Earlier this term, my phone decided it had had enough and packed up, leaving me bereft of the one thing in this world that never leaves my side. At first this was a disaster. I had to keep asking people for the time as I had no other way of telling it and I had to print off an actual paper ticket to get into Union. How the hell was I suppose to survive the rest of my everyday life without a phone? Despite this, I came to terms with my loss, and after buying myself a watch, I ultimately found this to be a blessing in disguise.
Without my little flashing notification box drawing my attention, I found that I had become more focused and productive than I ever have been since starting University. Instead of mindlessly scrolling Twitter for an hour before bed, I could now actually do my coursework without distraction. I went to the gym more often and would no longer waste precious time in between sets browsing the same old Instagram stories of nights out or food from people I hardly even know. I finished all of my assignments earlier than I ever have done this term– it’s amazing how much work you get done when you’re not staring at that little screen every five minutes.
Don’t get me wrong, smart phones are very useful, which is why I’ve got myself a new one. However, browsing social media sites for hours in a day is unproductive and can even be damaging. More and more we are seeing the negative effects of social media on society, with the steep increase in rates of depression and anxiety in young people being closely associated with the emergence of social media. Now that isn’t conclusive, and I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter, but I can safely say that taking a long-overdue detox from social media has greatly benefited both my motivation and mental health.
As we head into the new year, I know that I will be trying to reduce the time I spend on social media even more and I would strongly advise other students to do so as well. You can try putting time settings on your phone that block apps at certain times, or you can do what I do and simply leave it in your room when you go to the library, so that there is no temptation to glance at it whatsoever. Life without social media isn’t too hard I promise, and the benefits are definitely worth the sacrifice.