If you don't think that social media is taking over your life, you're either in denial or you don't have a smartphone. Let's face the facts, we've all become addicted to being connected online. For most of us, it seems as though social media has been around since the dawn of time, and you'd be right, for us millennials, it was.
I was born in 1993, and I'm of the generation that literally grew up with technology. Remember the good old days when MSN Messenger and MySpace were at the top of the food chain? We were first introduced to MySpace in 2003, and no less than a year later Mark Zuckerberg blessed us with the wonder that was Facebook in February 2004. Facebook changed the way we communicate with each other and how we consume content online. Time after time I've opted to give up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest etc. Time after time, I've failed. That is until I created a formula that works for me.
We try to ignore how social media is affecting our lives, but sometimes we need to stop and take a step back from the online world. It's been well over ten years now since the Internet boomed, it's time for a break! I came up with a step-by-step system to overcome the challenge, and I'm pleased to say that it actually works! I successfully had my 7-day digital detox back in March, and it was one of the best weeks to combat my mental health.
What if you have an online business to run, and you can't afford to take a social media break? Don't worry, that's what scheduling tools are for! If you are concerned about losing your followers, you can schedule posts that will be published automatically for the week ahead of your detox. Not sure what to use? Take a look at some of my favourite scheduling tools!
*These are not affiliate links! All of these apps offer free plans which I use regularly.
MONDAY | THE INBOX DETOX
Do you ever get frustrated having to manage your inbox? We get bombarded with email after email, newsletters, sales, events and enquiries. When that little red notification bar starts to hit over 100, you know it’s time for an inbox detox.
First things first. Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters. I’m a bit of email hoarder myself, and I find this concept difficult to accept at times. It’s almost like the first stages of throwing away your clothes. You convince yourself that you will need that dress for some event in six months time and three years later it’s still hanging in your closet. With that in mind, the emails that you’re repeatedly archiving need to go for good! Click that unsubscribe button with pride, you’ll feel better.
I like to keep educational newsletters for future references such as emails from my favourite bloggers, recipes and fitness tips. I’ve found a way to organise these emails using Gmails handy labelling feature. When a new email comes in, it’s automatically sent to another folder and marked as read. My inbox is then free from clutter, and I can focus on the more important emails from family and clients without becoming too overwhelmed.
Tuesday | push notifications
This one is simple. Turn off those pesky notifications! iPhones have a great feature called 'Do Not Disturb', which enables you to turn off all of your notifications in one tap. I'm not suggesting to do this for the entire day, but give it a good four hours or so! This will guarantee you getting more done in less time with minimal distractions. You could even try this method a few days per week to maximise your productivity!
wednesday | set up a charging station
We all love snuggling up in bed, but you should never have your phone lying next to you when you wake up the next morning. I've been a serial snuggler in the past, yet now I can sleep soundly without feeling the need for that digital attachment. Setting up a charging station away from your bed is the best thing you can do for your sleep pattern. Something as simple as not taking your smartphone to bed is a game-changer. Since setting up a charging station on the other side of my room, I've been getting so much more rest. Don't take your smartphone to bed, set it aside away from where you sleep, avoiding the temptation to check it as soon as you wake up.
thursday | wake up the right way
Research shows that 80% of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning. This becomes an unhealthy habit, and we should look to change our patterns with something that is going to benefit us more.
Think about what your body really needs when you wake up, hydration. Drinking a glass of water in the morning will give you energy for the day ahead and relieve any aches or fatigue. Be sure to do the things that you need to before scrolling through Instagram. Get your breakfast, have a shower and brush your teeth. Don’t be tempted to reach for your device before ticking the essentials off your morning routine!
Friday | leave your phone at home
Like many of us, we rely heavily on our smartphones. We use it to catch up on emails, scroll through social media, check the weather and listen to music on the commute. When we need to get things done, It’s often difficult not to get distracted when the notifications roll in.
Wake up on Friday morning, and leave your smartphone at home. I emphasise smartphone here, as I feel we should have means of contacting family, friends or the emergency services if you need to. I have a cell phone that is able to text and call only, I would highly recommend getting a cheap alternative phone! Not only is it a good idea for taking a break, but as a spare for when you go on vacation! You’ll learn to maximise your mindfulness practice, finding the time to recharge your batteries will pull you back into reality and heighten your senses.
saturday | it's just one day
Saturday is a social media no-no. If you're running a business, don't panic, you can use a scheduling tool. Managing your social media channels is still a form of work, and you are allowed to take a step back. Not only because it'll save you time, but also because we need to limit our screen time - especially at the weekend! The weekend isn't about killing time on the commute or sitting around being bored. It's about having fun, and it starts on Saturday! Make plans with your friends and family, visit somewhere new or attend a relaxing yoga class. Anything to get you away from the screen and start enjoying the here and now!
Sunday | power off
We were created to follow our dreams and to push ourselves, but we also need to learn when to rest. Whether you’re a Christian or not, God gave us permission to take a break once a week. Whoever you are and whatever faith you follow, give yourself time to rest and recalibrate ready for the week ahead. The challenge? Turn your phone off for 'almost' an entire day. I say 'almost' because I like to FaceTime my parents in the evening before I head to bed.
Sunday is my time to relax and enjoy my friends and family but to also do the things that allow me to unwind. As crazy as it sounds, I need to have a schedule to relax, otherwise, I won't do it! Here's what my typical Sunday looks like:
- 8:30 - Breakfast
- 10:30 - Church
- 13:30 - Lunch
- 14:30 - Clean my room/get rid of junk
- 16:30 - Read/catch up on TV shows
- 18:30 - Shower & get into my pyjamas (who doesn't love living in their pyjamas!?)
- 19:00 - Make dinner & meal prep for the week ahead
- 21:00 - Call my parents
- 21:30 - Early bedtime
Obviously, you don't need to follow a schedule to relax. Although, I have found that personally, this works for me. I'm someone who resists putting themselves first, therefore it's important that I give myself a day to do the things that are important to me. This schedule can vary, it doesn't look the same every Sunday! But when I don't have anything else planned, it's a good routine for me to get ready for a brand new week!