I quit social media

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I deleted social media apps, including YouTube and Instagram from my phone and focused on what’s important.

I’ve been spending more than 3 hours a day watching YouTube videos and browsing Instagram feed alone. That’s more than 21 hours a week!

People on average spend 3 hours and 35 minutes on their phones every single day. I wrote about the dark side of social media back in January.

Now is the time to stop wasting so much time and focus on life instead.

Day 1 of social media detox

I woke up at 6:30, grabbed my phone and automatically clicked on Instagram icon. It wasn’t there anymore. I took a cold shower as part of my morning ritual (I’ve been taking cold showers since January and it’s been great) and then I headed to my desk.

I sat down, planned my day and checked my phone again shortly but remembered that I quit social media and put my phone down.

There was a pile of books that I ordered from Amazon, and a couple of old university books that I wanted to read a long time ago. I grabbed one book and spend an hour reading it.

Then my wife woke up and we had a breakfast together. Then I started working.

My daily screen time reduced from almost 4 hours down to 2 hours on the first day of social media detox. Although, I had a conference call for about an hour.

I spent one extra hour reading, I was more focused during the day but I kept thinking about the detox.

Last year I turned off all notifications on my phone and never missed anything important.

It doesn’t mean that I didn’t use my phone, I still listened to podcasts on Spotify, checked email and sent messages in messaging apps. It was just a first day in a long time when I didn’t watch any videos on YouTube or opened Instagram.

Hi, I'm Renat 👋


Day 2

I woke up at 6:30, grabbed my phone and turned the alarm off. Then I spent another hour in bed. It was raining outside so I decided to run tomorrow.

During the day I was more focused and productive. My wife and I recorded a new episode for our YouTube channel. I also finished one of the client projects.

I spent 1 hour and 50 minutes on my phone, which is 2 hours less than my average screen time. Most of the time I was reading, replying to messages and listening to podcasts on Spotify.

Day 3

It’s Thursday. I woke up at 6:30 and had a cold shower as part of my morning routine.

My phone started to feel more like a tool, rather than a key part of my day life. I spent 2 hours and 11 minutes in total, still almost 2 hours less than the average time.

If I’m at home, I’m no longer grabbing my phone every time I go to the kitchen or drinking coffee. I take one the books I’m reading instead.

Social media detox also makes me more focused, while I’m reading a book. I pay attention to details and don’t check my phone every 10 minutes as I used to.

Day 4

It’s Friday today. My daily screen time was 2 hours and 41 minutes. Significantly longer than yesterday. Only because I spent more than an hour on Google Hangouts.

I’m planning to reduce my phone usage during the weekend, as I’ll be spending more time outside.

Day 5-6 (weekend)

It’s been a week since I deleted social media apps on my phone. The day I started my weekly screen time was 27 hours and 20 minutes. I can proudly say that removing Instagram and YouTube apps from my iPhone reduced my weekly screen time by 50%!

My new daily average screen time is 1 hour 52 minutes. Down from 3h 54m. I’m getting my time back and it’s working.

There’s still a problem of random phone grabbing but I’m no longer clicking on social media app icons. I spend most of the time reading Medium, chatting, checking mail, listening to podcasts and tracking my running progress.

Day 7

My screen time for that day was 1h 39m. Below the new average, which is good news. I’m still doing a lot of reading on my phone. I should use Amazon Kindle instead.

Day 8

Life without social networks is starting to feel normal. There’s no lack of information, I didn’t miss fire in Notre-Dame or the latest Premier League results.

Screen time for today was 1 hour and 53 minutes.

Day 9

Today I spent 59 minutes using my phone. It’s the first time my screen time dropped below one hour. Small steps count.

Day 10

People who say they don’t have enough time to do something are just lazy or unmotivated. You can easily allocate 1-2 hours just by quitting social media on your phone.

I spend 1 hour and 15 minutes on my phone. Mostly in messaging apps. They’re evil. Most of the time people want a hear a reply from you. It’s better than regular calling though.

Day 11

It’s not just about having more time, it’s also important to have a goal a reason why you’re doing this. Some people can easily regain their 1-2 hours by quitting social media but easily spend these two hours on something unproductive or useless.

It’d be a lot easier to stay motivated if you enjoy what you’re doing more than anything. The same applies to this 30-day challenge. It feels good that I can finally read books and spend more time running instead of scrolling Instagram feed.

I’m not going to quit social media forever. No, I can download Instagram and YouTube apps after the challenge. What I’m really hoping that will happen is this. I’ll keep those apps away from my phone but whenever I need to post something I’ll just download an app, use it and then delete it again.

By the way today I spent 1 hour and 43 minutes on my phone.

Day 12-13

It was a busy weekend. Sunday was a special day, I run 10k on Almaty Marathon. It was less productive that usual, because I spent more time with my family, reading book and running.

The total screen time was 1h 27m and 2h 38m on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

As Greg McKeown wrote in his book about Essentialism: “It’s not about disconnecting from the Web, that’d be a backwards movement. It’s about applying the principles “less is better”.

Day 14

My screen time was 1 hour and 27 minutes. It’s the same as the weekly average time.

I decided to make a YouTube vlog about quitting social media for 30 days. There are a lot of people glued to the social media. This vlog might change the way they’re using it.

Day 15

Half way through. I’m pumped more than ever. It feels like a much deeper challenge. My goal is not just to quit social media for 30 days, it feels more like reducing screen time.

Everything feels better. I feel more energetic. I want to workout and run more often. There’re no more time wasting.

Every time I feel like picking up my phone, I grab a book and read it for 15-20 minutes and get back to work. It helps me clear my thoughts.

Day 16

I filmed a vlog about this 30-day challenge. It will be released today on my YouTube channel.

Total screen time was 1 hour and 38 minutes. I’m still learning how to decrease it even further.

Day 17

Total screen time: 1h 57m.

I published a vlog on my YouTube channel about this challenge. It got a lot of traction. My friends started sending me a screen recording of them deleting social media apps from their phones!

People realise how much time they’re spending on their phones but they need a bit of motivation to reduce it.

Day 18

Screen time: 1h 40m.

So far I haven’t missed Instagram. I realise how much time I’ve spent there, without any good cause. I grabbed my phone automatically every time I felt bored or had to think about something.

Day 19-20 (weekend)

My favourite day of the week is Sunday because I can freely work on my personal projects. On Saturday I usually spend time with my family.

This Saturday I spent 1h 27 minutes on my phone. On Sunday I set a new screen time record: 55 minutes in total.

Day 21

Total screen time: 1h 19 minutes. Weekly average is 29% less from last week. I’m more focused than ever.

The easiest way to give up a bad habit is to replace is with something essential, something that will make you a better person. E.g. reading a book, jogging, spending time with your kids/family or even keeping a journal.

Day 22

It’s been 3 weeks without social media. My social media detox experiment continues. And I keep making progress, today I spent 1 hour 5 minutes on my phone. That’s almost 3 hours less than the day I started.

Day 23

Total screen time was 1 hour 19 minutes. I run 4-5 times a week and keep a journal. Having a routine and consistency is essential.

I wouldn’t have this challenge, if I was happy with stable life. I like pushing myself forward, extending my boundaries and trying new things. I always challenge myself improving my own life and life of people around me.

Day 24

Total screen time was 1h 15m. If you’re thinking about doing this challenge or not, I think you should. Maybe 7 days instead of 30, but I’m sure you’ll be happy with the results.

Day 25

Today I spent 1h 33m on my phone. Slightly longer than usual, because of the endless chat groups in messengers. Even though I’ve turned notifications off, I still check the screen from time to time to see the replies.

Day 26-27

The 30-day challenge is almost over with only a few days left. But I’m planning to stay on this challenge for as long as I can. I’ll only install social media apps on my phone whenever I need to post something.

On Saturday, I spent 1h 15m on my phone. Sunday was 11 minutes longer.

My most popular apps on the phone are Safari, Whatsapp, Garmin, Strava and Mail app.

Day 28

I used my phone for a total of 1h 17m. It’s so much less than when I started this challenge.

Day 29

2 days before the end of the social media detox. I had a small road trip outside the city. Total screen time was 2h 28m. It might seem like a 100% increase in phone usage but it’s just because I used my phone as a GPS navigator.

I don’t usually need directions but this time Google Maps app was on for 1 hour and 4 minutes.

Day 30. Final day

Yay! I’ve been away from social media for 30 days! I can’t believe it’s been already a month.

I’ve managed to save almost 80 hours, in the last 30 days. Instead of spending that many hours scrolling Instagram feed or watching YouTube videos I read a lot of books, trained hard and keep a journal every day.

It might feel like social media is connecting us, but in reality it’s disconnecting us. I’ll keep my life social media-free and try to meet in person with people who are important to me. Or give them a call instead of giving them likes on social media.

Thanks for your support and pushing me forward.

I’m on my way of making my life, and life of people around me better.

Renat Galyamov

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