I’d been struggling with reducing Facebook and Instagram usage for over a year. I tried eliminating just the major distraction, the Facebook Timeline, on my desktop, but it wasn’t enough.
Turns out, when I eliminated Timeline from my desktop, I found myself using Facebook Groups more and more. Some of them are highly engaging (and super specific too), probably the only good thing left on fb, but their distraction potential is the same.
And also, since I hadn’t figured out a way to do the same on my phone, I was using it a lot more to get my social media fix. This also meant I was more inclined to use Instagram, which is an even bigger time waster. I was back to where I started.
There was only one option left: deactivate fb and insta accounts, uninstall their apps (I only had insta), and block access to their URLs on both desktop and mobile.
I used the hosts file method to block them on my desktop, and the BlockSite app to do the same on my android phone.
Blocking them was a revelation. I couldn’t believe the number of times I unconsciously tried accessing both these platforms. In the first few days, it was almost every hour or so.
It was startling. And an affirmation of my decision to leave them.
If I’d access to them, I would’ve ended up spending at least a few minutes on them every hour. Count them all, and it’ll be half my awake time.
The attempts to access them slowly reduced over time. I still try to get to them now and then, maybe two to three times every day, but I’m happy with my progress.
The Alternative Fix
The funny thing is that once fb and insta were out, and I’d slowly lost my appetite for them, I found myself wandering around Twitter and Reddit. This wasn’t conscious either.
You see, my brain needed its fix, and it found a way to get it anyhow.
But I noticed one difference, these other platforms weren’t as depressing. Is that due to the lack of in-the-face real profiles? Maybe.
For now though, I’m enjoying my fb and insta retirement. I’ve even got a new awesome remote job, which I’m sure I was able to get because I didn’t waste my time and effort lurking around in online hells.
If you’re planning on it, I’d definitely recommend. Go for it!