How I Went From Spending 9 Hours A Day On My Phone To Just 30 Minutes

Similar to the majority of people in the Western world, I was addicted to social media. Although apps such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have some benefits, I realized that spending an excessive amount of time on them wasn't beneficial for me. Consequently, I decided to restrict myself to only 30 minutes per day. This was one of the best decisions I've made.

1. I Was Glued To My Phone 24/7

I used to spend countless hours scrolling through social media aimlessly, even when I had other responsibilities. I was continuously refreshing my social media feeds, suffering from the "refresh syndrome." However, after learning about an app that tracks phone usage, I downloaded it out of curiosity. The results from one week of tracking revealed that I spent an average of nine hours per day on my iPhone, with 86% of that time spent on social media. Essentially, I was spending more than a 40-hour workweek on my phone and achieving nothing. This made me realize that something had to change.

2. I Had To Physically Hide My Phone From Myself

Whenever I was at work, I locked my phone away in a drawer, and I kept it out of reach in another room when at home. Initially, I didn't think it was possible for me to stay away from my phone, but after a few days, I surprisingly began to feel relieved. Knowing that I couldn't be contacted every second of the day made me feel good. My focus improved, and I was more productive overall. I felt disconnected from the world, but it was the best feeling.

3. I Began To Feel Out Of The Loop With Current Events, But I Was OK With That

Sometimes, we become so engrossed in the latest celebrity rumors or viral topics that we forget about the things that truly matter. If a particular event or issue is significant, it will likely spread through word of mouth. On the other hand, if it doesn't reach my ears, it's likely not important enough. I'm not suggesting that I completely ignore global news, but I tend to filter out the extraneous noise.

4. I Felt Less Pressure To Fit In

The less time I spent on social media, the less I became concerned about how I appeared online. Social media has a way of making us self-conscious by exposing us to images of seemingly perfect people with perfect lives, filled with endless happiness. Although this is likely just a façade, we are led to believe that these people are better than us and that our lives are inferior. By eliminating these posts from my daily routine, I started to feel more like myself and less like what was expected.

5. This May Sound Cliché, But I Began To Discover Myself

In the world of social media, we are defined by what we post. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we tend to portray an unrealistic version of ourselves in the hopes of being accepted by our followers. After deleting social media from my life, I began to recognize that there is more to me than meets the eye. I rediscovered my passions and interests, particularly my love for writing, and embraced my creative side. Without social media, my mind expanded, and I felt more connected to my inner self.

6. I Made Changes To My Daily Routine, Starting With Bedtime

Each night, I used to lie in bed and scroll through social media feeds, often losing track of time and staying awake longer than intended. It turns out that the blue light emitted by phone screens tricks our brains into believing that it's daytime. Even with the option of night mode, the brightness is still too much. This habit disturbed my sleep quality, which improved after I took a break from social media.

7. The Hardest Cycle To Break Was Within My Morning Routine

From the moment I opened my eyes, I would snooze my alarm, check notifications, and scroll through social media like it was my morning paper. All this happened before I even left my bed. To break this cycle, I created a new rule for myself: no phone usage until at least an hour after waking up. This gave me a chance to clear my mind and focus on my own energy before anyone else's.

8. I Started Occupying My Free Time With Brain-Engaging Activities

Instead of filling my mind with mindless social media content, I chose to read books whenever I felt the urge to pick up my phone. Reading allows the mind to wander and explore different perspectives, leading to the discovery of new interests and ideas. This habit significantly improved my mood and motivation, making me more productive and efficient with my time.

9. I Became A Lot More Mindful Of My Surroundings

Have you ever been so engrossed in your Instagram feed that you failed to hear someone calling your name? The allure of social media can be so captivating that we become oblivious to the world around us. When I limited my social media usage, I became more present and attentive to those around me. I began to appreciate the beauty of life, enjoying the scenery during car rides and engaging in face-to-face conversations. As a result, my relationships improved, and my personality blossomed.

10. Within A Few Short Days, I Noticed A Positive Change In My Mood And Energy

To regulate my social media use, I set a daily limit of 30 minutes. However, most days I didn't even reach 10 minutes. With less reliance on the opinions of others, I became more mindful of the present moment. Altering my daily routine also refreshed me in the morning and relaxed me at night, allowing me to explore my personal interests. Prioritizing myself greatly improved my mood and energy levels, making me feel more alive than ever. Ultimately, restricting social media helped me become a better friend, daughter, employee, and overall human. Despite my love for it, social media had to go (well, mostly).