21 Days Without Social Media on My Phone

21 Day Challenge Introduction and the 80/20 Rule

You’ve heard of the 80-20 rule, right?

The 80-20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, asserts that 80% of outcomes result from 20% of all causes for any given event.

Check out this infographic from Leonie Dawson:

In business, a goal of the 80-20 rule is to identify inputs that are potentially the most productive and make them the priority.

Although the 80-20 rule is frequently used in business and economics, you can apply the concept to any field. Wealth distribution, personal finance, spending habits, and even infidelity in personal relationships can all be the subject of the 80-20 rule.

At the beginning of 2023 when I was thinking about how I wanted to market this year, I was looking at some data.

There were some winners in regards to my visibility. Here’s some pieces of how we got there…

  • On average, an Instagram or Facebook post for me gets under 200 impressions
  • My emails on the other hand, get 30%+ open rate. That’s 1,500 “impressions”. (Even if that open rate is inflated because of iOS tracking stuff, that’s still exponentially higher than a social post). Winner 1: Email list

Knowing email is a winner in regards to organic visibility per piece of content, I asked: Where do my email subscribers come from?

  • Most of my traffic comes from organic SEO. I get subscribers every day from blog posts. Winner 2: Blogging
  • The second source of new subscribers? Is when I participate in a bundle, or partner with someone. Winner 3: Networking

Some data for those last 2 bullets:

I got about 41,000 pageviews on my website last year. The top 10 visited pages from all sources accounts for 20,700+ views. Of those views, 13,400+ are specifically from blog posts and audience borrowing. That’s 65% just looking at the top 10 pages. That % goes up if I look at all pages, but that’s a lot of maths for an email newsletter.

Here’s a screenshot comparing some of my top referral sources from 2020 compared to 2022. (In 2020, I was doing a LOT of paid ads on Facebook, and I also relied on Facebook organic more.)

So, as much as I enjoy social media (less so recently), I can’t help but keep coming back to these stats.

So, I’m doing a little challenge: Following the 80/20 rule, I could put more of my energy into search engines and networking, and get more results for the same effort of social. Social platforms want more and more from us, for diminishing returns.

And this isn’t to say I think YOU need to take a break from social. I have clients who minimally market, and it’s all on social. And I’m not even leaving entirely. But for me, social is a huge investment of energy for not a lot of objective return.

Outside of work, it’s an even bigger time suck as I mindlessly scroll. I let it rob me from hours of reading, writing, creating or just being present. So, join me as I document some personal thoughts during this personal challenge.

Comment down below and let me know: What is something your heart has been telling you, that you feel some fear around doing?

Now on to daily thoughts, with the most recent at the top.

Daily Journaling

June 5, 2023

Ok, I didn’t make it through 21 days, or consistent journaling. But the verdict is in: I’m so happy I did this challenge!

Here’s what’s changing for me on social, and some other final thoughts:

Social media use: I’m going to continue to use social media for work and personal use. I’m going to keep the apps OFF my phone though, since this was a huge difference-maker in reducing the energetic drain social media was causing for me. The exception is when I want to share an IG story, so sometimes I add the app to share a story then delete it again. I know that’s goofy, and at some point I’ll delegate this.

Business focus: I’m going all in on traffic and newsletter growth. Bundles, sponsored emails, partnerships and maybe some more guest blogging. I want to create more leveraged offers and rely less on coaching for my income over time, and I’m considering doing income reports to publicly track this, which I’ve never done before. I love coaching and it’s been the main source of my business income since 2019, but lately I’ve been enjoying when I have space in my schedule. I love writing and creating in my business, and space helps me do that. I’m taking on one to three new coaching clients per month, and focusing the rest of my energy on leveraged offers.

Speaking: I feel a huge desire to speak more in person. I thought about organizing my own in-person events, but that isn’t aligned for me to focus on. There’s too many other things I’m doing that are all online, and I’m extremely prolific when it comes to those things. But I do feel called to travel and speak more, so I’m seeking out those opportunities. Lots of events need speakers, and I’m connecting with them.

May 19 – May 22

It’s safe to say this is more than a 21-day challenge. My motivation stemmed from realizing: I put a lot of energy into social for business, when the data doesn’t look like I GET a lot from that energy. Obviously I’m not off social, but having it on my desktop *only* has been really helpful.
  • Between calls now or during free time, I either read, work or create. It’s much more restful and/or productive than scrolling
  • My time spent on social media is more intentional. More group engagement for way LESS time, because I’m not scrolling short form videos (which are easier to get “stuck” in)
  • I removed the Chrome app from my phone as well, because more than email, I noticed it was another time-suck-app that blurred work and non-work lines
And this is already leading to some results:
  • Instead of posting about life when it happens, I’m savoring moments more and taking notes about them
  • I wrote my first song in over 10 years
  • It’s easier to publish weekly long form content (blogs)
  • I feel more relaxed
  • I feel more energy and motivation for in person interaction and went to a networking event last week. I’m also hosting my first in person workshop 6/14
  • Lots more reading (I love to read, but rarely finish books. I’ve finished two books recently!)
I do miss using social for personal use more often, but I think it’s a trade off for seeking connection in other ways.
I don’t plan to leave social by any means, but this kind of intentionality is what I teach in the “Boundaries Bliss” course that I hadn’t really applied.
And it feels amazingggggg.

Fun Things

My heart exploded when I saw these beads at Michael’s craft store and I almost felt like crying. Ok – actually I DID cry but only a little 🤣

I’m reading so many books and actually finishing them!!! And I wrote my first song today in over 10 years. I think reading and writing consistently the past week really helped. Along with lots of spiritual synchronicity. I’m seeing green everywhere (like, literally everywhere).

May 18, 2023

I had a really good energetic reminder today: the point of this exercise isn’t to fall into a new box somehow, or give myself rules and restrictions. The point is the opposite:

To do whatever I want.

I found myself feeling self conscious about doing anything at all on social media today, even though I felt inspired to connect in Facebook groups today.

But I’m not on a social media break: I just removed it from my phone, and removed my ENERGY from it.

The point isn’t to get off it entirely, it’s 1) to focus on the 80/20 rule AND 2) free up time and energy for more valuable things. But as I mentioned above, one of my biggest sources of leads in the last 3 years is partnerships. And one of the easiest ways to find new ones: Facebook groups.

I’ve had this thought before. If I were to totally stop posting on my page and IG (which I don’t know if I will), there’s reasons I may still want groups. And for ages in my business, ads + my group were the ONLY social I used.

And this led me to realize, the biggest time sucks that I’ve removed have been:

  • IG scrolling
  • Tiktok scrolling
  • Facebook feed scrolling

May 16, 2023

Yesterday I sent an email to my subscribers letting them know about this 21 day challenge (removing social media from my phone).

It felt vulnerable to share. What if I go back to using social? What if people expect me to do this challenge differently? What if my social followers don’t want to be email subscribers?

A client asked me today if she should start blogging, and my answer was:

  • What does the data say?
  • What are you interested in?
  • What does your heart say?

And so that’s why I’m doing this experiment.

Because the data says it might be a thing. My interest says it might be a thing. And my heart says it might be a thing.

Random thoughts:

  • The slow sensors of automatic sinks in public bathrooms makes me rage-y
  • My juror number today is 33, and my receipt at the cafe was $3.33

May 14, 2023

Who am I if I don’t tell you in a Facebook post?

One thing I’ve noticed about deleting social media apps from my phone is that I HAVE to write somewhere. I used my notes app to capture the bullets below, and I have journals in both my office and the bathtub.

The fear is that without writing and sharing, I will lose the thoughts and moments I have.

Even though posting the thoughts and moments on social media doesn’t help me remember any more easily, it does give me a sense of safety. But it feels a bit like hoarding does. I’ve used social media to “collect” moments because it makes me feel safe. But the irony is how little / how infrequently I value what I’m actually collecting.

I read somewhere that social media impacts our memory. Is that why it’s so easy to become numb? Or is it our desire to be numb that encourages our use of endless scrolling?

I don’t know yet if I have a problem with social media in general. I love how connected it makes me feel at times, especially in the past. I’ve gained a ton of valuable resources, knowledge and connections because of social media. AND: a switch flipped at some point. I feel the way I use social media today robs me of real experiences and joy in my life offline.

So.

Who am I if I don’t tell you in a Facebook post?

May 13, 2023

  • Went to a drum circle and met a new potential friend with great energy. When I added her to my phone, I realized it has been months or years since I added a new contact (because of my avoidance of texts/calls and use of social)
  • I wanted to share my “book of the month” club link, but I didn’t want to log in to Facebook
  • I feel light and easy in my body. I feel relief at my commitment to have deleted social from my phone
  • I actually downloaded TikTok last night (Friday), and the one time I logged in today it was something extremely triggering. A video of a woman paining in her living room. She’s on a step ladder facing a window. Her son approached from behind and shot her with what looked like nerf gun. It startled her – and she backwards off the ladder, while a bucket of paint drenched her face, clothing, then finally, coated her leather couch. She was screaming in agony – from the pain of falling, from the startling of being drenched in paint, and finally from her grief about her coach. “NOOOOOOOOOOO” she sobbed. The caption to the video was simply: “Kids 😈”. I almost felt like crying too, and deleted tiktok immediately

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