9 Productive Alternatives To Social Media: Take Your Time Back!

I have been taking my break from social media and I wanted to fill you in on how it’s been going. In a word…PRODUCTIVE. It’s incredible how much you can accomplish when you eliminate social media from your life. I knew I was spending too much time on it, but I never considered everything else I coulbe doing. Of course I’ll be signing back on soon. I miss you guys way too much. But I’m giving myself at least a week to fully “detox”, as I like to call it.

Like I explained in my last blog post, I am taking a break from social media because I need to get myself back to happy. And social media wasn’t helping. In fact, it was doing the opposite of helping. So, I quit. And I’ve been making a concerted effort to replace it with more meaningful tasks.

Another added benefit is that my husband is becoming more mindful of his social media use. He became more aware of how much he was using it since I wasn’t on it. Like before bed, when we both usually scroll through our phones until our eyes get too tired and eventually close. It only took one day for him to put the phone down and pick up a book instead. So the break isn’t just helping me get back to my own brand of happy, but its also encouraging those around me to do the same.

TAKE YOUR TIME BACK! Check out these 9 productive alternatives to social media.

Since quitting social media, I’ve noticed how often I used to be on it based on how often I unlock my phone and search for all the apps I’ve deleted. My thumbs continue to search through my screen whenever I have a single, solidarity moment of down time. At first, I tried to turn those moments into opportunities to do something active. Get up and do the dishes. Write that blog post I’d been putting off. Tackle that pile of papers on my desk. However, I am still navigating around my situational depression, which leaves me with less energy and motivation. Sometimes I do just want to sit and scroll through my phone. So I’ve found some more productive ways to use that downtime that don’t involve social media.

Here are some things I’ve been doing since quitting social media.

Podcasts

Everyone is talking about podcasts lately. I only recently gotten into them, but they’re great. I can listen to them in the background as I work or when I’m taking a break from work. They really help me feel less alone when I work from home, since I usually don’t talk to any other adults all day.  They also help me stay informed and up-to-date on what’s happening in the world, without having to consume whatever shows up in my news feed. As much as I carefully curate who and what I follow online, I’ve still been getting a lot of garbage on there and its bumming me out in a major way. Listening to podcasts gives me a chance to consume information from specific sources that I trust. My absolute favorite podcast right now is Call Your Girlfriend. These girls speak my language. Here’s a list of a few other podcasts you can try!

Books

I used to devour books. Ever since I was a kid, books were always my outlet. I love to read! But I haven’t been as active of a reader lately. So, whenever I find myself reaching for my phone these days, I reach for a book instead. Between me and my husband, we have an enormous book collection. Piles of books litter our home. Some that we’ve read, some that we haven’t. One of our favorite pastimes is to go to thrift stores and collect used books and vinyls. No matter what mood I’m in, I have a book to fill the void. Right now I’m re-reading this one. I read it in college and I’ve always hung on to it because I knew I’d need it again. When I just need something quick to read through before bed, I reach for this guy. I’ll even read it out loud to my husband, if he’s up for it. I also have a long list of books I plan to read, so I’m never without options. Currently on my wishlist: This book, since we’re trying to get pregnant. This book, because I’m obsessed with her. And this book, because I want to be her when I grow up. I’ve also been recently recommended to listen to this book on Audible. I still need to figure out Audible, but everyone has been telling me to get on it. I’m just such a sucker for books I can hold in my hands and bend and fold and hug and smell.

social media detox

Netflix

Haha! Hey, here’s a blog about how to be productive. Lesson 1: watch more Netflix. I know, it sounds like a joke. But I’m being serious. If you’ve been touched by depression, you understand that sometimes you can’t bring yourself to do much of anything. You can’t get up off the couch, let alone focus on a book or go to a yoga class. In those moments, it’s reeeeaallly easy to just reach for your phone and start mindlessly scrolling. So, I had to come up with a better option. For me, that was Netflix. I’ll re-watch a few episodes of my favorite shows and get my smile back on 🙂 At first I felt guilty for doing this. Who am I to sit on the couch in the middle of the afternoon watching TV?! But if I weren’t doing that, I’d still be on the couch. But instead of laughing at the TV, I’d be frowning at my phone. Sometimes, you just need a good pick-me-up in the middle of the day and TV does the trick for me. My favorite shows to watch? New Girl, The Office + Friends.

Games

I’ve never been much of a game person. I don’t have the patience for it. And I also hate losing. But, I needed something to click on when I would grab my phone. I’m still searching for the best game for me. But so far, I’ve tried this one and this one and they’ve kept me busy enough. If you have any recommendations, please share!! You can leave them in the comments below.

Journaling

If I’m being honest, this is something I should be doing a lot more of. But, if I’m being honest…I’m not. However, I have picked up my journal and written these past few days a whole lot more than usual. I’ve kept journals since I was kid. And I’ve always had a sporadic relationship with the habit. I use it when I need to. But, I am making an effort to be more consistent with it. I’ll keep you posted on how that’s going. For now, I’ll tell you it really helps get the noise out of my brain. My plan is to write every day in an effort to work out the shift I’m trying to make for my blog + biz. I have messy piles of ideas stored up in my head and I need to get them out and organized so I can start executing.

Friends

“Social” media? Yeah, that’s a joke. I know this is a concept that’s been getting a lot of air time lately, and I’ve written a few times about it myself (like here, here, here + here). Since taking a break from social media, I’ve found so much more time for my friends and family. Making plans, going out. It’s been great! I finally have the semblance of a social life again. A real social life, away from the screen. I know my circumstances might be unique. But as a business owner who spends the majority of her time online making connections & networking via social media, I have found myself feeling completely isolated. It was starting to feel like all of my relationships were with people online, people I have never even met IRL. So, now when I have some downtime and I find myself reaching for my phone…I do reach for it! To call my girlfriends and catch up. To send a group text and make plans. To ask my neighbors what they’re doing this week. To plan a dinner party at my house. I have been having SO much fun with friends lately and none of it has been shared online. It felt weird at first. Like I should be documenting my Friday night at the food trucks or the drum circle we hosted at our place and share with people online. And the truth is, I like documenting those things and sharing them with my audience. Because that’s what my brand of happy is. Crafting my own happy lifestyle and sharing it with everyone to serve as an example of how they can do the same. But for now, it’s been fun keeping those moments to myself. Living online blurs the line between what we want to keep private and what we want to share. This hiatus is giving me the space to define that line for myself.

Blogs

SHARE YOUR BLOG IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE! Guys, I’m serious. I want to read your blog. If you’re not a blogger, share your favorite blog to read + follow. I’m used to having my favorite bloggers pop up in my IG and FB newsfeeds, so I’ve been bookmarking my faves to read when I have downtime. This girl is one of my faves! This one, too!

Pinterest

I feel like this suggestion is almost as funny as the Netflix one. But at least I can pretend like I’m on Pinterest for business-related reasons. And the truth is, most of the time I am. I use Pinterest to boost my blog traffic and in order to do that I need to keep my boards populated. However, if I’m being totally honest with you guys, I also use the platform to plan out all my future home projects, prep for the baby I’m trying to have and collect vegan recipes. In those moments where all I can do is scroll through my phone (waiting for someone at a coffee shop, waiting at the doctors office, waiting for the microwave to beep), Pinterest saves the day! And I know, I don’t neeeed to be scrolling through my phone in those moments. I could just people watch, or think about things, or stare at the wall…but who the hell does that?! More often than not, if we find ourselves alone and waiting for something, our first instinct is to grab our phone and stare at it. Rather than denying that impulse, I just redirect it. I redirect it to pretty nurseries, vegan brownies and closet make-overs.

Biz Development

I’m laughing to myself right now that this is the last item on my list, since it’s literally all I can ever think about. But, like I mentioned before, lately all of my biz dev ideas have been cluttered and messy. I can’t seem to grab on to one and run with it. However, I’m always always always working on making this blog better for you guys. My list of content ideas continues to grow the more I see what you all engage with. I write and share the bits + pieces of my life because I see that it helps you feel less alone. I share my tips + tricks for running a business to prove to you that it’s possible. So, rest assured, that a moment doesn’t pass when I’m not thinking about what to share with you next. And, with this social media detox, it’s given me more time to organize my thoughts. Usually, I share ideas as soon as they pop into my head. And that’s not a bad thing. I love working things out with you guys in real time in the group and on my page. But this break has given me the space to really collect my thoughts and I already know that I’ll be coming back to you better and stronger than before.

Have you done a social media detox before? What are some of things you like to do instead of scrolling through news feeds and the filtered highlight reels everyone shares? Let me know in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “9 Productive Alternatives To Social Media: Take Your Time Back!

  1. Susan Kelley

    A game that I enjoy playing on my phone is Peak. I only have the free version, and that’s fine with me. It is filled with brain challenging games that are supposed to access certain parts of the brain – emotion, memory, etc. The free version only gives you 4 games to play each day, but that keeps me from sitting there for hours on end trying to beat myself!

    My fave part of the game: comparing my brain map results with other peeps my age, or other artists, or someone in another age group or field of work!

    • Lauren

      Hey Susan! This is a great game suggestion. I’ll be sure to check it out 🙂 Sounds like the type of game that’ll keep me busy. Thanks!

  2. these are some great ideas! I should take the plunge and get rid of social media. There is a fear of feeling disconnected with the world but im sure not having it would actually make me feel more connected!? Have you felt at all that leaving it has hurt business connections at all?

    • Lauren Ellman

      Thanks so much for reaching out, Nicola! It hasn’t hurt my biz connections at all! I made sure to announce when I’d be taking a break and let my audience know they could still reach me via email. And that actually strengthened my relationship with them and allowed for us to have more personalized communication. And I honestly did it at a time where I wanted to feel disconnected from the world. I was seeing way too much scary stuff on there. So I stepped away and REconnected with everything that matters to me. Made dates with my friends to chat and hang out, invited people over, hosted dinner parties, etc. I really felt MORE connected with MY world than ever before 🙂 If you need any support while you take a break, I’d be happy to chat more about it. Feel free to email me at lauren@loeyllc.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *