Let me put it out there: I spend a lot of time on social media. My job, my career, my blog… they’re basically all wrapped up in a big tangle of social media platforms. That was precisely how I rationalized spending so many hours with my eyes glued to my phone or scrolling through Facebook. But this “necessity” wasn’t really true and it was making me a little crazy.
Last year our church went through a sermon series on rest. It was a tough series for me because it’s something I’m admittedly terrible at. (I even wrote a blog post about it!) But I recognized that I was in need of a change and “cutting back” wasn’t cutting it. I needed some real boundaries and some real change. Social media seemed like the right place to start because I could easily waste a chunk of time scrolling on my phone when I could be using that time to truly rest. It took some trial and error but here’s how I learned to cut back on social media.
I don’t use social media on Sundays
I definitely thought this was going to be impossible. It almost felt like too big of a step, but I realized I was just afraid of a hard change. So I tried it. It turns out it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. For nearly 6 months, I’ve stayed off social media on Sundays. I’ve made a few slip-ups and there have been moments where I’ve just completely forgotten, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made! 99% of the time I find that I can stay completely off social media for a whole day with no problem. No Facebook, no Instagram, no nothin’.
I turned off the notifications on my phone
This one was simple. I turned off notifications for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Without notifications constantly popping up, it was easier to go a (relatively) long period of time without being prompted to check on things. Yes, I’m slower to respond to Instagram comments. No, it hasn’t ruined my life. I also put my social media apps in a separate folder on my phone so they’re not staring me in the face when I unlock my phone.
I use an app to track my usage
I downloaded an app called Moment which tells me how many hours I’m using my phone each day. It will send me reminders if I’m using my phone more than average and I find that it keeps me accountable. If you don’t want to download an app, just check your battery usage on your phone. It will tell you which apps are using most of your battery. (For me, it’s always Instagram.) Just seeing the number of hours I spend on my phone can make me think twice about opening it up.
I set aside time for specific tasks
I don’t consider time on social media to be wasted time because as a food blogger, it can be a really great way to grow my business! But it’s easy for me to fall down the rabbit hole and get distracted with what’s in my news feed. When I need to get things done, I block off chunks of time (sometimes as shorts as 5 minutes) and focus on that one thing. For example, if I’m trying to schedule a bunch of Facebook posts, I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes and do nothing but schedule posts until that timer goes off. This keeps me focused and I find that I’m so much more productive. It’s been a helpful way for me to leverage social media without wasting a whole afternoon.
These might sound like silly little tips if you’re not a big social media user. If that’s you, I’m impressed! But if you’re like most of the people I know, you often wonder where those last 20 minutes went after you opened up your phone. Hopefully, these tips can help you make the most of your time online and carve out more time for rest, family, and the world outside of the internet!