Week long social media cleanse proves successful

October 17, 2019 — by Shreya Katkere

The biggest obstacle that gets in the way of my productivity is social media, as I am always on Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook. Since I am constantly checking these apps, it has always been a challenge for me to put my phone away when I have to focus on my work. 

As a senior, first semester is incredibly important. I have to write college essays and finish my standardized testing, while also staying on top of my work for classes. I decided that in order to maximize my productivity during this critical time, I had to cut out social media completely from my life. 

I have tried deleting Instagram in the past but  ended up reinstalling the app within a day or two. Whenever I have Instagram installed, I probably spend about two hours a day on it. I am aware that this type of dependency on social media is not healthy, so in order to break this habit I needed to stay off of the app. 

Homecoming week was the perfect time to try this out. I had no tests in any classes, which is why I wanted to take advantage of my free time to work on college essays instead of spending time scrolling through social media. 

I deleted Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube from my phone. I had to keep Facebook and Messenger, since many of my classes and extracurriculars use Facebook to communicate. 

My goal was to stay off social media until school was over on Sept. 27, the last day of Homecoming week. I didn’t want to spend any longer than a week, considering that the longest I have stayed off social media was three days, during the school’s Catalina trip during February break.

My social media cleanse on Monday and Tuesday was a breeze. I had so much work from my classes that I didn’t even have any urges to check Instagram or Snapchat. By Tuesday night, I realized how much more productive I was compared to the past week. I had completed a supplemental essay and all my homework thoroughly. 

By Wednesday and Thursday, I was tired. I was ready for the challenge to end. I had more trouble staying off social media because I was starting to feel burned out. Even though I didn’t have any tests, there were many homework assignments and projects I had to complete. It would have been nice to have access to social media when I was taking breaks from my work. 

Finally, Friday arrived — I was on the last day of my challenge. I was excited to finally download the social media apps back on my phone once the bell sounded at 2:10. 

After having a very productive week, I felt thankful that I had committed to not using social media. I did install Instagram and Snapchat back during the weekend to communicate with my friends and see people’s posts. However, I kept YouTube deleted permanently because it wastes the most of my time and it is not really useful to me. 

I recommend that other students evaluate what apps actually serve them a practical purpose and delete all the apps that don’t fall under that category. Especially during stressful weeks, implementing these changes will greatly help to increase productivity.

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.

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