I know that I can speak for many when I say that social media can be distracting. We have so many ways to access it, from phones to computers to tablets, and we often mindlessly start scrolling through without even realizing what we’re doing. While social media can be a great tool to connect with friends or read the news, it can also get in the way of valuable face-to-face interactions or other important daily tasks. That’s why it’s important to develop some skills and strategies to try to limit social media use.
The most important thing to do when trying to limit social media use is to be honest and objective with yourself. How often are you scrolling through Facebook when you should be doing homework? When was the last time you were with a group of friends and you found yourself looking at Instagram instead of interacting? What’s your motive for connecting to social media? Sometimes it can be a good idea to try and set some limits on when and where you use social media.
A great way to limit time on social media is to decide which times of day you will and will not use it. For example, you could decide that for the first two hours after you get back from school, work or class, you won’t use social media and instead will exercise or do your homework. You could decide to always leave your phone or laptop somewhere else during mealtime, in an effort to be more present when around others. By limiting the times at which you access social media, you will lessen the overall time you spend mindlessly scrolling through Twitter or creeping on your neighbor on Facebook.
If you need some help limiting your use, there are some great online apps available to help. There are different apps with slightly different abilities out there so here’s a guide that will help you pick your best option:
- Leechblock- a free online app that allows you to block certain websites for a desired amount of time. Learn more and download Leechblock here. (Only supported by Firefox web browser)
- KeepMeOut- also free, this app helps you create customized bookmarks to use instead of standard links, and will alert you when you visit a site a certain number of times in a set amount of time. Get started here.
- StayFocusd- an easily modifiable app for Chrome users, this free tool allows you to modify which sites you are allowed to visit and when. Learn more and start staying focused here. (Only available to Chrome users)
- Cold Turkey- another great tool to block distracting websites. Basic functions are available for free, and you can upgrade for higher functioning. Go cold turkey using this link. (Only supported by Windows)
- SelfControl- similar to Cold Turkey, this site allows you to block sites for a set amount of time on a Mac. Click here to learn more and download the app.
- Tomato Timer- if you aren’t quite ready to go cold turkey and you think maybe you can control yourself and stay focused with just a little help and a few breaks, this is the right tool for you. It uses something called the Pomodoro Technique to help keep you productive. Click here to start!
You can stop yourself from accidentally logging onto Facebook on your computer, but what happens when your friend posts a photo and you get a notification on your phone? It’s not always easy to ignore, and phone providers make it difficult to limit access to certain sites from your smart phone. Because of this, there aren’t as many tools for your phone to limit distractions. However, there is an app called Forest that works really well to encourage you not to be on your phone, instead focusing on the task at hand. You enter the app and can “plant a seed,” which takes 30 minutes to grow into a tree. If you leave the app at any time to check another app (*cough* like social media) the tree will die, and you’ll have to start over. Eventually, your hard work will grow into your own personal forest in your phone. Interested? Click here to learn more.
Do you have any tips or tricks for limiting your own social media use? Do you find it helpful to limit the time you spend on social media? What’s the hardest part of reducing social media use? Let us know!