[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Angela Mastrogiacomo.]
Social media—what a love/hate relationship, am I right? Honestly, sometimes I find myself so happy to sink into my couch and mindlessly scroll through Instagram, or participate in Facebook Groups—I’m so inspired and encouraged!
Then, other times I’ll sit down to write out a post or just log on to see what everyone is up to and suddenly I can’t stand it. I turn into someone who just doesn’t want anything to do with social media, and it legitimately changes my mood.
All of those emotions—from an app.
I know you’ve been there too. Because the truth is, most of us struggle with this. Depending on the day, the hour, whatever is happening in our lives, we have a very tumultuous relationship with social media. And it’s eating away at us in a rather unhealthy way.
Now, the first time I ever heard of a social media detox was a few years ago. I had friends that would bravely declare they were deleting Facebook or taking a hiatus from IG for a few months, and I would think, “That’s amazing. Good for them,” but also, “How are they keeping their business running that way? How will they keep up with friends?” — and so I’d salute them but, you know, keep on scrollin’.
These days, I understand more than ever the need for a detox. So, let’s talk about what a social media detox might look like and why it might actually be the best thing you can do for your career.
Consider deleting it part time
I was talking to a friend recently who was telling me her secret to boundaries—this is someone running a multi-million dollar a year PR company, mind you—and she said that every evening, and every weekend, she deletes social media from her phone. She knows she’ll be tempted to check it and she wants her weekends and evenings to be spent doing the things that are most meaningful to her ‘as a person’—not ‘her as a business owner’. (And that is a very important distinction to make.)
I thought this was brilliant. I’d never heard of anyone temporarily deleting the apps before, but it makes perfect sense.
If you’re someone who struggles with not checking that notification, not answering that message, just not being able to look away, consider deleting it part time. This will look differently for each of us depending on what your schedule is in terms of making music/promoting music/managing your career and whatever you consider to be your ‘down time’.
It might feel weird and maybe even a little scary at first, but imagine how much more in-the-moment and at peace you’ll be without that constant buzzing of a new notification.
Set “office hours”
If you’re not into deleting it just yet, that’s OK!
Consider setting “office hours” so that you’re not constantly checking your phone. After all, it’s not easy to focus or really get things done when you’re constantly stopping to answer messages or see what Mary down the street is doing. Still, you might feel like you need to check in, do your post, add to your stories, and that’s a fair point. Here’s where the office hours concept comes in.
You know yourself best, so set a schedule that works. Once a day, once a week, whatever you want. Personally, I find throughout the day to be best, so I can make sure I’m able to answer anything that comes through.
- 10 minute check in at 8am
- 20 minute check in at lunchtime
- 30 minute check in at 3pm
…and then that’s it. I’m done for the day. Any posting, responding, etc happens during those times and that’s that.
On the flip side, if I need to be on there for a little bit, (like if I’m going on to answer DMs and network), I might set aside an hour or two to just go through and have conversations with people in the DMs or comment a certain hashtag. It’s OK to do that once or twice a week for longer sessions, the goal is just to keep within those set hours.
Get comfortable with being unreachable
It is super uncomfortable for a lot of us to feel ‘unreachable’.
It’s why for some, just straight up deleting the apps sometimes works best, because it’s just too stressful to see notifications come through and just ignore them. This is one of my biggest stressors personally, is seeing 10, 20, 30 messages piling up in multiple inboxes, (my God, one was enough, but now we have email, Facebook messenger, Instagram messenger, and that’s just scratching the surface!).
But I’m also not at the stage of deleting my socials, so for now, I’m using it as an exercise in getting comfortable with just not being available to everyone all the time. I am putting myself first as a priority, and trusting that the right people are not going to lose their minds if it takes me a day or three days to respond.
My golden rule now is: if this person is not sitting there stressing over how their behavior affects me, then I definitely don’t need to be worrying about them.
As you work to find a balance within your personal and professional life, keeping up with friends/family and promoting your music, consider what a social media detox might look like to you.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR and THRIVE mentorship community. Grab her workshop ‘How to Make Money Online in the Music Industry’ for even more money-making strategies.