When it comes to what we eat, our generation seems to be in total control. We can cut out gluten, dairy, meat, entire food groups without a blink of an eye. But when it comes to cutting back on social media… um, can we talk about something else? Ever since Camille wrote about taking a digital detox last year, we’ve become more and more aware of just how much time we spend every day on social media.
But what if instead of doing the occasional full-on detox, we simply starting implementing better habits every day?
I’ve been experimenting with this for a while, and my biggest discovery has been this: you can learn to spend less time on social media without actually experiencing any less of it. The secret is to view it more efficiently.
Example: if you scroll your instagram feed just once at 10pm, you’ll see the exact same content that you would have seen if you compulsively scrolled it here and there all day long. But the 10pm check-in took you 5 minutes, and the sporadic, all-day check-ins took you a total of 20. (Not to mention that they distracted you from the world and people around you.)
The idea behind my “diet” isn’t that social media is bad (hey, we’re bloggers), but instead that we should be mindful about how and when we consume it.
Read below for my 6 step social media diet that you can actually stick to, and say hello to having more focused time throughout your day.
image by gigi new york
Put your purse in the back seat of the car.
We’ve all done it (and by “it” I mean killing time at a red light scrolling through our feed.) It’s a bad habit, and not just because it’s seriously dangerous. Kick the habit by placing your bag in the backseat of the car, out of reach. You can use your commute time more wisely by tuning in to a great podcast or listening to a new album.
Never put your phone on the dinner table.
Let’s go ahead and make it official: it’s just plain uncivilized to leave your phone resting on the dinner table when you’re eating with other people. If there was ever a time you shouldn’t be playing around on social media, it’s when you’re face to face with someone sharing a meal. Make it a rule and stick to it.
Stop posting in real time.
Bloggers have known this secret for a long time — it’s usually not efficient or even necessary to post in real time. Take all the pics you want, but save the editing/captioning/posting process for later when you can sit down and focus on that task by yourself. Enjoy the moment you are in!
Designate two social media check-in times per day.
For me, I like to use the early morning for my “outgoing” social media. That’s the time I typically edit, caption, and post images from the day before. I use the time right after work (around 6pm) for “incoming” social media. That’s when I catch up on my feed, respond to comments and messages, etc. My 6pm check-in is a treat after a hard day’s work!
Unfollow accounts that aren’t truly inspiring to you.
Following fewer accounts will naturally cut down on your social media time, and if you take your editing seriously it can actually increase the value of the time that you DO spend on social media. Ask yourself: do you really need to know what Kaia Gerber ate for breakfast today? Only you can answer that.
Plan a trip somewhere without wifi.
Okay, so this is definitely the most fun step of the diet: plan a trip somewhere off the grid. Maybe it’s a weekend camping trip, or a visit to a remote beach in Mexico, or just a trip where you keep your phone in airplane mode the entire time. Take as many pics as you want — you can share them all on social media once you get back. You’ll be surprised at how light it feels. With nothing to check in on, you can totally check out.