We have all been there. The iPhone buzzes and we get a jolt of energy– we cannot sit still without checking it instantly. A long lineup at Starbucks– we aimlessly scroll through Insta until our turn comes. Awkward silence at an extended family dinner? Whip out the cell and check the SnapMap to see where people are and wonder what they might be up to.
This can get pretty tiring. Actually, it can be exhausting, especially when your job also involves a level of social media involvement. Headaches ensue, valuable hours are lost, and the guilt of wasting your time and ignoring your real life friends builds. It’s time to take a little break. Pay attention to what’s around you. Have a meaningful conversation with a friend or a stranger. Literally, stop and smell the roses.
Here are five easy, actionable things we do to remedy our social media habits. You will be surprised at how much these actions affect your mental and physical wellbeing and save you time in your daily life.
- Turn off notifications. Nothing is worse than talking to someone who glances at their phone every time it lights up. In the settings app on your phone, turn off the push notifications for your social accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. If you aren’t bothered by the notification, you won’t feel the urge to instantly see what’s up in the online world. This will help you focus better on tasks and conversations that are happening in real life.
- Deactivate one social account. When I found that social media was starting to take a toll on my health and productivity at work and school, I took it upon myself to remove the distraction. I deleted my Snapchat account and honestly, I didn’t miss it for a second. I was so much less distracted by my phone, my FOMO (fear of missing out) almost completely went away, and I saved money on my phone bill because Snapchat eats up mobile data. Don’t force yourself out of the social network altogether– just pick the one or maybe even two outlets that you don’t use that much (or that you use the most) and deactivate them.
- Turn off devices after for a certain time period. Set blackout periods for yourself throughout the day. Promise yourself that from 6:00-7:00 pm, you won’t look at your phone. This can be good for people who mindlessly scroll while eating or watching TV. Enjoy your food. Enjoy who you’re eating with. Take an afternoon to read instead of engage. Watch a bit of your favourite show for a bit before bed and actually pay attention to it instead of dually watching and catching up on your friends’ posts. Put these blackout hours in your agenda and hold yourself accountable for them.
- Unsubscribe from emails related to your social media accounts. Facebook sending you emails about your notifications? Twitter sending you summaries of your friends’ tweets? Pinterest begging you to come back and scroll some more? If you don’t receive these emails, you won’t be prompted or feel the urge to check your accounts. And let’s admit it– we all find these emails annoying anyway.
- Set a time limit. Ever start watching videos on Instagram or Facebook and then find yourself still staring at them an hour later? I swear, I could watch Tasty videos all day and think five minutes has passed. Make a habit of setting a timer on your phone before you open the social network app, and when the alarm goes off, you know you’re done.
These tricks have helped me so much in becoming happier, more productive, and less invested in issues that really have nothing to do with me. My life has become more drama-free, my business has improved because I can invest time into social media more efficiently, and I get less headaches. I really hope you try at least one of these, because I think we can all afford to spend a little less time on our devices.
Let us know what works for you by commenting below or reaching out to us on social media, @twowildtides. Have a great evening. We appreciate you so much.
(Now that you’re done reading this, close your laptop or put down your phone. Take a break.)