#disconnectdecember - How did it go?

2 January 2019

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 January 2, 2019
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#disconnectdecember 

A month ago I decided to quit my relationship with every social media platform. No Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest,…etc. for a whole month. 31 days in December. Let me share my thoughts on this experiment.

The Beginning (Week 1)

It started off by deleting all the apps from my phone. I never considered myself as THE social media junkie meaning I have more accounts and profiles that I log into. For example, I have a Twitter account but I don’t even use it anymore. Anyway I logged out of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Youtube and Netflix and deleted those apps from my phone. Social Media detox on my phone was so to say pretty easy and straight forward.

The first challenge I had to face was: How am I going to stop myself from being on Youtube and Netflix on my laptop? From all the social media platforms I have those are the ones I use the most. Although I’m not sure I’d put Netflix into the social media category. However, I wanted to include it in my challenge. Of course I wanted to block all the other social media platforms too. In the end it led to me installing StayFocused. It allowed me to block all the websites I chose for as long as I wanted. Especially within the first week that was quite helpful. I started blocking those websites for about 48h. Just to give it a try and see how it works out.

I’m glad I did. Staying away from all social media platforms and Netflix was harder than I thought. Especially Youtube since it is my favorite. Surprisingly – I can say that for the whole month – I didn’t miss Snapchat and Facebook at all. More about that later.

After the first 48h I blocked the websites again. Some of you might wonder why I didn’t do that for the whole month but I always had this feeling that I might miss something. What if I have to access Facebook or Instagram immediately for some emergency? In retrospect, asking myself that question was totally unnecessary. I had no “emergency” within this month so I could’ve (and maybe should’ve) blocked the websites for the whole month. Anyway I didn’t. So I pushed the nuke button three times in my first week and I was very successful. Not once did I log into any account. Although at the end of week one I started to miss Instagram a little bit. Just for the sake of seeing what people back home are up to. I know the places they would post in their Instagram stories and it’s kinda fun to see them.

Another thing I did was I subscribed to the New York Times. From December 1st on I got the newspaper Mo-Fri and it was a nice change. Another goal I had for this month was to read more so that led me off to a good start. I did read it every day. Within the first week at least.

Keep it going (Week 2)

Kick off week two and I started to get into a morning routine. I’d get up in the morning watch my hostkids, drop them off at school (if it was my turn), come back home, make breakfast, read the newspaper, cut out articles I really enjoyed and glue them into my bullet journal. I’d do that for the first one and a half weeks but then things started to shift a little. I realized that – as silly as it sounds – I can’t eat and read the paper at the same time. Either my food would end up cold and sit there for an hour or I didn’t even finish reading one article because breakfast was just too good. I’m a slow reader and it took me at least an hour every day to read every article I was interested in. Besides that, I still had to finish my final project which was more time consuming than I thought and without trying to make up more excuses reading the paper was not my main goal or focus anymore.

Week two didn’t end very well for my experiment. I had a lousy morning December 11th and well… I ended up on youtube. On top of everything I forgot to block all social med

  • I am only going to subscribe to people who post valuable, creative and authentic content. I follow so many different profiles that I don’t enjoy anymore. I subscribed years ago. In my opinion it is good to think about which accounts make me feel good and which ones just lead to comparison and misjudgment. The same goes for Youtube.

ia platforms and I spent about an hour binge-watching my favorite youtuber. I just had to and I don’t even feel too bad about it. It was the first time in two weeks that I logged into any of my s

  • ocial media accounts and in the end watching her videos made me feel better. After that incident I blocked the websites again and hoped for another two weeks of stressless detoxification.

Well well well… (Week 3)

Christmas was just around the corner and it got busier. Pretty much every aspect of my life got busier. I finished my UCAS application and I got the first letters and responses from universities requiring more information so I spent a lot of time answering e-mails. I went to a concert, a show, a ballet and got ready to leave on the 23rd for Michigan.

My goal to read more in December did not work out at all… I started a new book but I only read 26 pages. Also the newspaper started to end up in the recycling bag. Unread. I started to feel bad about the added garbage but when I had time for myself I just didn’t feel like sitting down reading the paper…

I also broke my promise again and watched another one of Jasminar’s weekly Vlogs… Yeah week 3 was probably not one of my best weeks in this project but other than that I still did a good job with all the other social media platforms. You gotta celebrate the small steps. At least that’s what I was trying to tell myself.

The finish Line (Week 4 till end)

Staying away from Social Media & Co. was ea sy during the fourth week till the end. I wasn’t even at home and I didn’t bring my laptop with me. No apps on my phone so no chance to log in. I came back on the 26th and I was still pretty occupied with Christmas and birthday celebrations so I didn’t even think about my experiment too much.

Summing up…

I’m glad I tried to spend a month without scrolling through any Facebook or Instagram timelines or endless Youtube binge watching nights. It felt good to focus on other things and to be honest picking December as a detox month made it a lot easier. It felt like there was always something going on. An event, a celebration, traveling, …

I know I broke my rules a couple of times. Instead of checking my emails 2-3x per week I did it every day because I was waiting for Universities to respond and I got really excited. However, once you answered and checked your emails there’s not much more to do so you can’t end up spending hours staring at your inbox. At least I think that’s boring. When I spent time at my boyfriend’s place I would also make an exception. Watching movies on the weekend (or in our case Ozark – HIGHLY recommend it by the way) on Netflix was fine for me.

It was a challenge or more an experiment for me. I wanted to find out how I would react and how difficult it would be. I’m glad to see that I can totally survive without social media. Especially Snapchat and Facebook were so easy to ignore. Not once did I have the desire to waste my time with those apps.

My productivity level was higher than ever and it made it harder to procrastinate. I mean within the last week I found out that I love Solitaire and sometimes I spent an hour

  • playing that game on my laptop. I even downloaded it on my phone. Sometimes I would also do crossword puzzles. No one is perfect but I still feel that playing a game or two of Solitaire is better for my mental health than comparing myself to ever so perfect people on Instagram.

Another positive aspect I found was that I made plans and actually made them happen. I tend to be the person to talk and dream a lot but when it comes to taking actions I’m not the first one to do so. This time I couldn’t check my phone and distract myself for a minute with some random videos and pictures. I just went ahead and did it. I signed up for a dr

  • awing class, I got all Christmas and birthday presents on time without stress, I socialized more, I bought tickets for shows in February/March that I really want to go to (including Hamilton – aaaahh!!!), I finished my UCAS application one month before the deadline, I wrote postcards for family and friends back home and I took better care of my nails and ended up making some cute nail art designs.

I did and experienced far more things this month and looking back I can’t believe that by distracting myself with other people’s lives I lost track of my achievements and my goals and dreams and every day happenings. I started to appreciate my life and where I am right now more.

What’s going to change?

I’m going to make a few changes.

  • I’m not downloading Snapchat or Facebook on my phone again. I really don’t need those apps. Especially Snapchat where conversations and pictures disappear after a few seconds is not my piece of cake anyways.
  • Netflix on the weekend. I enjoyed the movie time on the weekend. Watching a few episodes here and there once or twice a week is fun. However, I don’t want to go back to watching Netflix every day. There are just so many other time fillers that make me feel better.
  • I will keep StayFocused. It was so easy to block all social media platforms. With one click you have no access for the next 48 hours. Or as long as you want basically. It made it a lot easier and who knows when there are times where I have to be really focused and productive I might use this tool again. Sometimes we need a little help from the “outside”.

Now you might ask yourself why I even want to be back online. It sounds like I’d be better off not using any of those apps or websites at all. Long story short – I missed youtube, I missed Instagram and I missed writing blo gposts. Even though I subscribed to many accounts I am not really interested anymore there are still a few left that I do enjoy watching. I’m going to declutter my subscriptions and restart my online existence. Well it’s not gonna be that dramatic but I’m just going to unfollow a few accounts and maybe look for other inspirations online. It’s a true fact that the internet and especially social media is a part of our life nowadays. This month I was trying to go from one extreme to the other, to find a balance. I think I have a pretty good idea now when my time online is being wasted and when it is spent useful.

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