What Happened When I Tried A 3 Day Notification Detox


As I prepared for vacation, I realized how much my daily life had turned into a routine, and that routine has fostered both good and bad habits. I noticed that I have a serious tendency to constantly check my phone and binge social media for hours throughout the day. While also trying to generate content for my fitness page, I get sucked into this wormhole of videos and pictures and tweets for some solid time. And then I emerge from the time suck to find that I have not moved, spoken, or interacted with my surroundings in a while. For my vacation, I decided to try a notification detox. I had three principles for myself: I would not look at Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram. No notifications from said sites. Phone on do-not-disturb for 90% of the time. I was going all in.

I was shooting for three days: Monday through Wednesday. I documented what each of those days looked like below, and let's just say, INSERT

Day 1

I use my phone a lot when I had nothing else to do: sitting in the car while my boyfriend drives, waiting for someone, you get the idea. This didn't automatically stop the first day of my detox. Any time that I wasn't actively engaging with someone, I was using my phone.

I also noticed a crazy amount of FOMO. I felt like I was missing out on everyone and everything because I wasn't checking up on them. It lead me to actively text the people I care about and see how they were doing. After all, I couldn't get a sense any other way. It felt nice to have actual conversations, even if they weren't face-to-face, rather than just guessing from some pictures.

Eventually, I stopped reaching for my phone every couple of minutes. I can't believe how often my fingertips reach for my screen. How often I feel the urge to check things. I felt lighter not feeling the itch to check my phone. I checked my phone every couple of hours instead minutes. The trip felt longer, but I also feel like I noticed more.

Day 2

Falling asleep the first night was so easy. Not laying in bed on my screen helped my mind quiet much faster. (Bonus points that my vacation suite had a king-sized bed.) But this morning it was like I was on autopilot. I immediately picked up my phone and tapped on Instagram's icon. Before anything loaded, I realized what was happening and closed my app. But yikes! Just like that, one of the first things I wanted to do this morning was check up on whatever I missed.

As the day progressed, what was a nice change was that my phone battery hasn't needed to be recharged during the day at all. It had been to breakfast, the beach, and everywhere else. I actually lost my phone for a couple of hours. I felt unbothered and like my world was less noisy.

Day 3

I can say that I missed social media by this point. Sue me: I enjoy seeing what people are up to. I understand that the power lies in moderation. I do feel much more focused on daily tasks without my phone constantly pinging or feeling the constant need to reach for it. I really enjoyed doing this whole thing. It was tough. But I definitely think I will adopt the mindset that it is okay to not constantly be on my phone. I definitely enjoyed vacation more. I learned more about myself and my partner and really set some future goals. Checking out from social media reminds you that there is an entire world above your phone and things can be really interesting if you let them be.

Going forward I am going to actively try to limit my time on my phone. Less time scrolling and more time doing things. That's the goal.