Social media has taken over our daily lives to an extent that we may not even realize it. Let us say you are on your way from A to B, you are on a bus or a train; how do you spend that hour? We can guarantee that in most cases you will simply be browsing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and many other apps. It seems like every time we have a free moment, we turn to these apps. That’s not to say that social media is completely bad. After all, they are perfect for staying in touch with friends, keeping up with pop culture, and staying “woke.” The problem is not the apps themselves, but the time we spend using them. Is not it better to see the world, catch up with a friend, or do something productive than stare dully at a mobile device? Luckily, we have a few tips for you to reduce your screen time. Take a look.
Pay attention to the time you spend on social media
The first step to making adjustments is to identify where you are starting from. Look at the stats on your phone when it records your screen time and quantify what they say. For example, if you spent two hours and thirty minutes on your phone on Monday, did you spend the majority of that time browsing Instagram on your lunch break or snapchatting throughout the day? What could you have done with those two hours and thirty minutes instead that would have made you even happier or more fulfilled?
Identify which apps you use the most, when and why you use them, and how you might break that habit. If you are a goal-oriented person, you can set a screen time or social media time goal based on how much time you spend on them now. For example, cutting down to two hours and 30 minutes by next week is a more manageable first step than a goal of 30 minutes of screen time. Small steps are key to building good habits, and recognizing where you are at is key to taking those steps.
Use the mute (or “unfollow”) button.
It was a fantastic idea from Instagram to introduce a “mute” button. Now you can simply ignore annoying posts without having to do the passive-aggressive task of actually unfollowing someone. You have probably heard the phrase, “You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.” Well, you are also the sum of the five social media accounts you follow the most. Do yourself a favor and turn off or unfollow all of your accounts on Instagram, except for a select few that give you inspiration, motivation, and joy every time you look at their feed or Stories. Not only will this boost your confidence, but you’ll automatically spend less time on social media because you’ll have fewer profiles and feeds to peruse.
Do not look at social media before 10 a.m.
Many of us get up and immediately scroll through Facebook as if it were the morning paper, while others stay in bed longer than necessary to catch up on the TikToks we missed while we slept. Not only does looking at social media in the morning set the tone for your day by focusing on what other people are doing in their lives (rather than what you are doing in yours), but it can also be a complete waste of time.
It’s much better to wait until you have already started your day to check social media, whether it’s at a specific time (like 10am) or 60 minutes after you wake up. You can also set a general limit on the amount of time you spend on your phone. Try not to look at your phone until you have made a cup of coffee, journaled about your appreciation, and done a 10-step skin care routine (not doable, but it sounds good, right?).
Turn off notifications
Do you really need to be notified every time a random account likes your photo or a Z-List celebrity updates their Instagram account? The answer is a simple No. Notifications and alerts are there to take your attention away from what you are doing and make you pick up your phone. Give your phone a break and turn off social media notifications. This way, you can decide for yourself when you want to visit social media instead of letting social media dictate when. Bonus tip: You can also turn off text message notifications, and that’s guaranteed to be the most liberating feeling of your life.
No cell phones at the table
By keeping your kitchen table tech-free, you can create a phone-free zone in your home. This way, you can ensure that you are always fully present during meals. If you are out with friends, you can also convince everyone to put their phones in the middle of the table and let the first person to pick up their phone pay the bill or order the next round of drinks. Sure, it may be awkward to enforce the restriction your parents put in place when you were 14 and got your first phone. But honestly, you’ll have better conversations, longer meals, and a lot more fun as a result, even if you are grumpy and groan from time to time! Spending less time on social media is just a pleasant side effect.