The white “f” surrounded by a blue square was becoming all too familiar. Whenever I picked up my phone, my thumb instantly went for the Facebook app. I couldn’t help it — checking my news feed was practically instinctive. At that point, I knew I had to give up Facebook.
In mid-December, I decided to go cold turkey and cut the social media site out of my life. I wasn’t sure how long I wanted to Facebook detox, but I knew it had to be long enough to stop my addictive behavior. Thus, I deleted the app from my iPhone and pledged to avoid logging in on my laptop. It was challenging at first; I definitely redownloaded the Facebook app on my phone a few times. But after a few unsuccessful attempts at cutting out Facebook, I was victorious in avoiding it.
Before I knew it, a week had come and gone … and to my surprise, I wasn’t dying to scroll through my news feed. I logged back into my Facebook account after seven days, but in the process I learned that without it, my time was better spent on more productive activities.
1. More focus. During my week without Facebook, I found I had a renewed focus on the tasks at hand. Before I decided to cut out Facebook, I would mindlessly grab my phone, hit the Facebook app and glance through my feed. A little while later, I’d do the same thing — and be frustrated that nothing had changed!
Throughout my detox, I spent more time actually concentrating on the tasks at hand and focusing for longer periods of time. I became less distracted while completing projects at work and while working on articles for aSweatLife. Before my time off Facebook, I found myself reflexively reaching for my phone even during relaxing activities like reading for fun or watching TV. During my detox, I cut out those habits and stayed completely immersed in what I was doing, even reading a book or watching a movie.
2. More connecting time. We’ve all fallen victim to checking our phones during social situations. When you’re talking to friends and you get a notification on your phone, it’s hard to ignore it. The next thing you know, you’ve missed half of the conversation and have to come back to reality. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve found myself doing this too many times to count.
But in my Facebook-free week, I didn’t. When my husband and I went out to dinner, I didn’t reach for my phone. Instead, I was engrossed in our discussion. While talking to my family members on the phone, I didn’t put my phone on speaker and surf Facebook. Rather, I remained fully engaged in the conversation.
3. More time for reflection. It’s a long-time habit of mine to keep my phone on my nightstand at night. That way, when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I can do is check my social media accounts.
Throughout my Facebook detox, I didn’t feel the urge to check any of my accounts first thing in the morning. Staying 100 percent connected 100 percent of the time suddenly wasn’t a huge priority for me. Instead, I had more time for reflecting and thinking about my day ahead. And it wasn’t just in the mornings, either — I felt more reflective throughout the entire day.
Unfortunately, not everything about my week without Facebook was positive. Although I didn’t check my social media accounts right away in the morning, I did find myself drawn toward them when I got bored. During my detox, I found myself checking my Instagram account more often. Without Facebook, I certainly had more focus, connecting time and time for reflection. But during the week, I spent more time on Instagram than I usually would have.
I’m far too interested in staying connected to my friends and family, so I don’t plan on deleting my Facebook account. But giving it up for seven days helped me realize I don’t need it as much as I thought I did. In fact, I actually have more time for other activities when I refrain from checking my Facebook upwards of 10 times per day.