Do you spend too much time on social media, scrolling endlessly through your feeds searching for the meaning of life? Are your friends always telling you to put your phone down and get back to the real world? Are you finding yourself stressed out for no reason? If so, you might need a social media detox.
How to Do a Social Media Detox | Social Media Detox Guide
Call me totally weird, but I’m in my twenties, I’m a millennial, and I have almost all the notifications on my phone turned off.
I don’t know when someone likes my photo on Instagram. I have no idea which of my friends are getting married or having babies on Facebook (I actually have my whole Facebook newsfeed blocked with the free Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator). I don’t get a ping or a beep or a bloop sound every time something happens in the online world.
And I’m so much happier and less stressed out for it.
Ok, so I still get notified when I get a text or an email, but other than that, pretty much all the notifications are turned off. I choose when I want to go into certain apps or websites and then they tell me what’s new and what has happened since I last checked in. But it’s when I want to get updates instead of in the middle of working or trying to be productive.
We’re a leeeeettttle bit addicted to our phones as a whole, but turning off the constant notifications makes you more productive and less stressed. Why? Because you’re not interrupted constantly when you’re trying to talk to someone or be somewhere or live in the moment. Not getting the little beeps and boops helps you stay present and focus on the moment in front of you and the people in front of you.
Also, I don’t know about you, but whenever I get a beep on my phone I know I must check it right this second! So I drop absolutely everything and check the notification on my phone and it’s usually not even important. But at that point, you’re already distracted and may end up getting sucked into the social media vortex and comparing yourself to people online and generally starting to feel pretty bad.
So instead, all you have to do is go into the notification settings on your phone and turn off everything except the really important stuff like direct communication – text messages, emails, Facebook messages, etc. But all the “likes” and new followers and things on social media can definitely be turned off.
I’d recommend starting by turning off all the notifications you know you won’t miss, and then turn off notifications as they come up. So if you get a notification that on this day in the 1960’s some spacecraft landed (yes, that’s from a star gazing app I have haha), then you can decide at that point that you can actually live without notifications from that app too and go ahead and turn them off.
Do the same thing for any other devices you might have. While you’re at it, go through your email inbox and unsubscribe from any newsletters you don’t read, like lists you got on from buying shoes or whatever (except Resilient’s emails, of course ;)).
After a couple weeks, you’ll notice things are a lot quieter and more peaceful. It seriously makes you so much less anxious just to have your notifications turned off, and a lot happier to not compare yourself to people online.
Try it. 🙂
What Happened When I Turned Off My Facebook Newsfeed for a Week
A few years ago I decided to try an experiment and turn off my Facebook newsfeed using a certain Chrome extension. I wasn’t sure what would happen, but I knew that I was wasting way too much time scrolling through social media searching for the answers to all my problems and not taking enough productive action. Here’s what happened.
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At first, I would go into my workday and still click on the Facebook link on my browser. The Chrome extension, called News Feed Eradicator for Facebook, lets you go to Facebook and see if you have notifications or personal messages, but it replaces your entire newsfeed with an inspirational quote.
I chose to do this rather than getting one of those apps that completely blocks social media for a set amount of time because it’s not that I’m using social media when I shouldn’t (and I didn’t want to block it completely), it’s that I get sucked into the newsfeed and keep scrolling on and on and on and on forever.
It’s also possible to use Facebook for business purposes. I wanted to be able to still network in my business Facebook groups and post updates on my Facebook pages and check how my ads were doing, but I would no longer get sucked into the vortex of other people’s fascinating lives.
The change was immediate. I’ve actually turned off notifications from negative people or pages recently so my current newsfeed is really positive and happy, but for most of my time on Facebook the newsfeed has always been about either comparing yourself to someone else’s perfect life (like seeing how everyone is getting married and having babiez and you’re sitting at home with your cat wearing no pants) or hearing complaints about politics and the murder report and the latest scandal of the Kardashians. Either way, this was not the kind of mental input I wanted in my life.
Disabling the newsfeed made me happier and MUCH more productive, but I was still able to use the other features of Facebook for work purposes. After several clicks over to Facebook, it finally clicked that I didn’t have anything to look at so I started getting more creative ideas and writing more about planning out things for my businesses. Without the distraction of social media, I’m now able to finish all my work in just a few hours a day and I have plenty of time to meditate, think, or just be. And of course, catching up on Game of Thrones on my iPad.
Eventually I turned my newsfeed back on, but if I find that I’m getting too distracted again, I’ll use a browser extension to turn it off (may be different for your own browser). Or if you’d like to completely block out social media, try the Self Control app.
Blocking the most distracting part of Facebook can supercharge your productivity and give you time to do more of what you love and stop wasting away hours stalking other people’s lives. You’ll be glad you did it, and happier for it in general because you won’t suffer from comparison-itis. 🙂
Why My Facebook Newsfeed Is Still Turned Off a Year Later
I previously wrote a post about what happened when I turned off my Facebook newsfeed for a week. Well, I ended up permanently turning my newsfeed off because I loved the freedom and extra time so much.
I use a free Chrome extension called Newsfeed Eradictor because I still go on Facebook from time to time to check for messages or network in groups, it’s just that I don’t want to scroll through the endless time suck that is the newsfeed on the home page of Facebook.
If I really get a hankering to see who’s getting engaged or popping out babies, I can just pull up Facebook on my phone or temporarily turn off the Chrome extension. I prefer this to blocking Facebook or social media completely because I’m not revolting against Facebook or anything (social media is an important part of my business, after all), but I just like the freedom that comes from not scrolling through social media for hours on end.
Another reason I still keep my newsfeed turned off is because it prevents comparisonitis, which is an affliction for both entrepreneurs and everyone else, too. Whenever you’re on Facebook looking at other people’s fabulous vacations and beautifully coordinated weddings, you start to feel pretty awful about yourself and end up comparing your life to theirs and being like, “Yeah, so my life definitely sucks.”
But the fact is, if you didn’t have hundreds or thousands of people in your social media world to compare yourself to, you would start to feel a lot better about your own individual progress and journey rather than comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle, as they say.
It’s great to get inspired by other people or look at inspirational quotes on Instagram or catch up on new business strategies on Pinterest, but the problem with social media is merely when it becomes a constant habit. You’re in line at the coffee shop: you check your Facebook feed. You’re waiting for dinner at a restaurant (while eating with a friend), you scroll through Instagram pictures and ignore your friend.
There is, as a matter of fact, a whole big world out there to explore (online and off) in bettering yourself and the world around you, building your business, and creating your story day by day that doesn’t involve commenting that someone’s eyebrows are on fleek. (And I say this as a 22 year old who would probably be a lot more “cool” if I did do those things ;)).
Events in life still happen even if no one posts a selfie of it. Take pride in knowing that sometimes, the moments you share with friends or family are too sacred to put into a 140 character post.
Some memories are meant just for you.