Are you starting to get guilty on how much time you’re wasting in social media? According to Hootsuite and We Are Social’s Digital 2020 data released early this year, Fiipinos spend an average of three hours on social media every day. And this is before the quarantine, just imagine how much the numbers have spiked.
Of course, we have our own reasons on why we spend so much time on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We need to connect with friends, be updated on the latest news, and of course, express ourselves. But the question remains: are you really achieving these things during your screen time, or is it mostly being wasted consuming unnecessary content?
If you acknowledge that you could use those three hours for more productive activities, then what you might need is a social media detox, and we’re here to help you out. Here are some tips that can assist you on cutting down your social media screen time.
1. Uninstall or deactivate if possible.
The obvious choice when you want to get off social media is by uninstalling your apps or deactivating your accounts. But the tricky part here is that logging back in or installing the apps again are just a few taps away. If possible, give it a try for 24 hours and reflect on how it all played out. If you feel like you can go on further without social media, then this might be the beginning of a more productive lifestyle for you.
However, you might think that you can’t leave social media just like that. This is completely understandable especially if social media interactions are part of your job or business. If this is the case, then you can tweak your phone’s settings instead to cut down your social media use.
2. Tap the timer.
If you need to occasionally check on your social media apps, but do not want to get scrolling for too long, then setting timers on your apps might do the job. For Android devices, you can download Google’s Digital Wellbeing app; and for iOS, just search Screen Time on your Settings and tap “App Limits.”
3. Bury those buttons.
You can also edit your homescreen. Leave out the important apps in the open for easy access, while the apps that you want to ignore shall be buried in a home screen folder together with your other rarely used apps. Taking the social media apps out of your sight whenever you use your phone is a good way to stop yourself from constantly clicking on them.
4. Nuff with the notifs.
Now, about the notifications. You can either completely shut off the push notifications of your social media apps or if applicable, control what pushes through via the social media platform’s Notification Settings.
It is also noteworthy that the red dots on the top right of the app buttons will most likely make you tap more on an app. You can turn this off on most devices. For Android, just type in “Notification badges” or “badges” on your Settings’ search box; while on iOS, you can just go to Settings, click Notifications, select your social media apps, and turn off their Badges.
5. Renew your source of news.
A huge concern when it comes to disconnecting from social media is not being able to stay updated on the latest news, especially now that we’re currently faced with a pandemic and information is vital.
What I highly recommend as a social media newsfeed alternative is the Google News app (available on iOS & Android). It is a free RSS feed app that pulls articles from different news websites from around the world. Like social media, everything’s already being curated into one newsfeed for the user, except of course, this feed is exclusive to legit news articles and other informative content.
6. Focus on your focus.
The next thing to plan out is how you will be filling up those gaps that social media has left in your free time. Replace it with productive activities such as learning new things or starting a passion project.
Once you’ve put it into action, you still have to stop yourself from picking up your phone every now and then. Put distance between your phone and workspace, or try out some focus apps, such as Tide (available on iOS & Android). One handy feature that may be found on these apps is the Pomodoro technique, where you’ll focus on your work for 25 minutes straight, have a short leisurely break (about five minutes), have another 25 minutes of work, and so on.
7. A smartwatch may also help.
Admit it, sometimes (or oftentimes) when you’re working and you see your phone light up or ping! with a notification, you know you have to pick it up to check. Who knows? It might be important. But what’s worse is, once you check your messages you probably will get the urge to check your other social media apps as well, sucking you in.
Well, if you have your smartwatch on, you can just read the message with a flick of your wrist and if it does not require an immediate reply, then you just resume whatever it is that you’re working on. This saves you from the unnecessary distractions of social media.
Discipline is a very important ingredient on your social media detox. The technology we have today may seem to give us more options, thus giving us more control over what we consume from the internet. However, putting up walls is as easy as tearing them down. If you want your social media detox to be real successful, then don’t forget to constantly check your self-discipline.