You know those commercials that talk about how smoking or drugs are bad for you? How they drain you out and destroy you? They need to add social media to that list.
Seriously, it’s one of the most addictive things out there and in here, on our devices today. I wish I were joking, but you know I’m not.
Most people nowadays work from home (raises guilty hand) and find great comfort in balancing business and pleasure this way. So how do we steer clear of the whirlpool that is social media? Here are seven things that work for me:
1. Set a timer for social media
Set a 15-minute limit for your time on social media and resolutely log off. Don’t go over the limit and don’t cheat by saying you’ll just check one more thing. Trust me on this.
2. Pick the social media channels that work
As bloggers, it’s important to have a presence on social media but which one should you choose? Personally, I find value, traffic to my sites and engagement in two places: Facebook and Twitter. Although I have accounts on Linkedin, Pinterest and Google+, I find very little traffic coming from there. So I tend to spend more time on the media channels that work.
3. Stop scrolling
This is the one thing that probably eats up more minutes in your day than any other task. The minute you start scrolling through the news feed or your timeline, you’ll be wondering where the afternoon went or why that laundry is still in the dryer! The second you find yourself scrolling beyond 3 minutes, stop and ask yourself: Am I gaining anything by this? If the answer is ‘No’, tear yourself away from your screen; yes, even from that entertaining video of the puppy jumping over a ball of yarn!
4. Remove social media apps from your phone
This was one of the best things I ever did. I uninstalled the Facebook app from my phone and resolutely stopped typing long messages/status updates on the phone. One reason was my shoulder injury back in October 2014 but the other reason was the fatigue I felt at peering into a tiny screen all day long. You can always access your sites via a laptop. The one thing I retain on the phone is Twitter since I get real-time traffic updates when I travel, although I have turned off notifications for every app.
5. Turn off notifications
Suppose you can’t un-install apps on your phone, do the next best thing. Turn off all push notifications, e-mail notifications and sounds that indicate you have a new message. Hey, if people really need to reach you in a hurry, they’ll find a way. Trust me. You’ll survive.
6. Do something else
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised! Try this trick which I read in an article online. Every time you pick up your phone or open your browser to navigate to those notifications on Twitter or that like counter on Facebook, stop and do something else: pick up a book and read a page; walk 25 steps within your home; drink a glass of water (hey, it’s good for you!) or sing out loud a song from your favourite band.
7. Leave all devices outside the bedroom
This has worked wonderfully for me, to be honest. No more reading in bed, no more frantic checking of messages and no more late nights for the most part. I curl up with a book, a warm blanket and my thoughts every night now. Life has never been more peaceful.
So what’s your story?
Does social media suck your life dry?
What strategy works for you?