Social media take a lot of space in our life. We spend way too much time scrolling on our phones or on our computers to see news that bring us nothing of importance. In order to simplify life or to “reconnect” with real life, more and more people try a digital detox during several days.
When I’ve started to become a minimalist, I decluttered my phone and computer. But I kept A LOT of apps that I thought I needed.
Then I realize that the way that I use Instagram was really bad for me. I spent a lot of time scrolling “Perfect Life” and “Perfect Outfit” and so on. I wanted to look like these girls. And I was really depressed because of that. One day, I decided to delete the app and it was one of the best decision I’ve ever made. However, I realized that the problem wasn’t in the app itself but mostly in how I used it. After that, my screen time had really decreased but it wasn’t sufficient. I spent a lot of time on other apps like Facebook, my mailbox or game like Pokemon Go (nobody’s perfect!). I checked my phone every 5 minutes and I didn’t appreciate all the moment that I spent with my friends and family.
So I decided to do a month of digital detox
What do you need to do before a digital detox?
- What are your goals regarding your digital detox?
If you want to do a digital detox, it’s because you have a reason. It’s maybe to have more quality time with your family. Or maybe because you think that you don’t have time to do what you want (reading, doing yoga, cooking…) because of your digital activity.
I wanted to do a digital detox because I saw that social media made me sad and negative even without Instagram! And I realized that I spent too much time scrolling Facebook for no reason (mainly because I was bored). My goals during the whole month of digital detox were to read more books (or audio books), to work out more and spend more quality time with my friends and my family during holidays.
- What are your “non negotiable” applications?
During your digital detox, you can use your smartphone because it’s necessary for you. For example, if you’re a community manager, it’s necessary that you spend time on social media. In this case, try to time box your digital time during the day and stay focused on your task. Maybe you need to FaceTime your family because they’re living far away so this app is necessary to you.
Take your notebook and write down all the apps that you need to keep and why you need to keep them.
For example, I needed to keep Audible and Spotify because I walk to work and I needed to have something to listen to for one and half hour. Then I kept FaceTime because I like to see my family while I call them. Finally I kept WhatsApp because this was the way of communication that we use with my best friend and it was necessary for organizing holiday with some friends.
Even as a blogger, I decided to delete every social media and every application that I used on my phone to follow my blog activities. And that brings us to our 3rd point.
- Schedule your digital moment
One of the biggest digital weakness nowadays is Netflix. It’s so easy to turn on your computer/smartphone, go on Netflix and binge watching a TV show during a whole night. And during the TV show you’re scrolling on social media!!! It’s the best way to waste your time!
You don’t have to completely quit Netflix but you can decided to watch Netflix with someone else and only with that person. During my digital detox, I decided to continue watching Netflix only with my boyfriend. It wasn’t a difficult decision because I’m not a huge fan of Netflix (yeah, I know…).
As a blogger, I also decided to schedule my time working on my blog or on my social media. And it was one of the best decision. Even with a less time, I did a lot more than before.
- Help yourself with digital detox applications
If you know that this will be difficult to not spend a lot of time on your computer or on your smartphone, help yourself with some applications like Freedom or Moment.
They’re applications that block use of sites or applications that you’ve decided. For example, during your digital detox you don’t want to use Facebook because you know that it’s useless. In this case you can decided block your access to Facebook during a whole week or a whole month.
It’s time now to delete all the other applications from your smartphone!!
What are the benefits of doing a digital detox?
Some benefits are more obvious than others. Actually, there are benefits that I didn’t expect.
- You have more time
For you and your family. This benefit is really obvious but I can say that it’s more quality time for you and your family. You don’t check your phone every 5 minutes so you can have a real conversation with your parents. You can also have more quality time for you, doing whatever you want during this digital detox.
- You know what is really important
During this whole month, I was on holiday with friends and I know that if I didn’t do this digital detox, I would be on my phone all the time, to check my social media, my messages and so on… Instead, I enjoyed the time with them and I didn’t even want to check my phone because these moments was more important.
- You don’t need all these apps
When you start a digital detox, you’re afraid! Afraid of missing apps that are “ESSENTIALS” for you. But during this month, you realize that you really don’t need them. Maybe there are some that you will reinstall after the detox but there are apps that you don’t even remember!
- You save a LOT of money
Ok, I didn’t expect this one! And it was even more spectacular when I deleted my Instagram account. I stopped seeing ads for clothes all day long anymore, same for all the perfect lives and perfect holidays. Actually after I deleted my Instagram account, I stopped wanting to have perfect holiday on a 5* hotel, I just want to spend more time with my boyfriend and see the world, not necessarily the 5* world.
Now I spend a lot less time shopping online or on travel website and so on… So I saved a lot of money because I know what’s really important to me.
During this month, I also took the decision to downgrade my phone plan. I realized that, as I use my phone much less, I didn’t need all these data that cost me a lot throughout the year. So I downgraded my plan and now I should save around a hundred dollars every year!
- You have a better self-esteem
I didn’t know that this digital detox would be so beneficial for me. And one of the most important benefits was the better self-esteem. Actually, I didn’t compare myself (or not knowingly) during a whole month! And it was good! I felt good about my body and about what I was doing and that was really pleasant!
My digital detox
I decided to do a whole month of digital detox and I think that this duration is better to know exactly what are the apps that you really need or not.
Some moments were more difficult than others, especially when I was waiting for someone or something (like in the airport or in the train) because I didn’t plan anything during these time. There were some website that I continued to check and it was difficult to not doing it when I was bored, like Facebook.
But I’m really glad I did it because I saw a lot of benefits and I think that I will continue this way. Maybe I’ll become a digital minimalist and be more mindful of how I spend my time on my computer and phone.