Just about a week ago (22nd Jan 2020), I made the decision to do a social media ban, or more specifically a ban on the usage of Instagram and Tiktok. I regularly use these apps for my pleasure and entertainment, and am guilty of turning to these platforms to relieve my boredom and escape awkward situations. Like any other youngster addicted to these social media sites, I often find myself spending hours scrolling and refreshing, constantly on the prowl for new content. Youtube was not included in this little list of exclusion because I think that’s too drastic a change seeing as how I rely quite a lot on videos to fill my empty pockets of time thanks to my 3 month long summer break. I mean, quitting cold turkey at the beginning is probably a sure way to fail just like how hardcore restrictive eating often results in yoyo dieting. On top of that, I find that Youtube can be a great learning platform especially by watching videos such as TED talks/ fitness gurus/ random trivia channels.
I can’t remember the exact reason that made me want to distance myself from social media. Maybe it’s because of the book I just read about technological addictions, or maybe it’s because some parts deep within me knows that I’m spending waaay too much time on these sites. I was the kind of person who loved posting anything and everything on Instagram. I loved taking pretty pictures with pretty filters, and somehow, felt the need to post all those pretty graphics for the rest of my followers to see. And for what? Perhaps I was craving some sort of social validation in the form of views and likes and comments. But, I decided this had to stop. I didn’t want to waste my holiday just being a couch potato all day doing nothing valuable. I wanted to be productive, to come out of this 3 months as a better person, no matter how small the change. So, I set out some tasks to do to replace the large pockets of time freed up from the lack of social media usage.
One of the things I did was to go to the library and borrow a bunch of books to read. There was a sudden desire to learn more about personal financing, budgeting, investing etc so I went ahead and borrowed related books. There was also the book Irresistible by Adam Alter, which explored the rising problem of behavioural addiction (mainly to technology). After about 5 days, I finally finished that book – hurrah for getting one step closer to my 2020 goal of reading at least 12 enriching non-fiction books! The current book that I’m reading is called Manage your money like a f***ing grown up by Sam Beckbessinger, and I’ve just recently started but so far I finally managed to truly understand terms that I never did before such as ‘bonds’, ‘equities’, ‘assets’, ‘liabilities’ etc etc. It’s also sparked greater interest to start planning my finances and do some budgeting for retirement. It might be weird to do all these now seeing as how I won’t be working until 3 years later, but it’s always better to start early. Or at least have a structural backbone to start with so that there’s something to build on and refine when the time actually comes to start putting plans into action.
The second thing I did to occupy my time was to spend more hours blogging! I have been religiously writing posts about my solo travel to Japan not long ago, and my brain has been generating more content ideas apart from travel. I’ve never realised how much I enjoyed blogging till I finally did it. I’m not sure if its a common trait amongst you guys, but I’m the kind of person who often has a voice inside my head, which can get pretty loud. Sometimes this voice spews nonsense, sometimes it incites negativity, but it also provides motivation and encouragement and occasionally, it seems to come up with wise thoughts. Blogging has become an outlet for me to release all these ‘conversations’ I have with my inner voice. And I figured it would be great to not forget what my brain has to say! I mean, maybe 10 years down the road, if I ever become boring and unmotivated, I might need to rely on whatever I am currently spewing to get me back on track. I am pretty confident that blogging is going to become a more significant part of my life in the future, since it’s one of my solutions for kicking the Instagram addiction and I have many many plans to develop more content in other areas as mentioned previously!:)
The third thing I did was to create a Google Drive folder titled “Self Improvements”. In this folder, I created a document called “Facts of the Day”. As the name suggests, it is my goal to write one fact that I’ve chanced upon each day. It can be from a newspaper, a journal article, an educational video…anything! It ranges all the way from scientific findings to random trivia like: If mice became colonised by toxoplasma gondii, they lose their fear of cats and end up being attracted to cats! This is one way that I intend to enrich my brain, by learning something new everyday so that I can use it as a conversation starter, or for awkward moments when it’s all silence and no one has anything to say. Some other things that I’ve included is another folder titled “Book Learnings”, whereby for each enriching book I read, I’d type down all the key important points I find would be useful in the future. Knowing me, without doing this, I’d remember nothing from the book I’ve read within a month’s time which means I would have wasted that time spent.
I’m not sure how long all these positive behaviours will last especially when I start University in the subsequent months with assignments piling in BUT I’m hoping I’d have the discipline to continue instead of succumbing to the lure of social media once more. After all, using my adult brain to logically think, if I can spare time to scroll through Instagram/TikTok, this means I could use that same time to blog/read/watch TED videos instead.
Currently I’m in my rare adult brain mode and this is what it thinks: It’s best to start doing all these adult-ish stuff when you’re bored and have nothing to do. Because when you’re busy and stressed out, you’ll be even less likely to have the discipline to force yourself to think about such stuff. So if you settle everything beforehand, when the time comes, it’ll be smooth like a breeze. All you need is to just do, without having to think so hard.:)