How to Stop Wasting Time on Social Media (TPL 002)
In this episode we're talking about how to stop wasting time on social media!
Lately I have been in a really bad habit of mindlessly scrolling on Instagram during all of my free time.
…while my coffee was brewing
…while riding in a car
…while literally waiting in line for anything
…while laying in bed in the evening and morning
Basically all of the time.
And the sad thing is that I didn’t even realize it until Apple rolled out the Screen Time feature.
I was shocked to see how much time I was spending on my phone and specifically on Instagram.
I was even more shocked when I started reading articles from other people who were “horrified” at how much time they spent on Instagram… and they spent LESS TIME on it than I was!
Talk about a reality check.
But to be completely honest…
This reality check changed nothing.
Because the habit of checking Instagram was so ingrained in my day to day life that the knowledge of how bad it was, wasn’t enough to change them.
So what did I do to finally start breaking this habit and stop wasting time on social media?
I implemented 3 “rules” into my life that have dramatically changed how much time I spend on social media!
Rule #1: Have set times where you use (and don’t use) social media apps
It wasn’t until my friend Courtney Chaal shared on Instagram that she was deleting the Instagram app from her phone every night that I realized I could (and should!) do something similar.
Deleting the app felt a little extreme for me so I decided to take a different approach.
I decided to log out of all of my social media apps at a set time every night Sunday through Thursday.
I have a reminder on my phone every night to log off at 8:00 PM.
I chose 8:00 PM because that is when I need to start my evening routine to get ready for the next day.
And if I let myself be on social media during my evening routine, it often ends up taking a lot longer and I end up staying up later than I want to.
I don’t worry too much about this on the weekends since my evening plans usually vary, but most of the time I stick to that 8:00 PM sign off!
I’ve also found that once it is later in the day, I’m not really doing anything productive on social media. That is when I’m at the highest risk for just mindlessly scrolling and consuming without being intentional about it.
Most of the social media apps make it pretty easy to log back in the next day when you’re ready to, so I’ve found that it is the perfect amount of resistance to help me stop mindlessly scrolling without it being so difficult that I don’t do it at all.
That also means that I wait to log back in the next morning until a strategic time.
I’m currently working a full-time job which means that my mornings are incredibly important.
If I let myself get on social media too soon, it throws my entire morning (and day) off.
So I don’t let myself log back in to social media until AFTER my focused work time is over.
And this applies to the focused work I do in the morning for my full-time job before meetings.
I absolutely do not let myself log on to social media before 8 AM but I try to wait until 10:30 or 11 AM if I can hold out.
These two changes have been a really easy step for me to stop wasting time on social media but not feel like I’m being too restrictive.
On some days I do find myself still mindless scrolling during the day, so if I notice that in particular I’m having a bit of a more distracted day, I’ll do one more thing:
Log out in the middle of the day.
That helps me avoid clicking open an app repeatedly just out of habit.
Have you ever done that?
Close the app and then 30 seconds later re-open it for no real reason?
Me too! And the only way I’ve been able to overcome that is to identify it and log out. Right on the spot.
If this is something you struggle with often, you could take this to the next level and schedule the exact times of the day where you’ll be logged in to social media throughout the day.
I don’t do this personally but it is definitely something I’m considering implementing!
Rule #2: Move your social media apps off your home screen
If you’re on a phone where you can organize your home screen, then I consider this a “must do.”
Go ahead and move all of your social media apps (and any other ones that distract you too!) and put them in their own folder and move that folder OFF of your home screen.
Then make sure you call this folder something that will challenge you and make you think twice before opening it.
Right now, mine is called “Is it time?"
I actually wanted to call it “Is it the right time?” but that was too long. 😂I may change this name again but that is just an example of what you could do.
My best advice here is to use this app for ANY applications that often distract you, not just social media.
So my folder includes all social media apps, Timehop, Gmail/Mail, Netflix, TV, YouTube TV, Prime Video, HBO, Starz, Messenger, and others.
Not only does doing this help put a layer of resistance between you and your most distracting apps, it also makes it really easy to log out of the ones you need to log out of each night.
Just go into that one folder, log out, and you’re done!
Rule #3: Only be on social media when when you’re actively engaging (no mindless scrolling allowed!)
This is my favorite rule of them all.
I was realizing that I often felt super drained and negative about social media.
All of those hours on Instagram wasn’t really ADDING to my life except when I was replying to comments or messages.
The only time I enjoyed social media was when I was engaging with other people.
It’s not too surprising but it is something that I was never intentional about… until now!
I set a rule for myself that I am only allowed to be on social media if I am actively engaging.
I am NOT allowed to passively scroll or just consume.
I must be engaging and interacting!
This rule has been an absolute game changer.
Because when you’re just consuming and scrolling, you are just 100% wasting everyone’s time.
That use of your time is not valuable for you or for the creators you follow.
When I catch myself mindlessly scrolling, I have two options for how I’ll handle it:
Log out of the app immediately, or
Start engaging immediately.
So what does engaging mean?
Engaging, for me, means:
Interacting with the content that others have put out there,
Interacting with comments and messages that I’ve received, or
Creating and sharing my own content.
What’s been amazing about this is that I’m actually enjoying social media again.
It has been so FUN to put an emphasis on engagement!
And beyond just enjoying the platforms more, I’m actually building relationships with other people.
It isn’t shocking that this is the outcome from engaging, but if you’re really honest with yourself:
How often are you actively engaging on social media vs. passively consuming content?
The key is to just genuinely engage.
I know how hard it is to create and share content, and every time I engage, I am thanking and supporting another creator for their time and hard work.
What I realized was that if I am mindlessly scrolling, I'm hurting another business owner.
Ever since I realized that, my entire perspective has changed on social media.
Every engagement (no matter what kind of engagement it is) is a “thank you” from me to that content creator.
If I like what they’re creating, I want to support them with my engagement.
I’ll reply to questions they ask, leave compliments and encouraging comments, vote on their stories, and just do whatever feels natural and genuine.
This shift has radically changed how I spend time on social media and what I’m getting out of it.
By giving just a few seconds of engagement to those I want to support, I’m:
Gaining real relationships,
Creating a sense of community, and
Feeling joy from an app that can so easily feel soul sucking.
And this has also changed how I view those who used to trigger me, or make me feel jealous, or make me start comparing my life to theirs.
Instead I feel like I’m becoming friends with those people and viewing their content as a source of inspiration, education, and enjoyment.
It has been an unexpected but radical transformation!
There are 3 rules that I’ve implemented in my life lately that have radically decreased the time I waste on social media and increased the enjoyment I get from social media:
Rule #1: Have set hours when you use or don’t use social media
Rule #2: Move your social media apps off of your home screen
Rule #3: Only use social media when you’re intentionally engaging
You can use these rules for other things besides social media!
Thank you for listening!
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