Detox days are a perk the Lightspan team is incredibly lucky to have. Once a quarter, we get an extra day off where we are required to avoid social media and email (both personal and work-related) and are strongly discouraged from using our smartphones at all. I am living proof that it’s an extremely effective way to avoid social media burnout.
I refused to believe that I needed one in my first quarter as a social media community manager — I guess I was afraid that it would make me look weak or something. On one particularly stressful day, Mana made an announcement (ever so discreetly directed at me) to remind us to use our mandatory detox day soon. Wanting to please my caring boss, I eventually folded and put in a vacation request for the following Friday.
I went all out. I slept in, tried to get my hands on one of those elusive wonuts, got a massage, walked all over Lakeview and shopped before meeting some friends for a low key birthday and Blackhawks celebration. By the end of the day, the number in that little red notification circle above my mail app icon was in the 80s and 50 some odd of them were work-related. After realizing that, no, none of my clients experienced some sort of crisis, it took a while to process that I really sift through that many emails on a normal weekday. Probably more, actually, because all of my clients knew I wasn’t going to be available.
Upon replying to a coworker at 12:30am, I was informed “that’s not how detox days work.” Whatever, Valerie, like you don’t check work emails after hours.
Whether or not my detox day was completely proper, I cannot praise the genius of this practice enough. The week following my anti-burnout day was crazy productive and the effect is still going strong (I’m currently on a 3 time winning streak for internal contests based on the results of our work. No big deal.).
Aside from tangible work benefits, taking a detox day really opens your eyes to how real social media burnout and addiction are. We’ve all seen the studies and high-profile detoxes (like the one by CNN producer Kiran Khalid), but like any other addiction it’s hard to see just how bad it is on a personal level. As a person who regularly embarasses herself on first dates by admitting how much time I spend on the internet, you’d think I wouldn’t have needed a 24-hour break to finally address my problem.
You don’t need yet another person telling you this, though. You need to experience it for yourself, so I have just one more thing to say: Do it. Bulk schedule your posts and step away.
(And, no, I didn’t get there in time for a wonut.)