Using Social Media Less

Social media is such a bittersweet tool. It’s great for keeping up with friends and family as well as networking with new and interesting people. But my goodness it can become such a time waster – not in a good way.

One of my biggest takeaways from my favorite book of 2020 (Peak Performance) was, stress + rest = growth. This simple formula is the best way to pursue your goals. Push your limits with the stress part of the equation, and then rest efficiently. There’s a lot of fascinating nuance and science to it, but I won’t get too far down that rabbit hole.

The point is – quality rest is important. However, social media is not effective at the “rest” portion of the equation.

Have you ever been stressed out, scroll on social media for an hour, then feel rested and relieved? I haven’t. Even with my heavy handed curation of my social media feeds. So I have been reducing my social media consumption at every turn – fighting to be more deliberate with the time I spend there.

Towards this end, I’ve developed some quick and easy tricks for reducing social media consumption.

Disable all notifications

I have very very few notifications enabled on my phone. I don’t need them interrupting my day. The more interruptions I get, the harder it is for me to focus on my primary tasks.

So of the very few social media apps I have on my phone, all of them have their notifications disabled.

I’ll seek out social media when I want to check them – not when the apps give me another useless notification that I absolutely do not need to see at this very moment.

Delete apps from your phone

Apps make it so easy to quickly open up social media and get scrolling and scrolling. These app designers work very hard to make them addictive. So I delete them. Instead, I browse Facebook from my web browser, and I even log out of Facebook from the browser.

Of the social media apps that I do have on my phone, I leave them off of my Home Screen and keep them on pages far to the right so I have to swipe to get to them. I also don’t have any social media widgets.

The goal is to increase the amount of steps it takes to open up social media so I am less likely to absentmindedly open them up as I’m staring at my phone.

Leave my phone behind

A new thing I’m starting to do is simply keep my phone out of my pocket and out of sight. There’s some interesting studies that show having your phone in your pocket or having your phone in your field of view makes you more distracted. You’re more likely to be thinking about the phone or compulsively pick up the phone.

This helps me focus more and be more engaged with what’s going on around me.

Screen time app limits

iOS and Android have screen time limitation features. So I have screen time limits for the only 2 social media apps I have on my phone. I have those limits set to 1 minute. This means whenever I use social media, I constantly get “keep using for another 15 minutes” notifications. this simple timer will break me out of the endless scroll loop of social media and back off of my phone.

I also set downtime that disables all apps in the evening. This strongly encourages me to get off my phone and begin my bedtime routine, helping me sleep better and get up earlier the next day.

Less social media = more happiness and productivity

I’ve never thought back on a day and was glad I spend 4 hours on social media. So reducing social media consumption is a big goal of mine for 2021 and I’m already off to a great start.