were spent on creative apps a day (aka when I check my feed plan for the 100th time because I am do indecisive). You might think 8 hours (and 6 minutes if we are being precise) is a long time to spend on your phone a day. That is a third of my day spent every day on my phone. The worst thing? That is not the highest weekly average… I think during in lockdown it peaked at 10 hours.
But then why am I surprised? If you think about it we all spend a large amount of time on our phones whether we are aware of it or not. And if your work compromises a digital form and is predominately on your phone (hey bloggers out there), then its bound to be even more. But lets really have a look.
I will wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is turn off that dreaded phone alarm. Before dragging myself to actually get out of my little haven of a bed, I am facing a load of notifications on my lock screen. Emails from spammy brands who ‘would love you to join our brand ambassadors, babe’, texts from my boyfriend saying goodnight as I fell asleep before he replied. Or more than often I will get at least 5 Instagram message requests from someone wanting me to join their engagement group (the answer is no btw). I spend at least 15 mins in the morning on my phone scrolling through Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook to check what gossip is on mu local community group… its normally about an Aldi they want to build.
It’s not just in the morning though. We can all openly admit we take out phones when we go to the toilet. Don’t even try and deny that you have a good little scroll when you are on the toilet. It is the ultimate time to have a tik Tok scroll. From toilet habits, to sitting down for lunch. Or on your commute home, or getting home from work to the last minute check before you set your alarm for the next morning. You wake up and then the cycle starts again.
For me, this cycle was heavily geared towards Instagram. I spend a good 3 hours at least on the app a day. For the average Joe this is a HECK of a lot of time. I am a content creator and my full time job is based off my Instagram earnings so can you blame me for having such a high usage tine? But still 3 hours a day adds up. I engage a hell of a lot on Instagram that I sometimes forget to engage with the real world. The life of a blogger eh? I wanted to focus my detox on Instagram. That’s where I feel my guilt lies the most in my digital existence. Don’t get me wrong I love the app, but sometimes putting my notifications on ‘Do Not Disturb’ does nothing and I still have an automatic temptation to go on it.
So a few weeks ago I decided to change that and have a week off Instagram. Technically… speaking a week off. I still posted the odd Instagram story here and there, just to show I still was alive (got to keep up some sort of engagement when it’s my job). However that was it. My hours went down to a bare 10 minutes on the app a day and there was no scrolling or engaging. Here is how it went…
Wednesday/Day 1 – I actually had some sort of withdrawal from it. You know when your reflexes automatically makes you do something like open the app, like a photo. It was a conscious effort not too and I felt a bit like what am I now going to do?
Thursday/Day 2 – I usually wake up early to post on Instagram and engage at the so-called ‘prime time’ but I didn’t need to do that. I had a lazier morning. I got to chill before I got on with some uni work and client work for my business.
Friday/Day 3 – I travelled up to Bath Thursday evening to spend the weekend with my boyfriend. I didn’t have to worry about not being on Instagram and not ‘working’, nor having to get up earlier than him to engage or post. It was really nice to be in the moment and appreciate the break. To some people it will sound pathetic but social media is not just a scroll and a way to connect to friends for me. It is my job. It is like someone working 24/7 and not having a break – so to spend that time not worrying about it was like a holiday.
Saturday/Day 4 – Jack and I went to Bristol for the day, had a good retail therapy day. We ate a lot of good food and came back and have a movie evening. I mean, Instagram who??
Sunday/Day 5 – I travelled home from Bath after spending the morning chilling with Jack before we said goodbye. I was so tired I went to bed as soon as I got home. But I spent the time reading rather than checking Instagram just before I went to sleep.
Monday/Day 6 – Okay, now we have started a new working week. I am back to normality and not gallivanting around with my boyfriend for the weekend I am now starting to miss it a little bit.
Tuesday/Day 7 – Is is Wednesday already so I can post again??
So what have I learnt from the small break that seemed an eternity? The most important part to this whole ‘experiment’ was that I need to take time off every now and then. Jack and I have a long distance relationship going on. We only see each other once every two/three weeks. So when we do see each other, that is the time to take off and just be solely with him. Be present in the moment and maybe post a few little stories here and there. I also found a whole new schedule for timings. I had so much time on my hands and it was really weird. It was like I was almost transfixed into an online schedule so giving myself that lie in on the Thursday morning was BEAUT.
And at the end of the day I didn’t really miss anything. Everything was pretty much the same.
Have you ever had a detox from Instagram? If so how did it feel and what did you learn?
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