I Deleted Social Apps From My Phone For A Week, Here’s What Happened

It was a Saturday morning and as always, I had ambitiously set my alarm for an early morning walk to seize the day, carpe the diem, etc. But, as always, I swiped my alarm off and beelined straight for my Instagram to see what I had missed during the 7.5 hours I had been asleep. After that I jumped on Facebook and while I was mindlessly scrolling a headline jumped out at me.

It was a GQ article about the comedian Aziz Ansari and how he had quit the internet, removing all browsers and social media off his phone and laptop. I was instantly inspired. I knew I had created a nasty, hard-to-quit habit of defaulting to looking at my social media at every opportunity.

So, with a few clicks Instagram and Facebook were off my phone. I instantly felt liberated and jumped out of bed, put my shoes on, got my dog and went for a walk, phone free. And guess what? The world didn’t crumble. More importantly, no one gave a rat’s arse that I didn’t post my run of the mill ‘here is me on my smug morning walk’ stories. Plus I’m sure my dog appreciated not being constantly stopped to satisfy my vanity.

One week into the social-free life, I have already noticed and learnt a few things.

Life is more beautiful when you’re not looking through a screen

I’m very spoilt: I live near the ocean and I get to see some spectacular sunrises each morning; there are been some particularly beautiful ones lately. I’ve realised that soaking up the beauty phone-free means I get to actually enjoy it rather than trying to capture it. I’ve decided that if people are that desperate to see a sunrise, they will get up early to see it themselves.

I feel more connected with people since disconnecting

Becoming lazy with friendships is easy to do these days. You don’t need to call or text your friends to ask what they got up to on the weekend, you get to see that on social media, especially now with Instagram stories. But now I am blissfully clueless about what is going on, I have been calling people more. It isn’t just my friends I am feeling more connected to either – when I go and get my coffee or lunch I don’t order and then glue my eyes to the screen; instead I chat to the barista.

I have noticed so much more

I have a long commute to work each day – about an hour each way – which used to be where I got my biggest dose of social smack. Now I have started to look out the window more, and my boring commute isn’t that boring at all. Just by staring out the window and not at my screen I have discovered several new cafes and restaurants to try (been to one already and it was as good as it looked from the bus). Funnily enough, my inspiration came from my bus trip, not my social media.

I have discovered new things

It turns how there are more apps than just Facebook and Instagram. What a revelation! I’ve started using my idle time to edit photos for my stories on Lightroom, I’m using Insight Timer to meditate and Magoosh’s vocabulary builder to (yep, you guessed it) build my vocabulary. I’m consuming a prodigious amount of new knowledge (and yes, prodigious was actually the word of the day on Magoosh)

I’m more productive

I got rid of my TV a while ago so now during the evening instead of sitting on my phone I’ve been reading. Usually I average one book a month, but in the week that I’ve been off social media I have conquered an entire book. I have read through the pile of magazines which I had only flicked through, I cleaned out my cupboards and I (finally) did my tax return.

So, will I give it up forever? Probably not. Just like smoking and every other addiction, it is difficult to give up but I am liking life without it so far. Once I kick the habit for good I might just dabble as an IRL ‘social’ social person.

Hannah is a corporate manager by day and freelance writer by night. Her work has appeared on websites like Virgin Australia, AWOL and Broadsheet as well as her own travel blog, Tales and Trails. You can follow her adventures and admire cute photos of her dog Marvin at @talesandtrails_