Last time, I talked about scavenging through our minds for the real, deeper reason why we spend an excessive amount of time on social media. Now, I’m back to share with you four of the strategies I’ve learned to help deal with this problem. Moving forward with the right mindset will put these solutions into better use.
The first is the easiest but often the most difficult to do.
1. Give your biggest social media obsession a break for a specified amount of time: weeks or months depending on what you can realistically handle.
Don’t jump into the icy waters and say you’re never going on X, Y, and Z again. You’ll simply end up back on the website or app an hour later. Sometimes my fingers type Facebook.com as soon as I open a web browser without my wanting to go there in the first place. It’s scary how it had become instinct for me to get on Facebook.
The break will be hard because you’ll start to panic about all the information, news, funny videos, and updates that you’re missing out on. But guess what? You’re only taking a break from your biggest social media addiction, which means you can casually, I say casually, scroll through what’s new in other websites or apps. The point here isn’t to replace one addiction with another, but to force yourself to think about how you can use time more effectively in the long run, especially if you’re a creative.
When you take the break, you’ll hopefully find yourself giving more love to your projects and feeling better about getting more done. Giving Facebook a break has forced me to hunker down and write while planning for the next batch of writing. Sometimes, I can’t believe how much time I’ve saved and wonder why I didn’t do this in the first place.
Keep a record of how much you’ve accomplished in a notebook, calendar, or note app on your computer or phone. Recording these achievements is essential. Don’t skip this task.
I don’t plan to stay off Facebook forever. I want to finish editing my book first, and then I’ll log on to the popular social network. But when I do, I’ll have my list of accomplishments available to remind myself of how much I got done when I wasn’t a permanent resident of Facebook and that I should never return to becoming one ever again.
Okay, so your break or fast from your media overlord is over and you’re afraid you’ll go back to where you started—wasting lots of time. This is where 2 might help.
2. Set a timer on your phone or computer for social media activity and stick with it.
You can set the timer for five, ten, or fifteen minutes, depending on what you think is reasonable. You’ll be surprised how a timer going off can abruptly snap you out of a trance and set you back on track to working again. The main point here is take back control over your time and not surrender to multiple distractions.
Now 3 is for those worried about important personal connections during the break.
3. Communicate with friends and family you really care about through texting apps
or other forms of communication—phone calls.
To be honest, the only people I call on the phone to ask how they are my parents and grandparents. My friends get texts and video chat calls. The amazing realization I got from taking a Facebook break was how very little my circle is. After my family, I care very deeply about only six of the three hundred plus people who are my friends.
They are the ones I want to stay in touch with for the long run. They’re the ones I want to know how they’re doing and where they are. They’re the ones I want to share details of my life with. I don’t need to know the minutiae of other people’s lives or tell them everything about mine nor should I be wasting essential time doing so.
Social media is an illusion anyway. Understand that and you’re already several steps ahead to living a better life.
Okay, 4 is for the creatives/dream chasers.
4. When taking a break from a project on the computer, step away from the computer.
Do something else. Leave your work space alone, go outside, take a walk, take a nap, grab a healthy snack, meditate; do anything but browse on the net, read e-mail, or catch up on social media. Doing so might turn your “break” into an all out one-hour eye-tiring session. Trust me. I’m a certified victim of computer “breaks” and they do not help one bit in rejuvenating me after a long writing session.
And that’s all I’ve got for you. What are some ways you manage your time properly when hooked to social media land? Would love to hear your thoughts!
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Be sure to look out for my e-book, The Passionate Dreamer’s Notebook: For Those Who Refuse to Quit, coming out soon!