How do you take back the reins of your life and curb your time on social media (and stop social media addiction)? Here are some steps to get started.
1. Think about Why You Want to Be on Social Media
Everything we do in life is about intention: why do you want to do something? What will it bring you? The same goes for social media use. It may be silly to ask this question when thinking about a Facebook or Instagram account, but if you want to truly control your social media (instead of the other way around), asking this question may truly be eye-opening.
Do you want to just keep in touch with friends, or do you want to promote your business? Getting to the crux of why you’re online will help you clearly mark your time on social media effectively and eliminate everything else.
2. Be Meticulous about Who You Follow and what you post and share
Attention is your greatest currency.
Everything that you click on or “like” becomes a thread in the tapestry of what comes back to you on social media newsfeeds. You want to create the kind of information spread that works for you, your needs, and your time. So, often, we impulsively follow people who may not be serving our best interests.
Give yourself permission to clean those contacts out every once in a while! It’s okay to disagree with someone. Instead of plummeting into a rabbit hole of social media thread arguments, unfollow anyone who you don’t connect with. It’s much better for your mental health and helps you get rid of social media addiction.
Likewise, be meticulous about what you share. Are you posting misinformation yourself? Just like you are planning on cleaning up your contacts list, someone who follows you may be thinking of doing the same. Make it a priority to share and post things that not only have significance to you but also serve others.
3. Curb the Time You Spend Online
If you have a laundry list of things to get done but have spent the last three hours scrolling your newsfeed, it’s time to close the app or the computer. Set a timer on your phone, if that’s what it takes to solve your social media addiction.
Once you begin the practice of detaching from being online so much, you’ll notice that you get so much time back! This time has always existed, but you were just using it poorly. It’s not that you don’t have enough time—it’s just that you spend too much time scrolling online instead of being productive.
4. Change Your Notification Settings
If your productivity is suffering because you’re constantly distracted by the pings from your notifications, there are ways to turn those notifications off in your settings. Better yet, you can always delete the apps from your phone and devices and resolve to check your social media notifications on your desktop. This way, you can get back to finishing your work without facing the temptation of checking your messages.
5. Not Everything Has to Be Posted and Shared
It often feels like we’re in a perpetual case of “FOMO” when it comes to posting on social media. If the Superbowl came and went and you didn’t post anything at all, will the world continue to spin? Yes.
We don’t have any social obligation to our followers to keep them abreast of every single event that happens in our life. These are choices that we must make consciously and in alignment with our desires.
Think about the last concert you went to—did you immediately post bits of the concert to social media or snapped and uploaded a selfie of you and your friends?
These are habitual things that we don’t even think about, which brings me to the final point…
6. It’s Okay to Put Your Phone Down and Enjoy Life
In fact, this one very simple point could truly help you cut that social media addiction! Precious moments of your life are one in a million—like seeing a shooting star or catching the smile of your favorite person. These moments are so fragile, and they never happen the same way twice in your lifetime.
Don’t run towards your phone to capture that moment. Capture it instead with your eyes and with your heart. Let it become a sweet memory. Enjoy the moment you’re so keen on sharing with others and instead, prioritize sharing it with yourself.
Social media addiction, when left unchecked, can lead us to depression and a lack of self-worth and authenticity. If we “follow the flock” in search of creating a perfect online life, we’re stepping further away from being ourselves.
It is important to nip this problem in the bud before it festers and takes over your life. Regaining control of your life and your time is one of the best things you can do for yourself. In a constantly mainstream world of social media, give yourself the option to retain your individuality and power of choice.
You might think this is easier said than done. However, that is not the case. Your life is in your hands, and you have the power to influence your decisions. Keep the following tips in mind to control any threat of social media addiction before it takes over your life.
- Set a limit on daily social media usage and avoid crossing it.
- Keep weekends free from social media so that you have time to focus on yourself.
- Learn to unfollow pages and people that make you uncomfortable. If you’re a size 12, you don’t need to put yourself down over some size 0 posts.
- Keep certain activities in analog form like calling your friends, writing them letters, playing board games, etc.
- Practice mindfulness and be content with your presence instead of seeking validation online.
- Do not hesitate to seek medical advice, if need be.