Updated: Mar 18
And gain some useful habits along the way.
When did we turn into social media employees? I feel like we show up for our social media accounts more consistently that we show up for our direct responsibilities, such as cooking dinner or cleaning the house.
Because let's be honest, as we are here amongst friends. What would you choose? Unlimited social media scrolling session or deep cleaning the house?
We might want to choose to clean the house, especially remembering the in-laws that are coming... but how many times have we opened an app 'just for a minute' staying there for a few hours?
I am guilty as charged and my house is still waiting for that deep clean. Sigh.
The enemy that we didn't know we had
It all started so well! The mighty Internet gave us an opportunity to watch other people's life without being accused of voyeurisms.
We can discover fascinating and fun facts, peer into the lives of rich and famous. And all that at the mere click of a button.
Less scrolling, more living. – @crewandco
But this helpy-helper has turned into something that we actually depend on.
It's more a frenemy, or pure evil enemy.
It steals our time and turns us into semi-robots, that constantly scroll up and down the feed, and stare absentmindedly into the distance.
But the feeling it grants us! That's why we do it, it feels good to scroll up and down. It does no require much brain power or motivation. We don't even need to move much, just our little fingers.
Our behaviour is not dissimilar from Pavlov's dogs that salivated whenever they heard a bell. The bell indicated a reward - the immediate arrival of food.
Don't we get as excited when the phone screen lights up, letting us know that someone somewhere has liked our post?
We get even more elated if someone left a comment.
And the world can stop turning when an influencer we are following has started a live chat.
A call to arms
Let's conquer this time-eating dependency together. And maybe along the way let's turn this unhealthy habit into something useful!
First, we need to understand what apps munch up most of our time.
Our modern phones come with an inbuilt functionality that should be able to show you what black hole is sucking your precious and invaluable time the most.
My personal black hole is Facebook groups. I find them useful and informative. But quite often, I tend to forget why I opened them. Instead of finding what I was after, I start reading comment after comment, opening link after link. An hour later - I am still there none the wiser. But more exhausted, puffy eyed and headachy. It does sound rather unhealthy, wouldn't you agree?
That's why I know that I need to conquer, defeat, or temporarily disable this dependency.
Today I choose Me. Not social media. – Tech Wellness
Social Media Detox Action Plan - 7 Steps to Free Your Time
1. Hide Social Media Apps
Move social media apps you overuse to the last page of your phone. Or remove it from home screen altogether. Make it so challenging to get to your apps that eventually you create a new habit that does not involve social media feed.
2. Disable Notifications
Disable all the notifications from social media apps. Notifications might give you a false feeling that we are busy, needed, in demand (circle the one that suits you). But in reality, they hijack your attention. They also make you switch focus and temporarily disorient you.
3. Put Dedicated Social Media Time in Your Calendar
Give your social media accounts/apps a dedicated time. Put 15 minutes in the morning, evening, afternoon. Put the timer on to ensure you don’t go down the rabbit hole yet again, emerging a few hours later.
4. Introduce Social Media Free Days
Try going cold turkey for one day a week. It might sound harsh, but it could also be utterly liberating. Trying and achieving your goal, being able to not only survive but lead a good life without constantly checking your social media apps might help you to find a new purpose for social media free time.
5. Don't Read Comments As Soon As They Appear
As with the point above, train yourself to check your social media only when you need to and not when a new comment or like appears. This should help you to break dependency from comments and likes.
6. Check Social Media On Desktop Only
Mobile phones are always with us. That's why the temptation to check social media is also always with us. Why don't you create a rule to only check your social media on the desktop? Because the chances are you only open it once a day to complete a more complex, mobile unfriendly task (yes, they still have their uses, those bulky things).
7. Put a Timer On
Whenever you check social media - put a timer on for 15 - 20 minutes to ensure you dive out of your free fall.
You might surprise yourself how quickly time flies "when you are in social media wonderland."
“Just as one goes on a fast or a body cleanse you owe it to yourselves to detox your mind, it will not be easy but easy never yielded lasting results.”― Aysha Taryam
As to me, I have removed all my social media apps from my home screen. I still check them quite often, but it's more of a conscious decision rather than time killing exercise.
I have also disabled all the notification. Even for my phone. Instead I created a special rule for important numbers and only they can get through me (like kids' nursery, etc.).
There you have it! 7 easily implementable tips.
Simple, aren't they? And so reasonable.
But don't be too harsh on yourself if you cannot achieve a complete social media detox. Aim to introduce one change at a time. And who knows, maybe one tiny change will lead to a new healthy relationship with your social media. I believe in you!
Make social media your friend and prosper!