The idea of going on a social media fast is about as appealing as going on a food fast. However, just as fasting from eating for a short time can have benefits, limiting social media can help you refocus on what’s important. Having the interests and career that I do, there isn’t really a feasible way for me to unplug from social media totally. For me, limiting and optimizing it to be efficient is not only possible but necessary.
With that in mind I am transforming my social media habits to increase my effectiveness and productivity throughout the day. The next time you go to look at your phone for something other than to answer a call or a text, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Maybe you’re bored, you want to find something, or you’re doing it out of habit. Break that habit now. If that means you have to delete all your social media apps for a week then do it! There are 100 better ways to spend your time than looking at every post on your feed.
Don’t just trust yourself to not open an app you’re addicted to. Delete it. This doesn’t do anything to your account or data. It just gives you the accountability of having a barrier. If you get really desperate you can always re-download the app or log in from your phone’s Internet browser.
“But I just look at it in my down time!” you cry in defense! I’m not really wasting any time.
I beg to differ. If you open Snapchat 10 times a day and spend 30 seconds on it each time, you’re spending over two hours a month looking at and sending pictures that disappear after a few seconds. Multiply the number of other social media outlets you use and the amount of time you spend on each of them per day and you’re wasting hours of time every month.
You know there are better ways you could spend that time. For example, how many books have you read this year? President Teddy Roosevelt read tens of thousands of books in his lifetime. How could someone as important and busy as the President of the United States have the time to read that many books?
Simple, he didn’t have a smart phone or a Facebook account.
I, like many of you, have the bad habit of opening my phone during down time. What I did recently to improve my smart phone experience is install Amazon’s Kindle app. That way, if I have an extra minute or two during the day I can open up the book I’m reading and make a couple pages progress learning something important.
Another app I installed on my phone is Stitcher. This is an app that is used to stream podcasts. The beauty of Stitcher is that it can give you anything you want. You can learn a new language in just a few minutes per day with a foreign language learning app. You can listen to the news in condensed segments with NPR, and you can learn about all of the random things you should have already learned about in the popular “Stuff You Should Know” podcast.
Listen while you’re driving, working out, cleaning or working, if your job allows. In fact, if you get really desperate you can listen to a podcast while your browsing Instagram. At least you’ll be learning something while you look at girls doing yoga on stand up paddle boards! (I’ll review my top 5 favorite podcasts in a later post.)
We all like watching funny videos of cute animals or our silly friends on Facebook but there’s no need to waste so much of our valuable time on them. Spend every minute of your day smarter and think about what you can do to optimize your social media to have a more productive and efficient life.
Tell me about your social media / smart phone hacks in the comment section below!