The wonders of technology have provided us with endless, constant connectivity. Unfortunately, with that modern power has come its misuse. This can even reach the point of counterproductivity. Social media, for example, was designed to be social, as its name states. Despite that, spending time on social media can damage mental health and distract you from authentic relationships.
Worse still, social media is incredibly addictive. Many people find themselves stuck on their apps for hours and hours on end, sometimes to the detriment of productivity. How can you ensure that you break this terrible habit and better manage and balance your time? Here are the six best ways to limit the time you spend on social media.
1. Limit Spending Time On Social Media By Tracking Your Usage
To limit social media time, you must first know how and when you engage with these platforms. Plus, the act of seeing and realizing how much time you’re spending on these sites can be a wake-up call.
There are plenty of applications available that you can use to be aware of your habits. Some phones even come with them built-in. Look up popular options and see what works best for your phone and needs. Once you have that application set up, pay attention to:
- Which social media platform you use the most.
- How long you spend on each social media platform.
- What times you tend to use specific social media platforms.
- Possible contributing factors to what makes you click onto social media platforms.
Once you start to understand and track your usage of social media, then you can begin to impose limits. You’ll be able to see direct evidence of what is too much and what is fine!
2. Keep Social Media Out Of Sight
Ever heard the phrase “out of sight, out of mind”? Well, it’s true! Research has long shown that attention is typically most easily given to things that provide sensory information. If it’s giving you input that you can perceive, it’ll be on your mind. So put your social media applications and access methods away where you can’t perceive them. Here are some tips for doing so:
· Turn Off Notifications
Notifications trigger involuntary reactions from you, whether you like it or not! If you hear a notification alert, you’ll think about checking it. If you see a notification pop up on your screen, you’ll want to click it. Turning these notifications off removes sensory information, so you don’t think about social media too much. Most modern smartphones let you individually toggle notifications for different apps so that you can choose to only mute social media ones.
· Move Apps Away
When you see the tiny app icon for social media apps, you’ll be tempted to click. Storing them away from your phone’s home screen or in a folder can prevent those itchy fingers. You can even download an app that puts them in a separate, password-protected space!
· Delete Apps
It’s a very drastic move, but if you’re serious about limiting your time and have been struggling to do so, it works! Deleting apps from your phone forces you to only use social media on your computer. If you prefer using your phone, this can reduce your time by making it less convenient to access them.
3. Fill Your Time With Something Better Than Spending Time On Social Media
All the time you spend on social media is draining, and it adds up. With all that time you spend on it, you’re likely to be losing lots of productivity. Look at all those hours your tracking apps are telling you that you’re wasting!
Wean yourself off social media by filling your time with better endeavors in the physical world. This will give you less time to get on those apps, and you’ll be positively enriching your life, too! Plus, the distraction can be enough to help you kick the habit. Here are some things to devote all of that time to instead:
Spend at least one hour every day dedicated to a hobby. This time will boost your positive thinking, and research shows time spent on what you love is good for you. It gives you the chance to engage your mind and keep yourself happy while also avoiding the pull of social media.
· Friends and Socializing
A lot of people use social media to stay in touch with others. Why do that all the time when you can cut it down by staying in touch in person? Spend more time with your friends and even rope them into a no-phone hangout. If you need more social activity, you can join clubs and groups in your local area. Studies prove that social relationships have tons of health benefits, so you’ve got nothing to lose!
Want to use all your social media time more productively? Dedicate it to learning! When you’re bored, instead of hopping onto a feed and scrolling, pull up an educational podcast. Read a book, watch a documentary, or try out a new skill. It’s so empowering to be able to replace something so idle and unproductive with all this knowledge!
4. Do A “Detox” Of Social Media
Few can deny that social media can have addictive properties. Studies have already shown that this can be a severe problem. This temptation means it may be challenging for you to want to click away and stay off of your favorite platforms. As such, a “cold turkey” approach can be effective in encouraging reduction.
A social media “detox” involves not going on social media for a prolonged period. It can be for as short a period as three days! Still, a minimum of one week can help to set a new standard. After that period, you’ll see how emotionally freeing staying off social media can be! Here are some tips for that detox:
· Set A Goal For The Detox
Decide how long the detox will last and what its specific rules are. Write the goal down and put it somewhere you can see. You can even set it as your phone lock screen picture! If you’d like, you can add additional goals for the detox. For example, if your daily social media time is four hours, you have 28 extra hours a week. With all the time, you’ll have lots of space to fill with positive and productive endeavors!
· Have Someone To Hold You Accountable
Doing the detox with a friend or loved one can be helpful, especially if they’re detoxing too. You can hold each other accountable, form a friendly rivalry, and celebrate milestones together. It’s a great way to see each other’s improvement over time and get external feedback on your progress.
· Do It During A Break
If social media is a part of your daily routine, it can be hard to break the habit on regular days. This behavior is especially true if you use social media during daily commutes or to talk to colleagues. While you can certainly work your way up to stop social media daily, it’s a good idea to start small. Over a long weekend or during an extended holiday, don’t use social media at all. The difference in your routine will help make the reduction easier, and you’ll come back feeling fresh. When you feel good despite a lack of social media use, you’ll start to realize you don’t need it.
5. Set Clear Limits
For most people, quitting all social media forever isn’t the goal. That’s fine! What matters is maintaining a positive balance between social media use and everything else. You’ll have to set clear limits with yourself about your usage of these platforms. You can do so by:
- Setting alarms before you get on social media to alert you when it’s time to stop
- Using applications that alert you when you’ve been scrolling for too long
- Properly planning social media time as part of your schedule, keeping it contained and away from everything else
- Setting easy-to-remember rules, like “no social media before noon.”
- No longer multitasking with your phone by using it while you work; multitasking is terrible for you, anyway!
6. Make It Difficult To Use Social Media
Social media is addictive because it’s accessible. It’s so easy to lean over and scoop up a phone and use it. You can log into your accounts from anywhere, and you can lose hours with easy, mindless scrolling. By making the process challenging – or even impossible – you’ll be able to kick social media to the curb. Here are some ways to do so:
· Use Apps That Block You
It’s ironic, but did you know that you can find phone apps to block social media use? Many different varieties with different settings are available. Some may lock you out of certain apps for a set period or after you’ve been on them for a maximum period. Some allow you to determine hours where you can never use certain apps. With more drastic measures, others make it so you can’t unlock your phone at all for a chosen period! Check out your relevant app store to see what options are available to you.
· Use Site-Blocking Browser Extensions
There are plenty of browser extensions and settings that allow you to block access to specific sites. There are also extensions and software that work similarly to the phone mentioned above app blocking applications. Again, you’ll need to “shop around” a little to see what works best for you!
· Don’t Bring Your Devices With You
When you’re going out on the town or for an engaging activity, try leaving your smart devices behind. That forces you to stay engaged and completely removes the chance of drifting onto social media. Of course, you might be concerned about your safety if you’re stranded without a phone. You can invest in a cheap phone without innovative technology for this purpose if desired.
· Leave Your Phone Far Away At Night
Don’t bring your phone to bed with you! That’s how you’ll get trapped in hours of late-night scrolling that tires you out and deprives you of sleep. Put your phone somewhere outside of your bedroom to make it harder for you to reach over for it. Need alarms for the morning? Buy a simple, cheap alarm clock!
Final Thoughts On Some Ways To Limit Spending Time On Social Media
Social media isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s certainly being overused in today’s world. Limiting the time that you spend on it can help you achieve a better balance of your life. Plus, you won’t be bogged down by the worst bits of social media. Thus you’ll gain positive thinking when you quit spending so much time on social media.