Social Media – We are living in crazy and high-tech times. But of course, there can almost always be too much of the good stuff.
When it comes to the world of social media, it certainly can be.
Social media is an easy way to share photos, connect with groups, stay in touch with your favorite artists or bands, or see what your friends and family are doing abroad.
But its downside can be challenging. Since most people only post pictures of how extraordinary their lives are, social media can quickly turn into a black hole of confrontation and intense FOMO.
Add to that the addicting dopamine success that comes from likes, comments, mentions, and you have a recipe for disaster. Or, at the very least, a depressive addiction, if not appropriately addressed.
FOR WHAT COSTS?
I’ve had quite a bit of Internet addiction. I’ve spent most of my teenage years using MSN Messenger, Myspace, and Snapchat.
Back then, it was much more comfortable, though, because you could walk away. Social media was neither in your pocket nor by your side 24/7.
At the start of 2018, more than half of Curation users surveyed said that ‘staying on track’ and ‘not being distracted’ were the main obstacles to pursuing their mission/goals and developing healthy habits.
The reality is that social media is here to stay. Chances are, because of this, you are reading these words here for this reason.
While the bad often outweigh the good, I think we can find a balance where we control our time on social media and make sure it serves us, rather than the other way around.
Use the following tips to help you spend less time on the feeds and more time on what’s important.
1. USE SCREEN TIME OR A SIMILAR APP TO STOP YOUR ENTHUSIASM ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
When Apple announced the new Screen Time feature in its latest iOS 12 update, I knew this was going to be a game-changer in terms of productivity and overall well-being regarding our relationship with technology.
Apple’s Official Screen Time Announcement:
This is excellent news for parents, but I believe adults like you and me.
With Screen Time, I set my daily social media usage to 30 minutes. This includes Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Messenger, etc.
2. NO SOCIAL MEDIA BEFORE 12 pm
Another technique that has been shown to increase productivity is to put a complete ban on all social media during the early hours of the day.
Waking up and checking Facebook like it’s the morning newspaper has never produced positive results personally.
The No Social Media Before midnight rule was an essential part of the Saint Belford morning ritual. I can confidently say that it has had a profound effect on my productivity and overall happiness.
3. DO A 7 NO SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE
On a recent trip to Bali, Alex and I went through 7 full days with no feeds, comments, and likes.
Of course, this is much easier to do in a tropical paradise. But it improved the quality of our vacation and the time we spent together.
We enjoyed every moment; without the persistent need to share photos of everything, we had a good time. Alex didn’t take a picture of the whole trip.
Some tips for rehab on social media:
Have a purpose. Our goal was to ‘become more mindful’ by meditating 20 – 30 minutes a day and practicing yoga every other day. Even though we didn’t reach our yoga goal and only practiced a couple of times, it was still very beneficial.
Do it during the holidays or over a long weekend. It doesn’t have to be seven days, it could be three, but it will help a lot to fast when you are not on your regular schedule.
Learn or improve yourself in some way. Think about the free time you have now that you’ve shed the Instagram burden. Think about what books, podcasts, or lessons you might be exposing yourself to in a few days away from the chaos.
Have an accountability buddy. Doing this with a friend or partner will help you. You can encourage each other as your addiction decreases, and you become more involved in day-to-day life.
Apple Screen Time
My Screen Time reports weekly the week following a 7-day social media rehab.
4. TURN OFF ALL SOCIAL MEDIA NOTIFICATIONS
This is an easy method to reduce the number of times you check your feeds and possibly reduce the number of times you will get your device back daily.
5. TURN ON GREYSCALE
Designed as an accessibility feature for visually impaired users, grayscale desaturates your entire screen, turning the phone as a whole into a tedious and mundane experience. That can be a good thing!
Instagram turns into an incredibly dull experience with this feature enabled, which can profoundly affect your overall phone experience.
While many people have reported positive results with grayscale, I have found it less useful than Screen Time or quitting cold turkey. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you, so give it a try and see if it regains you those precious minutes.
6. SATURDAYS WITHOUT SCREEN
Perhaps all you need is a day off from feeding to feel calm and rejuvenated. Then Screen-Free Saturdays are for you.
Pick a day that’s right for you when you don’t have to have a screen. In addition to urgent phone calls, tickets when you’re lost or ordering an Uber, challenge yourself to stay away from your phone as much as possible throughout the day.
- Go to Notes and write a note that says “SCREEN FREE DAY”. Screenshot and set it as the background the night before.
- Change your passcode to the previous version of the current one. E.g., if your current access code is 3305, change it to 5033 for that day. If you use Touch ID, try replacing your fingerprint with another finger. This will stop autopilot responses from checking your emails and feeds. (Please don’t blindly change your password to something random that you will forget!)
- Check out Sunday’s Screen Time usage Sunday to see how you were doing. Challenge yourself to improve your time next week.
7. QUIT SOCIAL MEDIA IF YOU CAN
This is probably the least attractive method for most people as social media usually benefits our day-to-day existence, but it may be the right method for you.
I set out some rules that I would only add or accept people that I wanted to be connected with and that I would not install the Facebook app installed on my phone, but instead would use the web-based version and have Messenger with it.
Eighteen months later, and the rules I set have helped me. I check Facebook maybe once a day, no more than a minute or two. It is mainly for notifications only. I post once every three months if that. And try to keep sharing a friend’s cool business or something on Saint Belford.
Some advice for quitting social media:
Think about other apps or services that might be using your Facebook account. I had a tough time logging into Spotify after removing FB.
Be healthy for the first week. I found the early few days the hardest because your brain wonders where all those dopamine shots disappeared. It gets easier over time.
Try to stop one by one. Maybe FB is fine, but you hate the time you waste on Instagram. First, try to let go of the worst culprit.
Use Habit Tracker in Curation 2019 Diary to track every day that you don’t have access to social media.
So that’s it—7 ways to get away from the flow and come back to reality. Experiment and try each of them. Keep an eye on your overall happiness while you’re at it. You might find that less time on social media is just what you need to spend more time on the essential things in life.