With all this downtime in quarantine, we have been more attached to our phones than ever. It is easy to pick up your phone and let hours pass before realizing it’s time to take a break. Does this scenario sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. It’s time to ask yourself, what are you really consuming in those passing hours looking into your device? If you have been scrolling through social media, this is the post for you.
Many of us are addicted to our phones. We rely on them as our main source of connection to others, especially during this time of social distancing. Entertainment can be hard to come by, which is why it seems simple to rely on your phone to pass the time. We are all guilty of it. However, it is crucial to remain present and aware of our surroundings, even if we are confined to non-essential travel routines.
The first step is to make yourself aware of how often you pick up your phone and how long you use it every day. It is best to be as realistic as possible with yourself, which will help you put your time management into perspective. In the settings section of Apple devices, you’ll be able to see your screen usage statistics. In this section, you can review how many times you have picked up your phone during the day, as well as your average usage per week. The numbers might surprise you once you begin paying attention to your data.
Example: Track how many hours you use your phone daily after the first week of observation. Set a small goal to decrease this number next week. Go in increments of 30 minutes.
Quitting social media for good is unrealistic for most of us, for personal and professional reasons. Social media marketing is one of the most powerful tools used by businesses to connect with customers and collect valuable data to draw important conclusions. Plus, social media can be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends who are far away, especially during this time.
Example: I enjoy Facebook messaging my relatives to keep in touch. It is our favorite way to communicate. We love to send interesting articles and funny memes back and forth.
Identify what kind of internet surfing you would like to personally decrease. Is it mindless YouTube challenges? Endless scrolling on your IG feed? Or, addictive applications and games you have downloaded. Choose just one to start with, as to not overwhelm yourself.
Example: My goal is to only allow myself to go on Instagram for a total of 30 minutes a day. I noticed I spend 2 hours a day scrolling through my feed! I’d like to re-allocate my time to other activities, such as running outside, while the weather is still beautiful.
My first and most important tip is to start your day screen-less. Is the first thing you reach for in the morning, your cell phone? How long do you lay in bed, catching up on your social media accounts before getting up and starting the day? Chances are, this is where the majority of your mindless consumption happens. Encourage yourself to get out of bed, stretch, make breakfast, and check your social media while sipping your morning coffee.
Example: Invest in a standard alarm clock instead of using your phone. This will greatly reduce temptation. Allow yourself to get up and start your morning routine. Stretch, shower, make breakfast, and enjoy catching up on social media after you have completed the first few tasks to get your day started.
As I mentioned before, don’t try to quit social media cold-turkey. Allow yourself to decline your usage in 30-minute increments. With the extra half hour you now have in your day, you can invest this energy into more productive entertainment forms. Challenge yourself to exercise, read a book, clean/do chores, craft, organize, or just take some quiet time to yourself. You might find that this becomes the most enjoyable part of your day, instead of scrolling through your guilty pleasure social media pages.
Example: Looking forward to giving yourself 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to yourself can be transformational! Use it to do something you love. You might find you need more than 30 minutes to enjoy your task!
The main goal is to form a healthy relationship with social media and be aware of the amount of time you use on your phone every day. If it is rainy and you get caught up surfing the web, don’t beat yourself up over it. The important thing is to strengthen your awareness and dedicate more time to productive tasks to make a difference in your life.
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