I am addicted to social media like Facebook and Instagram. If I am not working or reading a book, then I am probably on social media. I scroll through my feed as I travel to and fro from work, while I am in the loo, when I am bored or feel stressed and need a distraction. Basically, I am on it almost all the time.
Capturing moments on instastory had become second habit. I saw it as a way to share with the world instants that made me happy, sad, angry, and maybe to connect with whomever happened to be at the other end watching it.
But I hadn’t considered the negative impact it could have in my life.
TIME BLACK HOLE
I downloaded an app (RelizD) to track how much time I spent on my mobile. Turns out I unlocked my phone more than 350 times a day, and on average I used my phone for at least 4 hours a day.
I was angry with myself. How much more could I have done in my life if I had channelled that time into an action?
PANGS OF JEALOUSY
Instagram was a source of a lot of jealous moments in my life. She’s thinner. She’s pulling off the cute style that I could never in my life cos she has a flatter chest. I wish I was travelling and diving into the ocean instead of being on a train.
Moments filled with thoughts of being an other. Not celebrating what I already had in my life and instead letting myself get ensnared by the want for things that I didn’t have but didn’t really need either!
Friendships are fragile. Like a plant, they need to be showered with love, care, and patience. When you start to take the health of it for granted, it can die. 3 friends (including my own sister) mentioned to me that they felt that I had time for others in my life, but I didn’t seem to be spending much time with them or that I had prioritised others over them.
I was sad about this. One of my values that I try to adhere closely to is,”people first, everything else second.”
Although that hadn’t been my intention, my sharing certain moments on instagram had led them to feel that way.
17 Jan 2018, 1130pm.
It took me less than 3 seconds to delete Facebook & Instagram. Almost immediately I felt a kind of loss.
What if someone posted something important? What if I missed out on news that will change my life? What if? What if?
This was probably the day I missed Instagram the most. I didn’t realise how much I relied on Instagram to entertain me! I was always unlocking my phone, only to be disappointed I didn’t have the app anymore.
Day 2- Day 7
I started to read medium again! I would only spend 20 mins on it while I was in transit. I started to miss Instagram & Facebook less.
Instead of being on Social Media, What I did Instead!
I took walks
After work instead of taking the MRT from the basement of the building, I would walk for 20 mins to a MRT stop. During this period of time, I would be unplugged. No earphones in my ear.
I would be more mindful as I walked. Observe the people around me. Look at the clouds up above. Listen to the sounds of the passing cars. There is a lot that we miss when we are always plugged in.
I learned more
In the past week I have learned about a father-daughter duo who spent 4 years solving a murder mystery, a woman whose job is to make juries sympathetic towards those who are being considered for death penalty, colour theory, better morning rituals, nuances of sexual assault, powerful women through the ages who have been largely erased from history, and many many more stories about things I had no idea existed!
I took less photos
I didn’t whip out my phone to snap the shot of the meal and then spend some time thinking of what filters to slap on it and then do the whole tagging thing. Now when I had food in front of me. I.ATE.IT.WITHOUT.TAKING.A.PHOTO.
(I cheated twice! Once when I was having brunch with my friends and we were belatedly celebrating her birthday and another time when I had the most amazing vegetarian salad.)
I focused better
I ended up doing more work while I am at the office. I went through longer periods of time without looking at my phone. It’s amazing how much of difference that can make to your productivity!
Would I do this again?
I have only downloaded Instagram and I spent less than 5 mins on it! I definitely will be spending way less time on it now. I am going to allocate 15mins/day to Instagram.
There is a certain freedom that comes from not being bothered about missing out on your friends important milestones by passively watching them on social media. If I really wanted to know what was going on with a friend, I should just give them the good old ring and say, “so what’s been happening in your life and when are we hanging out?”