I just finished a complete break from social media for 30 days (the only exception was LinkedIn, and it was only accessible from a computer).
It was incredible.
I was finally 100% present; with my family, with friends, and at work. It was the most productive 30 days I’ve had in years.
I read 7 books.
I got more clear on my goals (personal and professional).
Best of all - I felt happier. Maybe it was because I was more productive in every aspect of my life. But I think the biggest reason was instead of spending my time watching everyone else’s highlight reels, I was creating my own.
If you would like to learn more about the 30 day digital declutter, please read on!
What is a Digital Declutter?
This idea comes from Cal Newport’s book, “Digital Minimalism”. A digital declutter is removing any “optional technology” from your life. Examples might include: social media, TV, online shopping, consuming local news, etc.
Removing email from your life, for example, is not optional for most people, since they use it for work.
This is why I decided to keep using LinkedIn. I did, however, remove it from my iPhone. So my use of LinkedIn was very limited.
What “Optional Technology” did I remove during my 30 day digital declutter?
Here are all the apps I deleted from my iPhone and iPad: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube, FB messenger, 500PX, Mint, Wealthfront, all banking and investment apps. I also deleted my work and personal email accounts.
On my personal and work laptop computers I logged out of all social media apps and deleted the browser shortcuts.
One thing Cal Newport talks about in his book “Digital Minimalism”, is that optional technology does provide some benefits, so when you take a hiatus, you will notice some minor headaches. But the benefits will far outweigh the few downsides.
Here were a couple of adjustments I had to make:
Prior to the declutter, consuming social media was a way to give my brain a mental break between tasks. So it was difficult at first to find another way to take a break. I quickly learned, however, it was more beneficial to take a walk, or to read a few pages from a book. It turns out that using social media was actually doing the opposite of giving my brain a break.
One other issue was trying to get pictures from my phone to LinkedIn. Since I didn’t have the LinkedIn app on my phone, nor did I have email (to email the picture to myself), I had to "text" an email to myself. It took me a few minutes to figure that one out. But that worked. Moving on...
As you can see, I experienced essentially zero downsides. The aforementioned were hardly headaches. In fact the first adjustment was a benefit. It just took me a few days to realize it.
Benefits of the Digital Declutter
This experience brought many benefits to my life.
The first benefit I noticed on day 2: My iPhone battery never died. In fact, there were nights that my iPhone had 87% charge climbing into bed. 🙌🏻
I was also getting out of bed much faster and more energized. For about 3 years I’ve been getting up at 5am (Well, my alarm has been set for 5am). Before the digital declutter, I would spend the first 15-20 minutes of my day (sometimes longer) scrolling through social media and email. With no email or social media on my phone, the only thing I could do was check the weather, look at my schedule for the day, check Evernote, or read a book. With no options to trick my brain into mindless activities, I would just get out of bed.
The biggest benefits of the digital declutter were mentioned at the beginning of this article and I think they are worth repeating.
I was finally 100% present.
I read 7 books.
I got clear on my goals.
And best of all - I felt happier.
If you feel like you might be wasting too much time on social media, you should grab a copy of “Digital Minimalism”. Or try out a 30 day digital declutter.
If you do, please let me know how it goes!
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.
Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family