We are ALL guilty of checking social media too much. I don’t care what you say, or if you’re one of those people who claims to “never go on Facebook”–it’s 2016 and you own a smart phone: you’re getting your social media fix somewhere. Maybe it’s on the endless scroll of Instagram or re-watching people’s stories over and over again on Snapchat. Maybe you just need to check in with Twitter before bed to see what everyone’s talking about. Maybe you want to get the latest news on this ugly election. Whatever shape your obsession to social media takes, it’s more of a problem then you think.
If you’re like me, you’ve justified it or played it off as something normal or harmless. “I’m just checking in!” you’ve thought to yourself… then an hour has gone by and you’ve accomplished nothing but learn that Jack Osbourne’s wife likes to bake cakes (fact). And that’s the best case scenario–worst case scenario, you’ve looked at pictures of other people’s picture-perfect lives and felt bad, instead of living your own.
Enough! I recently got so sick of spending all night on Facebook instead of interacting with my family that I had to intervene on myself. It was really difficult and is still a work in progress, but at least I’m headed in the right direction. Here are three simple ways to do the same thing for yourself.
Put your phone out of sight. Remember the saying, “Out of site, out of mind”–it’s really true for a phone addiction. Keep your phone charger in the least-used room in your house, so that when it’s charging you can’t even see it. It should not be an arm’s length away from the couch or within eye shot so you see the screen light up with push notifications. It’s just too tempting.
The same goes for bed–ideally, you should not use your phone as an alarm because it means you need to look at it right before bed to set the alarm and first thing in the morning to hit snooze. Once your eyes hit that screen, you’re 10x more likely to get sucked in to opening your apps and checking your feeds. Eliminate the temptation.
READ MORE: How To Clean Up Your Social Media Feeds
Use Messages more. Instead of posting photos to Instagram, text them to a family member or friend. Instead of checking Facebook to see what your friends are up too–start a group text. Instead of wishing someone happy birthday on their page, do it directly over text (or, imagine this–by calling them! Gasp!). The more you go on to social media to post pictures, update your status, etc., the more likely you are to stay there and check other people’s updates. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re addicted to social media it can mean getting sucked in. Plus, these “real” interactions are better for the soul than posting out to the ether (yes, I know I’m talking about texting not a face-to-face interaction–but at least there’s another human on the other end!)
Change your settings. Change all your push notifications to off so you don’t get alerts every single time there’s a new story on your feed or friend request/follow. Use a free app like Self Control to actually block yourself from accessing the internet on your phone (it’s like parental controls, but for your own grown self). Delete apps that you know are addictive, but that you actually don’t need.
The idea is to set software barriers for yourself that will help you reach your goal of checking social media less. This takes some of the pressure off you to “have better self control.” This stuff is really hard–set yourself up to accomplish your goal. And trust me, you *will* live without Snapchat for a week.