9 ways you can spend less time on social media + actually connect!
Let's face it, we're living in a world that is more connected than ever before. The amount of opportunity our technology creates for us is pretty miraculous and we're definitely very lucky to get to experience it. We're connected to people, places things, knowledge, art, literature, literally what feels like, everything -- all at our fingertips. We can Facetime, DM, Tweet, Text, Tictok, Tinder, Facebook, Snap Chat, Email, Live stream, Whatsapp and you'd think this would make us feel more connected.
We're plugged-in and our brain is wired to check all of these apps daily, frequently,
and it feels like somewhat of responsibility. We're habituated to these exhaustive patterns and we're scrolling, seeking something from these external sources that we think they inherently hold. Connection. Eye to eye, human to human, physical connection. The connection that birthed us all, the connection that bonds us and helps us through life, the connection that is IRL.
Try some of these hacks. Find the ones that work and change your relationship status with your phone.
1. Set a timer on your apps or block them.Most social media apps, allow you to implement an alert that tells you how long you’ve been on it through the day. This customizable. So let's say you want to allow yourself one 1 daily for social media time, it'll notify you when you've reached that max. There are also loads of apps that can track and help limit your usage.
Here are a few:
2. Get outside.
Quite literally, just get away from the need to mindlessly scroll your phone and check apps. Go for a walk, hike, the beach.. just get outside in nature more often. Avoid and don't post on social media while doing it. Perhaps, take the photos and videos you want and post it all later, during your deliberate social media time.
It feels so incredible to get away from Wifi signals and you forget why you even wanted to scroll your phone in the first place.
3. Do not look at your phone first thing in the morning.
Research suggests that the first 20 minutes after you wake up are the most important and it can set the pace for where your focus goes and how the rest of your day unfolds. Don't jump on social media.
When you wake up and give your phone that level of importance, the more it will be important. Instead, try some of these habits to replace reaching for your phone.
Another tip is to turn your phone on airplane mode or Do Not Disturb the night before you go to be and don’t turn it on until you a designated time the next day.
4. Learn a new skill.
Get passionate about something you love or have always been interested in. Invest in yourself and get excited about the act of doing something in the real world. Hands-on, away from your phone. This is a chance to connect with yourself and grow, but also meet new like-minded people, in the real world!
5. Turn off all notifications + sound
Our phones are the biggest distraction and a lot of it has to do with the sounds and notifications that pop up on our screen when we get a text message or new email or DM.
We get curious and to want to know who messaged us and what it says. It's easy to get sucked in that way. So if you can, turn everything off, even the text messages that pop up on your screen so the only way you know if you have a message or new DM is when you decide to intentionally check it
6. Put your phone away.
Put your phone away during hangouts with friends, dinners, and conversations that are important.
The very thing we're seeking by constantly checking our phones is right in front of us but we're too distracted to take note.
Feel what it feels like to connect face to face, not screen to screen.
7. Change the placement of your apps.
If you find yourself on an app and you didn't even realize you'd made the choice to open the app, you're giving in to a pattern your brain has created. One way that might help a little is to move the app to another page on your phone. Make it inconvenient to get to.
This way, when you go to unconsciously open the app, its not in the same place and you have time to catch yourself from doing something you didn't want to do in the first place. You'll have to change the position periodically when you get used to where its location is again.
8. Ask yourself why you are spending so much time online?
Be truthful with yourself and ask yourself why you find yourself on your phone so much if you really don't want to be. Are you lonely, avoiding something you have to do, bored, seeking validation from something external other than yourself?
We all may have different reasons but if you want to really break your patterning and rewire your brain to connect in the real world you might have to go deeper with yourself and find out why you find yourself online more than you'd like.
9. Social Media Detox
Choose a day of the week where you log off. Close and log out of all apps and completely disconnect. Perhaps you do this for longer than a day if your job allows for it but one day a week, even several consecutive deliberate hours away from your phone and the need to check-in can really make a huge difference. Not only is it a great way to get some space but also, it starts to break down the habitual patterns you succumb to when you aren't making your decisions with intention.
Altogether, there are so many incredible things that have come from the Internet and being able to connect virtually but healthy and deliberate boundaries between us and our devices are key to a healthier mind and a happier self and ultimately society.