Avoiding social media distraction can be difficult and often we think that avoiding the different social media sites we will be missing something very important, life-changing event. But often times we value these social media sites but we might actually have few helpful use for them. Often at work or even at home, we catch ourselves browsing Instagram, Facebook or other social media sites simply out of boredom. In the process personal interactions, home chores and work tasks are ignored as our endless news feeds occupy our attention. Today we depend on social media for everything and being online is essential not only for keeping in contact with distance friends but also for our careers and professional development.
While there is nothing wrong with being online, or watching endless cute kitten videos, or having a Facebook page, it becomes an issue when you are constantly being distracted by these social media, or your lives comes to be revolved around being online. Like anything, when done in moderation social media can be an effective and meaningful way to connect and learn things, but when abused, it can be very destructive.
With a number of studies coming out saying there is a problem, it is clear that there is a problem and it’s growing an since social media and social media networks are unlikely to disappear anytime soon, there are some precautions that high-frequency users might take to keep addiction in check, accordingly leading a more productive or fun time available for real-life activities.
These are my top three strategies that I used to keep media addiction at bay. While these strategies works with me, it does not necessary means that it will work for you too, so I’d recommend trying what I’ve offered and see how it works and if you find that this technique is not working, there are many sources and article online to help you with your journey overcoming media addiction.
Social Media blockers
If you’re finding yourself spending time browsing social media sites or even spend a lot of time browsing meaning fewer videos on YouTube, you likely nee to find a way to limit your usage smartly. If you use Google Chrome there are different ways to prevent the social media distraction. One of my favorite right now that I use often is Forest Stay Focused, be present. This is a fantastic app because you can set your own focus times from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. The one that I use for my phone is Freedom, it’s also compatible with, Mac OS X 10.8 - 10.12, Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10 and iOS 9+ (iPad, iPhone). I really like this app in particular because it doesn’t block all access to social media and Internet, but only a list of site that you can create. You can create unlimited lists of websites and apps that distract, assign blocklist to any device or schedule. Add websites and apps to custom lists use our pre-defined blocks, and block the entire internet - for times when you really need do not disturb. The one thing that I really enjoy about this App is that it does not allow you to modify Freedom sessions when running. In other words, once you’re set your unblock time to be 10 pm at night, you have no choice, but to wait until 10 pm to be able to have access to your list of social media block.
Turning off your notifications
Turning your notification may seem somewhat insignificant, but it makes a big difference. When you stop notification from distributing your normal routine, you might find it easier to focus on your daily tasks and not get distracted so easily every time someone likes your photo, or you receive an email. Notifications are a constant reminder that something is happening in the online world and you might feel like you’re missing out. There is something also somewhat rewarding to being able to avoid media all day and then having to go online again and seeing what’s happening in the online world – it’s like accomplishing something. Not only that but when you come around to checking your social media, you may have a build up more notifications which will make it more exciting and will make the experience more rewarding. Personally, I find this strategy to be the most effective for me, and ever since I started using it I have noticed that the time I spend on social media has declined significantly, particularly for Instagram.
Schedule Social Media Time
This technique has not been the most effective for me for certain social media sites such as Instagram, but I have found that with social media such as Facebook it has worked significantly. Also, it’s been effective during the school period, where I am able to take social media breaks. Set a timer on your watch or phone to limit the amount of time you spend on social media. Choose a limit depending on the severity of addiction, i.e. an hour, and every time you go on any of the social media site set your timer, once you’ve reached your limit. In addition to setting a timer for social media spending time, the other option is schedule your use of social media. Unless there is an overwhelming reason, don’t leave any social media site open in a web browser tab all the time. If you schedule one hour, stick that time. I was introduced to this idea while listening to the Minimalist Podcast, where Josh Fields Millburn talked about how he overcame his media time by setting a time for it during the day, for example, an hour or two hours at night to binge watch YouTube videos and others online crap to get it out of his system.
These are my three strategies that I always use to undermine my social media addiction and these techniques have been effective for me, but again it does not necessary that it will also work with you. Find a system that works for you and helps you in your journey to overcome social media addiction. It's easy to feel hopeless and like there is nothing you can do, but always ask yourself whether the social media is actually contributing something meaningful as Josh and Ryan from the minimalist would say. You are in control! Don’t let social media and the Internet control you, and when in doubt ask you is this useful?
For more helpful tips, I'd recommend listening to The Minimalists Podcast on media