I posted my story on the no surf subreddit a few months ago, and was asked to post it here as well! So here it is:
I cut out all social media (Instagram, FB, Snapchat), news websites, reddit, Netflix and Youtube since this is what I mainly wasted time on.
I kept e-mail, school related things, online banking, online library reserving system, google drive, directions, WhatsApp for communication with groups, etc. just practical things that wouldn’t give me that dopamine rush.
I did it during a week where I had no work or school, so it really forced me to find ways to occupy myself during the day.
It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The biggest thing I noticed was on days I didn’t leave my house, I felt extremely lonely and wanted to go on the Internet to feel connected. However, on days I went out and interacted with people face to face, I didn’t miss it at all.
I read 2.5 books in one week alone.
I read 4 chapters for one my school courses in advance even though school didn’t start until today.
I meditated every day for 30 minutes.
I initially was going to use newspapers to stay on top of the news but since there were days I didn’t leave my house at all (except for the gym), I listened to podcasts instead. This definitely helped me retain the information better as opposed to just skimming through news headlines on the Internet. It really forced me to listen to each story through Interviews, opinions, etc. and retain the info.
For entertainment, I would either read, do Sudoku, or work on a paint-by-number kit. Sometimes I worked out at the gym if I was bored and restless.
I spent a lot of time cleaning and organizing my life- creating a budget for the year, creating lists of things I wanted to accomplish, etc.
My attention span definitely improved. I found myself being able to read for longer periods of time without distractions.
My mood was fantastic. I had some days where I was lonely but it forced me to find ways to communicate with people on a daily basis, reaching out to friends, talking to my mom, etc. did the trick.
Mindfulness during the day was a lot easier to maintain.
[*]I didn’t “think” as much. My thoughts mainly revolved around the news, my goals, planning, and the books I was reading. Cutting out the constant information that social media and reddit provided definitely cut the amount of things I could think about.
I broke it today because I wanted to watch some educational YT videos on keto diet and thought I would come on Reddit to update. I found that my Reddit feed gave me way too much anxiety since it was too much information thrown at me at once, most of being useless (pictures/memes especially). I unsubscribed from most subreddits and am now down to 17 subreddits- all either educational or discussion based.
Going forward, I think I’ll allow myself to watch YT videos only if it’s educational. I’m a visual learner and if I want to know more about something, I find watching a video or lecture helps me understand better. I used to watch vloggers and YTers all day which added no value at all. I’ll also limit my Reddit usage to maybe just weekends or if I want to read a discussion on a certain topic, I’ll go to that subreddit. I think Reddit is useful in this way. If there’s a topic and you want to know what other people think about it or want to know other people’s experiences, then it’s useful to go to subreddits and read that information. However, the constant refreshing of your front page feed is probably what the harmful aspect of it- skimming titles without reading more about them, reading article comments without bothering to read the articles, etc. I’ll continue listening to podcasts for news and other cool Interview based ones (I like Sam Harris’ “Waking Up” podcasts for example) because I found I did learn a lot from it. Now that I’m starting work and school, 70% of my time will be dedicated to that anyway. I want to make the other 30% on things that continue to improve me, whether it be meditation, reading books, working out, or learning something new through research.
Anyway, thank you for reading!