Many people joke about being addicted to social media, but it’s no laughing matter. As developers continue to gather data on ways to keep people on social platforms for longer, social media addiction is becoming more widespread.
If you’re reaching for your phone at all hours of the day and feel like your life is ruled by likes and follows, there’s help!
We put together a list of 12 ways to limit your time on social media and prevent it from taking over your life.
1. Set time limits
If you’re filling every free moment of your day with social media scrolling, it’s time to set some boundaries!
Instagram has a nifty feature that allows you to set a daily time limit on your usage. When you reach that limit, a message pops up to let you know that you’ve gone too far.
Many newer phones now have built-in apps that allow you to track your social usage and set time limits. If you’re using social media from your laptop or desktop, you can download a variety of tools to help manage your social media time.
Gathering some data on the amount of time you spend on social media is the first step toward cutting down your usage.
2. Take days off
Once you get an idea of how much time you spend on social media, you can start limiting your time. First, restrict the number of hours you spend on social media per day and then move to limiting the amount of days per week.
Some people find that taking the weekend off from social media keeps them from losing an entire two days to the black hole of scrolling. Don’t worry, your followers will still be there when you come back on Monday!
3. Unfollow accounts
Social media influencers are marketing geniuses. They know exactly how to craft the perfect image and apply just the right amount of editing to catch your eye and keep you coming back for more.
Every time you take action on a social media post, the platform learns what you like and will continue to show you more of it.
If there are certain accounts that you find yourself spending the majority of time on, unfollow them so they don’t continue to pop up every time you log in to your account. Out of sight, out of mind!
4. Choose your platforms wisely
Are you trying to stay active on five different social media accounts? While each platform is unique, it’s a good idea to pick just a few favorites in order to cut down on your overall social media time.
Trying to keep up with multiple platforms can be a huge time suck.
5. Block out social time
Instead of reaching for your phone and checking your social accounts whenever you get the urge, set boundaries around when you can use social media.
Make a deal with yourself that if you don’t check social media during the day, you can spend 30 minutes on it when you get home from work.
You can also give yourself trade-offs. For example, if you spend 45 minutes on social, then you have to spend at least 45 minutes reading that book you’ve been “too busy to read.”
6. Start a new hobby
Once you start cutting down on your social media time, you may find that you’re having withdrawal symptoms and don’t know what to do when you feel the urge to check your phone.
This is where you can fill your newfound free time with a hobby. Learn a new craft, try your hand at sewing, or add exercise to your routine in place of your social screen time.
7. Build an in-person community
What did people do before social media existed? They met up with each other in person!
Check your town’s website or local newspaper (yes, these still exist) for community groups in your area. Joining a group fitness or art class is another great way to meet new people. If you don’t find something that speaks to you, you can even start your own group.
8. Don’t mix business with pleasure
If you use social media as part of your job, it’s essential that you clearly define the line between work and personal use.
Keep your social media activities to company pages when you’re at work and try not to link any company accounts to your personal accounts.
9. Use scheduling apps
If you’re able to log on to your social account, create a new post, and then log out without scrolling through your feed, you’re doing better than most!
Usually, opening up your social account sucks you into a time warp. Before you know it, an hour has passed and you forgot to load that first batch of laundry into the machine.
Using a scheduling apps allows you to create a post, schedule it for a certain day and time, and move on with your life (although this doesn’t work for all social accounts).
Utilizing a scheduling app will keep you off the platform and help you stick to your preset social time limits.
10. Link directly to groups
Are Facebook groups your vice? Facebook groups offer great community engagement around a specific topic or interest, but they’re also another way to get drawn into the platform.
Bookmarking the URL to take you directly to a group can help keep you from being distracted by what Great Aunt Margie’s dog is doing today.
11. Manage notifications
Is your phone buzzing every five minutes with alerts about your likes, comments, and follows? Silence the noise!
Even the most disciplined among us can have a hard time ignoring a constant influx of social media notifications. Turning off your notifications will help keep you from reaching for your phone every time you hear a ding.
12. Delete or deactivate your accounts
If all else fails, you can always delete your social media accounts. Gasp!
Remember, social media is not on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—it isn’t essential for your life. If social is affecting your mental health and happiness, it’s time to pull the plug.
You can either delete the apps off of your phone and remove any bookmarks from your computer, or you can go completely cold turkey and deactivate your accounts (a bold move).
If you live by the motto, “if it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen,” it may be time to re-examine your priorities and take a hard look at your social media usage. Following our 12 tips can help you be more intentional with your social use so you can shift your focus to what matters most.
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About Slingshot Health
Slingshot Health is a health tech startup that brings top healthcare providers and patients together. Patients bid on the cost of services and healthcare providers accept bids based on availability. Slingshot Health is unique in that it is a mutual marketplace putting both patients and providers back in control. Visit us at slingshothealth.com.