Why You Need a Social Media Detox Right Now

By Ahmed Wafi

Because it’s what standing between you and a promotion

Always feel like you don’t have enough time on hand? Ask yourself this and answer honestly: Are you spending a lot of that time on social media, scrolling and liking away? It’s a high possibility that you are because according to this study, Malaysians spend an average of two hours and 58 minutes on social media. Just a fun fact: The global average time spent on social media is two hours and 16 minutes, which means Malaysians spend 42 minutes more than most people in the world!

It's a pretty common scene: You stop doing work for a while, pull out your phone, scroll through Twitter mindlessly and before you know it, 15 minutes have gone by. Then an hour later, you do the same with Facebook. Shortly after, it’s Instagram. And then it’s back to Twitter, Facebook – you get the drift, right? All this while you’re trying to get work done, answer calls, meet deadlines, send emails, prepare for meetings. At this point, your Twitter and Instagram accounts are probably controlling you rather than the opposite. Uh oh.

The problem with being on social media and at the same time trying to get work done is this: You are constantly switching between tasks or attempting to perform many tasks at the same time while trying to read statuses and comments on Facebook. It’s social media multitasking at its worst, as this research shows, where you lose focus and can’t give your 100% to any of the task you’re trying to do, even scrolling through social media.

Don’t get us wrong though! There’s so much good that social media can bring, especially if you’re following the right accounts to give you your daily dose of motivation and life hacks, helping you excel in both your personal and professional life. But if it slows down your productivity so much so that you can’t go a few minutes without double tapping a photo even at work… well, guess what happens? Your colleagues and boss start to notice that you’re spending more time on your phone than getting actual work done, which won’t go down well at your next appraisal. If you’re hoping to get a promotion… not going to happen.

What you need is discipline. That’s right – you need to tell yourself that you can’t be on social media as often as you currently are. The best solution for this? A social media detox. It’s exactly what it sounds like – you need to get off social media and get it out of your system. It doesn’t have to be a permanent thing because come on, it’s not realistic to completely stay off social media. But a detox can help you gain some control back in your life and learn how to use social media more effectively and wisely without it completely overwhelming you.

Here are four tips to follow for your social media detox.

#1 A good ol’ time out.
Remember that episode of Black Mirror where the CEO of a social media company takes days off every now and again to get away from technology and just meditate on top of a hill? If you can afford to do that a few times a year (not necessarily meditate on a hill but to go away on a holiday somewhere) then go ahead! But if you can’t, there are still ways to get the same benefit without having to book yourself a flight. What you can do instead? Idris Elba likes to take 15 minutes off his day to sit and stare in the dark. During this time, he tries not to do anything and just clears his mind. Free and effective. Try it!

#2 Have a schedule/routine
Getting rid of social media completely can be quite extreme and we all know taking extreme steps to getting rid of habits don’t sit well. Just look at what happened to your New Year’s resolution of hitting the gym five times a week. Limit your social media use by having a schedule of when you should use it not just whenever you can! Start small. Avoid opening up any social media apps until after breakfast. Or do it only during your lunchtime for 15 minutes.

#3 Try the Pomodoro method
Limit yourself to only a certain amount of time for social media use. The Pomodoro technique is perfect for that! Set the timer to 25 minutes. During this time, you won’t touch your phone and will only be focusing on work. When the timer goes off, you’ll have five minutes to take a break and during this time, you can scroll through your social media accounts. Not more than that though or it defeats the purpose of this method!

#4 Detox Day
Take one day off in a week away from social media. Delete the apps off your phone (or just log out so it is not as easy to access) and enjoy the day, free from liking and retweeting.

If all else fails and you’re in need of an extreme intervention, check out Cold Turkey, a website blocker that blocks not just websites but also applications, the internet and even your whole computer!

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