Next 30 day challenge: social media/news cleanse

For January 2015, I tried to declutter around the house for 15 minutes a day. We now have a couple rooms that are much cleaner, and I gave away a bunch of magazines.

For February 2015, my 30 day challenge was to go on daily 15 minute walks with my wife. That was nice.

Lately I’ve been spending more time than I’d like on social media and reading news sites. So for March 2015, I’m going to do a social media and news cleanse. I’ve done a social media cleanse several times before and it’s usually quite helpful for getting re-centered.

Here’s the steps that I’m taking:
– I’m using the StayFocusd Chrome extension to limit myself to 15 minutes a day of Google News, Twitter, Google+, Hacker News, Techmeme, Nuzzel, Reddit, and Imgur.
– On my R7000 home router I’m using the “block site” functionality for several of these sites. It looks like the R7000 can block HTTP sites, but not HTTPS.
– On my phone, I’m removing the new tab thumbnails for these sites. I’m also removing some social media apps from my home screen.

I figure that either I’ll get some good stuff done, read a lot of books, or die of boredom. I may (rarely) drop a link on social media, but if you see me just hanging out, please remind me to close my tab and move on. πŸ™‚

60 Responses to Next 30 day challenge: social media/news cleanse (Leave a comment)

  1. That’s cool Matt πŸ™‚ I personally never really got into news, but I managed to keep myself from watching TV which was pretty neat. I haven’t watched TV in about 2 years now!

    I’m not sure if I could keep myself from social media though :-/ Sometimes I find I’m waiting somewhere and I want some form of entertainment when I’m waiting (this usually happens on a daily basis).

  2. Hi matt,
    You doing very cool.
    Your challenges are awesome.

  3. Hi Matt,

    I use Gas Mask on my Mac (edits the local hosts file) to redirect my fav procrastination sites to (sites come up as MAMP default page). I also have in Gas Mask separate “Home” and “Work” host files so I can turn of redirection when I want to. I have found that I tend to “automatically” go to news and social media sites without thinking about it throughout the day and doing it this way help me to remember that it’s work time, not play time.


  4. Hi Matt !

    Nice to know you are working on cleanliness. Yes, I do believe cleansing social media can improve web and our productivity. Good initiative.

    Wishing you all the best !

  5. [ Smiles ] Matt, I wish you all the best with your 30 day challenge.

    Also, I think that taking a 15 minutes walk with your wife is a great idea; since it would allow the both of you to get some physical exercise.

  6. Hey Matt,

    I too am doing a social media cleanse and placing more focus on spending time with friends and family that are actually physically around me. One day a week, our house has a no-technology day… we go back to life in 1985. No internet, no cell phone, no picking up the device to get instant gratification from random thoughts, and no mindless TV surfing. You’d be surprised how much time you spend actually end up talking face to face with people. You may want to take a look at some apps that monitor your phone usage and help you set usage goals and limits. The one I use for Android is called “BreakFree”. Good stuff, Matt. Keep it up!

  7. Big thanks for the StayFocusd tip Matt! I just added the extension. Awesome! How much would world productivity levels be boosted by if this was a mandatory extension in every workplace?!

  8. enviable, but somehow today I felt hard off of the internet, especially in blogging activity, because that’s my job

    btw, good luck with your challenge

  9. Its good to stay away from all techie things and spending time with family. I love to spend more time with my family. Hope you also loved those moments when you’re with your wife.

  10. Go for it Matt! It is really tough and even punishing to stay from social media websites and news websites. I haven’t been able to get rid of this non productive habit. But taking a cue from you, I also want to jump in the fray and try it out for the next 30 days. After that I will limit the social media and news websites access during weekends only.

  11. This a good initiative and go ahead. Let your productivity increase and help you live a balanced life in all sense.

  12. Giridhar Gangapuram

    It’s an cool idea Matt and sounds good that your going for Social media and news cleanse which are in boom. Can you please let us know is Google Panda looks into contents & images posted in Social media and news sites..?

    I am wishing you all the best for your 30 day challenge and hope you’d gather and study better stuff..! πŸ™‚

  13. You could edit you /etc/hosts file to block website by pointing them locally or to some other IP.

  14. Hello Matt, first time commenter on your blog. I recall cleansing myself of the social virus sometimes referred to as Facebook about a year ago, and at first it was strange, I felt as though I were constantly missing out on what was happening or something, but after about a week or two, and looking back, I now wonder why I was ever on there in the first place. Cutting out social must be a lot easier than cutting out the news though? Good luck with the Challenge mate and best wishes.

  15. In short, you’re adopting minimalism ! πŸ˜‰

  16. Turning off Social Media is probably one of the most productive things I’ve ever done. I’ve been off facebook now for about three months and it is amazing what a timesuck it is. Adding news to the mix is an interesting idea, I might try it.

  17. Translate your site and posting to my blog.

  18. Thats awesome matt. Its good to keep up with work life balance.
    Cheers !!

  19. Same here. Stayfocused is the extension of the year.

  20. Wow Matt, I’m gonna give this a go.. hope to be as productive as you one day.. in a very long time.. ok, maybe not, will aim for just half as productive..

  21. I did a social media cleanse for 6 weeks. I was amazed how much more time I had on my hands!! I was also scared by how much my life had become social media crazed! From early morning, to going to work etc. Today I try and control how much I go on social media sites – early morning and in the evening only!

  22. Life without social media is … I don’t know. I had done several clean ups during past few years, and when I look back I am worse!!

  23. Hi Matt! I am a professor in the Advertising faculty at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. In our program, we have a large digital component and focus on SEO for an entire semester. In our class, we frequently showcase your videos and speak of you and your tips. I am making a long shot bet here but I will regret it if I don’t ask. Would you be able to find 30 minutes in your schedule to speak with our students? We can set up a video chat. I believe that a short chat with you will inspire a large number of eager students. What do you say? A possibility? I am sorry for posting a comment to ask this question but I couldn’t find another way. I hope this post made it through to your 10 minute check in your cleanse!!

    • Hi Scott, thanks for stopping by. I don’t think that I’ll be able to do this, but I hope that the class goes well!

      • Thanks Matt. I really appreciate you responding to this as I know you are very busy. Our class figured it was a long shot anyway but we had to try. It is hard enough getting students interested in SEO and I thought this would be cool for them and maybe spark some interest. We even made this page for you as part of our “Get Matt Cutts Campaign” –

        Thanks again for responding, it is very much appreciated!

  24. Hi Matt,
    It is very difficult for personalities like yours to keep away from social media for some time.
    Hope you complete your 30 day challenge. I followed you on social media and ready to remind you.

  25. I did it after watcing The Minimalis on TED Talk. the result was awesome.
    I did your 30 day challenges too, make me feel alive πŸ™‚ thanks Matt.

  26. BTW Matt, I have embarked on a new 66 days challenge to wake up early in the morning, today is my third day and I succeeded today, after failing in first two attempts. How you are doing?

  27. Hi matt,
    Your challenges are awesome. Even Google search challenges are extra ordinary for webmaster πŸ™‚

  28. Hello Matt !

    Nice to see you are working on cleanliness. Yes, I do believe cleansing social media can improve web and our productivity. Good initiative.

    My Best wishes.

  29. StayFocusd,hands down most useful extension. You’ll do great on this challenge. Don’t get too bored!!

  30. Matt, this is a great idea! I think it’s hard to sometimes have time away from work especially when everything is so easy to access nowadays via a mobile phone, work emails, social media etc.

  31. We all need time for ourselves – but our dependence on social media and quick data often get in the way. I like to limit myself to a couple of hours on the weekends so I could spend more time with my family. Not all of us have the luxury though. Lots of luck, Matt. Hope the days go well for you.

  32. who cares !! damn boring hell

  33. Thanks Matt Cutts, Social media cleanse for 6 weeks. Your new challenges are nice.

  34. Hi matt,

    This is a great idea!

    Nice to see you are working on cleanliness.

    I am gonna give this a go

  35. Hey Matt Your Challenges are really nice, I hope you will success..

  36. better to waste 15 minute walks with wife than 15 minute on social πŸ˜›

  37. Haha! Really this will be very much tough & also challenging….. without Social Media, I can’t imagine! I am gonna try this too πŸ˜›

  38. Your challenge for 30 days seems to be very interesting πŸ™‚
    But for me personally it feels very heavy, because social media is one part of my life for refreshing.
    For example, while we were waiting in the bank alone, we definitely need entertainment and open social media is one of the difficult things that I avoid.

    Thanks, Matt

  39. I was also looking to limit Facebook and Twitter access on my router, but because they now use https by default I don’t think that it’s actually possible, obviously because the data is encrypted.

  40. Hi Matt, I sometimes think social media might be better described as Anti-Social media. Conversation seems to be a thing of the past as many people look into a plastic box rather than talk and have an actual conversation, it’s changing society I think. Anyway good luck with the challenge. I have looked at your posts now and then, over the years, and may I say congratulations on such a long running and interesting and entertaining blog.

    Having said all that, I now have the opposite view about social media, having pretty much resisted it so far, I now feel somewhat out of the loop at times . But it just seems to have almost taken over some peoples lives now.

  41. Reddit has proved to be harder to kick than I thought. That one’s deceivingly tough to kick.

  42. Hi Matt,

    I need to do something like this to remind myself that i don’t ‘need’ to be on social media 24/7.

  43. It’s awesome Matt πŸ™‚ Hope you don’t mind that I’ll do it too…
    Take care !

  44. Social media cleanse is very much effective as people waste a lot of time social media and everyone should do it once. It’s really productive.

  45. Eliminating social media apps and going for walks… it is too bad that is counter-cultural behavior. (actually, that’s why we got a dog)

  46. Hey Matt,

    I’m totally with you when it comes to decluttering your life & staying focus!

    I personally like to use to limit my time on a certain task.

    I read a study about cultivating habit & it turns out that all you need is to be discipline enough to do the same routine for about 65 days before it becomes a habit in your life & once that happens, everything will be subconsciously driven & you wouldn’t even think about it anymore!

    Keep it up!

  47. Hello Matt,
    It is very good to do some cleaning work because the spring is already here and everybody tries to remove the signs of winter in order to make room for spring and summer.
    The same way like we clean the house and our devices of applications that might consume precious time of our daily schedule, we can start cleaning our mind of all accumulated but unwanted data, and we can start this by taking a refreshing and stress free holiday, in which we do totally different activities than we usually do.
    So, a break away from the daily activity is always welcome if you want to refresh your mind and recharge your batteries.

  48. Funny, I just read about StayFocusd yesterday, and now you mention it here. I think I’m gonna get it a try. I really need some productivity here πŸ˜€

  49. I did a social media cleanse for 6 weeks. I was amazed how much more time I had on my hands!! I was also scared by how much my life had become social media crazed!

    Good Luck!!

  50. Matt, Hey I hope you were able to get out a take those walks everyday and make it a part of your routine… always been a priority for me with my wife.

  51. I hope you are still taking daily walks with your wife. That’s not supposed to be a monthly-fad!

    Great blog BTW.

  52. Hi Matt,
    your challenges are awesome. I think, we all should make our challenge weekly/monthly basis and check them after completing that time period, then we get what we achieve from our challenge during this time period. It is nice step to keep ourselves forward to live a better life.

  53. Nice to know you are working on cleanliness. Yes, I do believe cleansing social media can improve web and our productivity. Good initiative.

  54. Hi Matt,
    Sounds good that you are spending time with your family and having fun. Now a days, each guys is addicted with social platforms and continuously posting their current updates. Even some of them posting their personnel videos and pictures. I have seen lots of time Nudity on social platforms, disgusting why guys are doing so? Will you please take a action against the nudity posts on social media outlets?

    Hope i’ll get a satisfied answer.

  55. Valerie Kirton

    Try curling up with a real live, vintage paperback or hardcover book. Even though you’re budgeting your use of social media sites, it’s great to read something not on a screen. Enjoy your time!

  56. Hi Matt, some time I do the same thing like what you did, but my daughter seems like she can’t live without social media.

  57. Whoa, great Chrome extension recommendation. Huge problem I’ve been unable to kick since my days working at the Tribune Company – endless Google News refreshing. No joke, I check it around 50 times a day. Though I guess that’s telling that I check Google News and not the Tribune sites, ha. Thanks for this tip, installed πŸ™‚

  58. Hi Matt,

    My wife and I walk for at least an hour once a week. It’s great to get away from the kids if you have them (I have a 3-year-old). As you walk, your stress goes WAY down, and then you like…uh, become real people again!