Do you ever wish there were more hours in a day? Most of us end our days feeling like we haven’t accomplished enough. The truth is, you can grant yourself that wish if you’re willing to sacrifice the time you spend on social media.
Americans spend an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes on social media every day. That’s 50 hours (or 2 full days) each month, 25 days per year (almost 1 full month), and about 5.5 years over the course of an 80 year lifespan.
It completely consumes us.
In 2013, I gave up all social media for an entire month as part of a church-wide fast. I logged out of every account, deleted the apps from my phone, and removed the bookmarks from my browser.
Let me be the first to tell you that it was not easy, but as time went on I gradually lost the urge to pull my phone out and check my accounts. By the end of the month, I was amazed not only at how much extra time I had, but how little I actually missed social media. I had broken a terrible habit.
Not longer after, I gave up Facebook completely. I didn’t deactivate it, I deleted it permanently and haven’t been back since. Surprisingly, I still have friends and don’t have trouble keeping in touch with anyone. I also deleted other accounts such as Foursquare, Snapchat, and Path along with a few addicting games.
This challenge was so successful that I now give up social media for 1 month each year and add about 50 hours of time to my schedule.
In 2014, I realized that I was wasting a lot of time watching television. So I gave it up completely for a month. After a month of no television and realizing I hadn’t really missed anything, I cancelled my cable subscription. Not only did I save time, but I saved about $80/month too. I managed to keep my basic cable for free so I can still watch major events like the Superbowl and political debates.
Okay, maybe just the Superbowl, but either way $960/year is a good chunk of money that could be put towards more important bills, savings, or retirement.
What if I use social media for business?
If you use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for your business like I do, there’s still a good chance you can give it up for a month without your career coming to a screeching halt. Here are a few tips for giving up social media without hurting your business:
- Schedule posts in advance – Facebook and Twitter have this feature built-in and there are plugins and extensions/apps for Google Plus, Pinterest, and Instagram. This way, you can push fresh content out to your network without actually using your accounts.
- Tell your audience – You could probably gain some respect and even a little publicity from telling your audience about your self-imposed challenge. You could turn it into a marketing initiative and share your findings with your followers at the end of the month in a nice blog post.
- Appoint an assistant – If you have the means to do so, appoint an assistant to manage your social media accounts for the month. This could be a friend, co-worker, or employee as long as it’s someone you trust. Preparing your content ahead of time and compensating them is probably a good idea.
If your entire business relies heavily on social media, this may not be feasible for you. However, think about other habits you can give up instead to put some time back on the clock. Maybe you waste a lot of time on YouTube or Instagram. Maybe you spend too much time watching T.V. or reading blogs.
Whatever your most time-consuming habit is, try giving it up completely for an entire month. I found that giving something up completely is much easier than trying to limit the time I spend doing it.
Use your extra time wisely
With all that extra time on your hands, make sure you put it to good use. Have you been wanting more time for that project you’ve put on the back-burner for months? Do you wish you had more time to just relax or spend time with friends and family?
If you give up social media for a while, you can give yourself that time. If you’re not the best with self-discipline, try doing this challenge with a few friends or just share your participation with others to help hold yourself accountable.
Ditching bad habits isn’t easy. It requires a lot of self-discipline and a desire to form new, healthier habits, but when you do, the results can be life-changing. Subtract social media for a while and you’ll observe the positive effects it has on your life.
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