I’m not going to lie, the media binge and fast were really hard to do back to back. I guess it was better to start with the binge, and then give myself a break with the fast. I will admit that I think I’m already always on social media, so I didn’t think the binge was going to be that challenging. I happily watched away a million videos on YouTube, and spent way more time than I’m willing to admit on social media. But I started to notice that I was becoming even more unproductive than usual. The binge definitely affected how much effort and thought I was putting into assignments/studying for tests. I noticed that I was getting screen headaches from looking at my computer while I was watching YouTube videos and Netflix, and a few times I had to take a break, because my brain needed a break! I made it a point to facetime my friends instead of text them, so that was kind of fun. Other than interacting with my friends a bit differently there wasn’t too many benefits. I guess the biggest benefit I had was being able to keep up with what was going on in the news because I was constantly getting bored with the same ten media sites that I usually visit, so I would visit the New York Times/The New Yorker. I will say that this happening during this time of the year was good because at least I felt more motivated to study for finals and whatnot, and so I had a “required” distraction when I needed one.
I was interested to see how the media binge was going to go. Thankfully after overdosing on social media I was ready for a break. But there were some downsides to this binge. Some things I missed out when I was “fasting” included; not seeing my favorite daily vlogger’s vlogs, seeing what my old friends were up to, and browsing instagram. The hardest by far to cut out of this media diet was Spotify. I am constantly listening to music. When I’m walking to class, working out, and driving around, I’m always listening to my music on Spotify. I did cheat a little with the music, but I cut down a lot.
The media fast did open my eyes to the world around me. I was no longer one of those kids walking to class with my head down looking at my phone. It was actually kind of interesting to see just how many people were caught up in their cell phones. Anyways, my friends even participated a little bit in the challenge. I hosted a “disconnected” night at my apartment and my friends and I had a cell-phone free dinner, and played board games for a couple hours. It was (surprisingly) really fun, and it was nice to connect with my friends on a non-distracted level.
I also felt less distracted as I was only using my MacBook to type of papers and do research for my classes. When I’m usually typing up my papers, I have about five tabs opened to different distractions such as social media, blogs, and youtube videos, so that I can take a break every two minutes. Ha. But I was a lot more productive and procrastinated a lot less when I didn’t allow myself to do that.
Along with being more productive, I felt that I went to sleep earlier. Usually after I get into my bed I spend about thirty minutes browsing through reddit and instagram. With my self-control I was able to hop in bed and go to sleep. I felt a bit more rested during the days of the media fast for sure.