How to Enjoy Social Media Without Wasting Time8 min read
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How much time do you think you spend on social media each day? How about each week? Do you think you could even guess at an accurate number?
Would you believe that the average person will spend almost two hours on social media every day? (source). At two hours a day, this would translate to a total of 5 years and 4 months over a lifetime. To put this into perspective, the average person will only spend 3 years and 5 months eating and drinking, or 6 months of their lifetime doing laundry.
Social media is not bad. There are so many benefits, including being able to keep in touch with family and friends and the ability to connect groups who have similar interests. Social media is also a great place to advertise and make connections for your business. Along with the good aspects though, there are also a number of things to be cautious of.
One of the biggest issues that comes up with us moms is that it can be a big time waster. I know first hand how easy it is to get sucked into your never-ending Facebook feed. I have also spent hours jumping from one topic to the next because something comes up in my feed that entices me to click on to read more.
So the question is… how do we enjoy social media without wasting time?
If you have not done so already, now would be a great time to download the Social Media Worksheet and write out your thoughts as you continue to read.
Know Your Mission
Think about why you use social media. Now think about why you want to used social media and write it down on the worksheet. This does not have to be something life changing or carry a super-deep meaning. It just has to be real. Here are some ideas:
- Is it to keep in touch and communicate with certain people?
- Connect a group either locally or anywhere in the world?
- For inspiration?
- To share memories to look back on?
- For your business?
- To learn more about specific things that interest you?
- To keep up with current events?
- Do you use it to know how to pray for your friends and family?
- Do you enjoy encouraging others and do so this route?
- Is checking your social media feed simply a good way for you to take a break?
- Any other reason why you use social media?
I’m going to encourage you again to be real with your mission. If you enjoy spending a little time here and there scrolling to get a break from your day, there is nothing wrong with this. Just include it as part of your mission so you don’t feel bad about it!
Pick a Platform
Which platforms do you currently use? Think about how often and how long you spend on each of them and for what purpose. Record this on the provided worksheet. Don’t forget to include:
You may honestly have no idea how much time you spend on social media. Try using one of these apps to help determine exactly where your time is going:
Rescue Time (tracks how much time you spend on given apps, websites, etc. across all devices)
QualityTime (tracks how long you spend on each app by day, week, etc. and sends overage alerts)
Once you have a good idea of how much time you spend where, think about the value of that time… If you are spending the time intentionally, it does have value – even when it might not be productive. If much of it is spent just mindlessly browsing, the value will be quite low.
Consider this time spent on social media and if you have other things that hold more value that could be done instead. This is not meant to make you feel like all time on social media is wasted. Even if you are using social media as downtime or entertainment – as long as you are intentional about it, it is not “wasted” time.
After looking at your real time spent on social media, do you feel that this time should be less? If so, there are a few tools that can make this process easier for those of use might be lacking in the self-control department (yes, I would be one of them).
AppBlock (block specific apps at times you schedule for Android)
QualityTime (see above, this does not actually block apps, but does send you a notice when you exceed your desired time on a certain app – for Android)
ColdTurkey (distraction blocker for windows)
Freedom (internet, social media, and app blocker for iPhone, iPad, Mac, & Windows)
Forest (focus made into a game of sorts – for both android and iPhone)
You can also try using a basic timer to limit your time – I like the pomodoro timer, which I use for a number of other things as well.
Another method is to track your time in general. I came from the public accounting world where our time was billed out in five-minute increments, so everything had to be tracked. Occasionally, I will work on tracking all my time to make sure I have a good idea where it all goes (fair warning – even after doing this for a number of years, it is a hard habit to get back into). Toggl is great for this!
If you are working to decrease your time on social media, start with small amounts of change and work your way towards your goal. If you are still having a hard time, you may want to consider giving it up altogether for a little while and then ease your way back into it to determine what works best for you.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or like you just can’t keep up, consider cutting down in one way or another:
- Stop using so many platforms – pick just one or a few to focus on
- Limit the groups you belong to or set up your phone app with a few limited “favorite” groups
- Decrease your number of “friends” or people you follow
Set yourself up for success by limiting the incoming alerts. When you have notifications set on your phone, you are welcoming hundreds to thousands of interruptions to your day. Go back to the days where “if it was important, they can call”. Even if you are committed to ignoring notifications till you are ready to take the time to check them, that takes willpower. We only have so much willpower available to us each day, so there is no sense using it up on something like this!
- Turn off all notifications on your phone (I actually keep my phone on silent at all times. Only a few important people have my home phone number, and they can reach me that way if necessary.)
- Use News Feed Eradicator for Facebook – I love this app as it gives me the ability to hop on Facebook while on my computer if I want to look up something specific (i.e. a group, a business, someone specifically, etc.) but it blocks the news feed completely.
- Hide or uninstall the Facebook app on your phone (I used to have this hidden and only used Pages and Groups, but they have removed the Groups app, so I am now back to using my Facebook app.)
- Use a different device that does not have access to social media (I keep a kindle (fire and paperwhite) on my nightstand that I use to read at night and in the morning. I make a point not to install any email or social media platforms on these devices which helps me stay focused on reading a book, the bible (using bible app), and sometimes I’ll use it to read blog posts using Feedly or Pocket.
Additional Considerations Using Social Media
In addition to being intentional with our time and our “why”, here are a few other things to consider while taking part in social media…
- Are you wasting time, aimlessly surfing your feeds?
- Does judgementalism pop up?
- Do you compare yourself? Do you notice feelings of jealousy or insecurity?
- Is your time online hindering your relationships or responsibilities?
- Are you using it as a way to “check out” of your current reality?
- Are you avoiding something that you should be doing?
- Do you find yourself on your phone scrolling through social media sites when in the company of others?
And some things to think about when you choose to post:
- Are you complaining?
- Do you have a prideful heart?
- Are you becoming too focused on yourself?
- Is your post respectful to others?
- Is this post encouraging?
- Does this reflect the “real you”?
Don’t forget to download the Social Media Worksheet and use to help make your time online more intentional.
I hope that this helps you come to a place where social media is a blessing in your life and not holding you down in any way. I’d love to hear how you are able to be intentional with your time online.