Thursday, November 9, 2017

Weaning Myself Off Social Media

I am constantly trying to use my time better, work harder, not more, etc.  I, a stay-at-home-mom who barely works, feels like I have too many things I want to get done to have time to waste.  Things like sleeping 7½-8 hours a night, spending quality time with my husband and son, reading a lot of books, exercising, and keeping our house clean and organized.  I excel at puttering around the house and sometimes that's useful (nightly clutter pick-ups) but also, can be wasted time.  So can mindless internet browsing, too long Netflix binges, and social media.

Now, I love a good Netflix binge here and there but also really value sleep and other things in my life more...  Although we probably still use our Netflix at least 5 days a week (thank you, The Office rewatch we are currently working on, even though we own all the DVDs, it's still so much easier to use Netflix.).

I also really do enjoy social media.  I like seeing more pictures of my sisters' kids.  Seeing my cousins' kids, friends' kids.  And not JUST kids.  Instagram is filled with pretty pictures than can be inspiring or funny or relateable.  Facebook is a good way to keep tabs on what far away friends and family are doing, or even the ones nearby I don't see often enough.

But I don't want watching other peoples' lives to consume my own.  Like most anything else, it's best in moderation.  So over the last few years I've been slowly weaning myself off social media.  I still check Facebook and Instagram regularly...but not every day.  And not multiple times a day.  I aim to keep my time there to under 10 minutes a day (which still seems a bit excessive when you do the math out to how much time that is a year...seriously, that's more than a whole day a year.)

I also don't use Snapchat and barely use Twitter.  And I'm sure there are dozens more that the kids are using now that I've never heard of.  So when I say social media I pretty much mean Facebook and Instagram.

1) Check Once a Day
I really, really try to stick to this, checking one at quiet time and the other in the evenings once Luke is in bed.  I've been rearranging my blogging/reading schedule as split between those times so it's been changing which I do when but most days, I'm in each once a day.  (And, believe me, you won't die if you go 24 hours between checks.  If something really urgent happens I'm sure you'll get a text.)

2) Delete the Apps
I haven't had the Facebook app on my phone for months (years?) and delete my phone browser cookies regularly so that I have to go through a two-step login process to get back in.  Which is just annoying enough to deter me from checking it.  I stay logged in on my computer but when I do have that on I'm usually trying to get a blog post done, editing pictures, or working on a photobook and am not too distracted to click over.

I do use Instagram through the app but, here's the thing, I delete the app on the weekends.  Check it Friday afternoon, delete the app, and I'm not back in until sometime Monday.  It takes about 2 minutes to reinstall which is enough time to check myself and not download it over the weekend.

It's AMAZING how much less tempting it is when neither is an easy click away on my phone.

3) Reduce Your Followings
I don't accept every friend request and I keep my Instagram (and Twitter) followings pretty low.  I can get through stories and my feed in about 10 minutes.  I regularly skim Instagram for anyone I should unfollow.  Having less to check means less time spent!

4) Mute IG Stories
I don't mind the occasional story from people I know (or even people I don't know but follow) but some people like the stories WAY. TOO. MUCH.  I don't need a play-by-play on your life, thank you very much.  When in the app, if you hold down on someone's story icon you'll get the option to mute their story.  Which I have no problem doing.  Or skip stories that do not interest me.  I do like the feature but I think a lot of people could often be choosier about what they share there.

5) Take Social Media Breaks.  (Plenty of them.)
I've given up Facebook for Lent for the last many years; it's refreshing.  I don't check social media on the weekends (see above...deleting the apps really helps).  I don't check it at the lake (usually being tight on data helps).  I rarely check on vacation (sometimes I jump in to post something relating to a blog post going up).  Being able to ignore it all for chunks of time makes me feel like I have control over it.

(Also, my constant rant to please stay off your phones, social media especially, when you are around other people, particularly people you don't live with.  You should be social with the people actually in front of you before the people behind the screen.   I shouldn't see you checking Facebook at Grandpa's 90th birthday party.  Or Instagram around the table at Thanksgiving.  Or anything at a wedding.  All of which I've witnessed.  END rant (until the next time, it's one of my favorite rants.))

I'm certainly not against social media.  I've been on Facebook for well over 1/3 of my life.  I do enjoy the time I spend on them, but I also enjoy it more than it's just a small treat in my day instead of consuming my life.  I want my living my own life to consume my life.

How do YOU manage your social media time?   

Related: {7} Ways to Spend Less Time On Your Phone

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