A couple of weeks ago I watched The Social Dilemma (highly recommended) and it gave me the idea… well, more the urge to check myself and the way I use social media. Then I went further than that and I completely cut off social media for the weekend.
Here’s how it went.
The thing is I don’t consider myself an internet addict. I haven’t had a Facebook profile for years and I use very few social media platforms. I kinda knew how the whole thing works and how fake is it and because of that, I thought that I am in control.
But then I watched The Social Dilemma (available on Netflix) and it made me realize that the situation is a lot more complex than that.
“The Social Dilemma is a 2020 documentary. It explores the rise of social media and the damage it has caused to society, focusing on its exploitation of its users through surveillance capitalism and data mining, how it’s designed to nurture addiction and its effect on mental health.” (Source: Wikipedia)
While watching it I couldn’t stop checking and analyzing my use of the internet and social media. The most frightening part for me was that even if I know what they do with my personal information and how it wastes my time, I still use these apps and I still go along with what they do.
The most important message of the movie is that we are all responsible and we all have a choice. At least this is what I took away from it and so I broke the circle.
My daily routine without digital tools
Although I went Off-Grid for the whole weekend, I’m gonna write about one day. The second day was pretty much the same.
8:00 Waking up
Usually, I wake up at 7 to the sound of my alarm on my phone and I don’t even put it away anymore. I immediately start to check my notifications, the weather, the news, you know the drill… I spend about half an hour still lying in bed and just checking my apps but since this time I didn’t have my smartphone near me, I was out of bed much earlier than usual.
8:00-10:00 Morning routine
Here, I didn’t experience a big difference. Usually, I get busy with getting ready, getting dressed, etc. There were two inconveniences though:
– listening to music: some upbeat music while getting ready always energizes me and helps me get ready for the tasks of the day. I missed it on the weekend, although admittedly I did enjoy the silence (pun intended)
– meditating: if I don’t work I try to start my day with Wim Hof’s breathing technique. I use the Wim Hof Method App but this time I had to count and keep track in my head.
10:00-11:30 Walking my dog
There is a huge and really nice doggie park near our apartment and as a fanatic nature lover, I always take my phone with me so I can take photos. This time I just enjoyed nature and I didn’t really miss my phone.
11:30-19:00 Getting stuff done
I don’t have much time on weekdays so it wasn’t really hard to keep myself busy. I cleaned the apartment, organized and redecorated our living space (no big projects though), worked out, and studied a lot.
19:00-23:00 Leisure time
I will admit, by the evening I kinda wanted to watch a good movie or check my phone at least for the notifications. But nay… Had to stay strong so I went with reading. Which was a sensational realization. When I was a kid I was a huge
nerd bookworm and I used to read all the time. But by the time I finished university I had to read so many unnecessary textbooks and notes that since then I didn’t even open a book. I forgot that I still love it and can truly relax while reading.
The biggest inconvenience
I missed the practical and useful functions for training, meditating, organizing, and planning. I also missed the infinite wisdom of Google. I got used to the fact that the internet is always just a touch away and it’s honestly making life easier.
Oh yeah, and take notes by hand takes soooooo much more time than typing. Ugh.
The biggest win
I felt like a time millionaire. Social platforms want to keep you on their site and it’s tempting. However, pointless scrolling is time-consuming, demotivating, and destroys your focus. My study session was much more effective without my smartphone to distract me.
The biggest change I noticed wasn’t the effect of social media on my mental health or my mood, but my time. It was shocking to see, how longer the days feel. I had more time and more focus as there wasn’t any distraction.
But you don’t have to unplug everything and run. It’s more about finding the silver line. There are countless apps for self improvement, learning or saving the environment. The possibilities of the internet are infinite and it’s up to you what you get out of it.
Use it but don’t believe it and most importantly don’t determine your own worth according to it.