Dopamine Detox — Life Without Social Media

Unplugged, aka life beyond social media notifications

Image by the author using Canva Pro

Ever feel like you're drowning in a sea of notifications?

That was me until April 2023.

Odd, but my heart was racing.

Then, I took a deep breath.

Today is the day, I told myself.

In April 2023, I finally deleted Twitter (I mean, X — as it needs to be called now) from my phone.

Then I deleted TikTok (2 accounts).

Then I deleted Instagram — my UX design account.

The shocking math behind my social media quit

I read an article about quitting social media, and in the comment section, someone calculated the math.

2 hours a day on social media means 730 hours a year or almost 2 full months a year.

We can all calculate the math, but sometimes you need to hear things multiple times to register the information finally.

730 hours a year!

According to the language difficulty system, I can learn French in 730 hours.

You could write a book in 730 hours :

NaNoWriMo: Writing 50,000 Words in 30 Days

I thought, what a waste of time!

I don't want to spend my time doomscrolling for 730 hours a year.

If you're like me and love stats, check your phone screen time. I'm an iPhone user, so the weekly and daily average of my most used apps' stats made me feel embarrassed about how much time I spent on social media apps (TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter).

If you're addicted to social media, don't feel bad. It's not your fault. Apps are designed to get you hooked.

The social media juggling act — is it worth it?

Do you ever feel that nagging pressure to be everywhere on social media?

Yeah, me too.

But let's get real.

If you're a one-person show like me and juggling a 9-to-5, a side hustle, and chasing after kids or pets (or both, if you're ambitious), being present on all social media with valuable content is a dream.

If you're starting out building your side gig and want to be everywhere, you only have 3 options:

  • Outsource some of the scheduling, editing, and admin
  • Pay for automation tools
  • Sacrifice lots of your FFF time (family, fun, and free time)

The 4-hour workweek or building on the side only 2 hours a day sounds like a lie because you can't do it without investing lots of money.

But if you want to give it a whirl, go for it.

I know I couldn't pull it off without feeling overwhelmed and sacrificing tons.

So I picked only 2 platforms to consume (and create content for): Medium and YouTube.

The dopamine detox myth in social media

You might've heard about dopamine detox — it sounds trendy, right?

In simple terms, dopamine is our brain's feel-good messenger. It's why we get a thrill from notifications and likes on social media.

We need dopamine to think, plan, focus, and feel good.

Going on a dopamine detox isn't about cutting it out entirely — that's impossible (nor would you want it to be).

The real goal is to limit those quick feel-good moments from endless scrolling and switch them for healthier dopamine boosts, like taking a walk in nature.

It's not about giving up the feel-goods but finding better ways to get them.

Speaking of dopamine and feeling good, I want to share what life feels like without that constant buzz of pings.

Life beyond the notifications

I had an 'aha' moment.

I'm not missing out much without social media.

I know, shocker, right?

Some ask me, 'Hey, isn't YouTube and Medium social media?'

Well, not in my book.

Sure, they have a social aspect and are a little chatty, but I'm here to learn and get inspired by awesome writers' stories. Medium and YouTube provide value to me. I genuinely enjoy engaging with people here (and on YouTube too).

Mindlessly scrolling for hours every day?

I don't miss that. At all.

Of course, I had my FOMO phase. LinkedIn seemed like a good distraction. But that place… there's something weird about LinkedIn. I don't know about you, but I need to force myself to stay there for longer than 10 minutes. So, no addictive candy there.

My Instagram is now super exclusive — it's just for sharing snippets of my immigrant life with my mom. VIP access only. But that's about it.

While I can't tell you how to spend the hours you get back when not being glued to the phone, here's a sneak peek of how I've been spending my time:

  • I read more.
  • I write more.
  • I am studying a new language.
  • I'm slowly becoming a master chef by cooking more homemade meals.
  • And, I walk more. Because, well, fresh air and it's good for me.

Since my 'social media dopamine detox,' I feel more in the moment. I feel more present. I feel more aware of what I'm doing.

It’s like my brain just got an upgrade.

Three months in, I'm perfectly fine without these apps.

As for platform X, that's a different story. I might pop by when I can trust myself not to spiral down a rabbit hole of tweets (or are we supposed to call them posts now?). Until then, no bird app for me.

If you're new to me, my name is Niki. Writing about my solopreneur experiments and adventures is one of my favourite things to do. If you'd like to know more about me:

About - Niki Tisza

If you're also working on your side hustle, you will enjoy my ebook experiment too:

A Year of Selling eBooks on Gumroad — Here's What Doesn't Work

aka. how not to sell ebooks on Gumroad