I Went a Week Without Facebook and Here’s What Happened

asweatlife_I Went a Week Without Facebook_1

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.

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About Erin Dietsche

Erin ran track from an early age, but it wasn’t until her parents “forced” her to join her high school cross country team that she fell in love with running. Since then, she’s become an avid runner and learned how to balance her running with her interest in eating chocolate. In recent years, Erin has embraced other forms of fitness like lifting weights. When she’s not working out, she enjoys anything theatre-related, writing plays, reading, listening to rap music, and playing the piano.