Lots of people talk about deleting their social media accounts. I actually did it.
Deleting Facebook and Instagram made me social media app-less, aside from LinkedIn, which I don't tend to doomscroll on anyway. I'd been considering the idea for months, and I'm not honestly not sure what pushed me to do it.
I only intended to trial it for a week to see how things went. But here we are, three weeks later, and I still haven't re-installed either app—and don't plan to. Here's why.
For the first couple hours after I deleted the apps, I found myself in the land of muscle memory. I'd wake my phone, go to tap the place where the apps used to be, and see that they weren't there. I'd remember why, set my phone down, and move on with my day.
I did this four times.
It's remarkable how those pathways had been built in my brain over time. It's kind of sad, actually: I didn't even have to consciously make decisions each time I opened one of those apps. My brain was so wired to spend time scrolling mindlessly through social media that I was doing it without even realizing.
The habit seemed to subside within a couple of days. There were a couple times where I wanted to check something on Facebook, but instead of instinctively going to open the app, I'd think about it, realize I didn't have it anymore, and the mental debate came to a close.
The pros outweigh the cons
With my retrained brain and regained time, I was able to spend my time on things I personally feel are more valuable. But that's not to say I don't miss certain aspects of each app. For example:
Facebook Marketplace. We basically furnished our home with goodies off of Marketplace. Lots of great deals to be had. My wife still keeps tabs on this, but if she weren't on Facebook, we'd have to look elsewhere.
Major life events of friends or family. I'm no longer the first to know, but enough of the friends and family I talk to outside of social media (yes, they exist!) keep me in the loop.
Funny posts. I used to get a chuckle or two out of ridiculous memes and videos. I now rely on my friends and wife to send me the best of the best, which is kind of nice, actually—curated humor!
News. I used to use both Facebook and Instagram for my daily dose of news. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives for this including, you know, newspapers.
But the benefits have outweighed the losses by miles so far, and a few weeks in, I can safely say that I'm not missing it as much as I thought I would. With the extra time I'd otherwise have spent on social media, I've started reading more and taking care of things around the house—things I've been putting off for longer than I'd like to admit. I feel relieved and much more in control of my time.
My work focus has also improved tremendously, and I had one of my most productive weeks (ever!) the second week. All because I deleted two apps.
I'd really encourage you to get rid of your social media apps, even if it's just for a couple days, or a workweek. I'm going to keep going, one day at a time, and I have a feeling that after a while, I won't even feel those occasional pangs. And at the very least, I won't have those dirty dishes giving me the side-eye each time I walk past the sink.
If you're not wanting to take the leap, there are alternatives. For example, you could turn off notifications for social apps. Or, you could use distraction blocking tools during the workday. iPhones and Androids also have Focus features to help.