Tips for those who are intimidated by screen time statistics
Of course, TikTok is pretty damn interesting. Instagram got us accustomed to avocado toast and discovered dalgona coffee. Plus, social media is an easy way to stay in touch with loved ones and keep abreast of the latest news. But which of these do we really need? Ask yourself, will you really get bored without constantly changing content or are you driven by the notorious FOMO (fear of missing out)? Have you ever been intimidated by the number of hours spent on the phone that the iPhone treacherously shows us every Monday? If you answered yes to even one question, here are nine easy ways to spend less time scrolling thoughtlessly and more time in real life.
Change the arrangement of apps on the screen
We often find ourselves clicking on apps without even realizing it. When I deleted Instagram as an experiment, my finger pressed on an empty spot where the application used to be located for another two weeks. Sometimes we realize that we have just watched five tiktoks with cats, but we do not remember how we got there. More often than not, we take the phone for a specific purpose, but in the end we still fall into the trap of social networks.
Make it harder for yourself and move all the icons to the farthest screen, or even better – hide them inside a separate folder. The more steps you have to take to check social networks, the lower the likelihood that we will get into Instagram, Facebook and other applications by accident.
Turn off notifications
Is it really that important for you to be notified that someone has liked your post or another blogger has shared a new IGTV? Alerts are designed to divert your attention from what you are doing and make you grab your phone again. Leave control: turn off social media notifications and pick up your phone when you need it, not when Instagram requires it. When something happens that really needs your attention, you will most likely receive a call.
Be aware of how much time you spend on social media
Start by identifying your starting point. If your phone is tracking screen time usage, check the statistics. As a rule, a couple of hours does not seriously scare anyone, but try multiplying that arithmetic average by 52 weeks and the resulting figure will shock you. Many of us spend whole days or even weeks and months on the phone not keeping a diary or working correspondence, but on useless Instagram scrolling and the TikTok black hole. Think about what you could spend these hours on that would improve your life or make you more satisfied.
First, analyze which apps you use the most, when and why you use them, and how to replace that habit. If you’re serious about it, try limiting your screen time. The first step is to try to reduce the statistics by at least half an hour, for example, from two and a half hours a week to two. There is no need to rush to extremes and delete all your accounts at once: in this case, there is a high probability that you will fall out.
Use the mute or unsubscribe button
You’ve probably heard the saying that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. So, in the 21st century, proverbial people can be replaced with accounts that you check more often than others. Make a present for yourself and your mental health and clean up or unsubscribe from “blank” profiles, leaving only those that bring you inspiration, motivation and happiness every time you click on their feed or stories. The fewer people you follow, the less time you spend on social media.
Don’t check your phone until 9am
The schedule of many office workers allows you not to touch the phone until 9 in the morning. How many times, under the pretext of work, have you taken a gadget in your hands “just to check that everything is in order”, and in the end fell into a showdown in comments on Facebook and gossip in Telegram channels? Instead of absorbing information that gives you nothing and is forgotten after a few minutes, you could give yourself an extra half hour of sleep.
Set a specific time, such as 9 a.m., or wait 60 minutes after waking up before surfing the Internet. Try not to check your phone until you have a cup of coffee, gratitude journal entries, or morning beauty rituals.
Leave your phone in another room
Sometimes, like on weekends, try leaving your phone in a different room. You will be surprised how little happens online in the time that you replace the gadget in your hands with a book (here’s the bitter truth: when I deleted Instagram for two months, none of my friends noticed it).
After a while, increase the rates and go for a walk without your phone. You have no idea what a sense of freedom comes with this difficult decision.
Don’t use your phone at a desk
Many of us unconsciously pick up the phone when meeting with friends and start scrolling something automatically when a friend tells us about the vacation. Even if at this point you hear everything about her surfing experience, it is impolite and extremely frustrating for the narrator. Would you like your story to be heard with half an ear?
At the next meeting, offer to put the gadgets in the center of the table on the condition that the first person to pick up the phone pays the bill or the next round of cocktails.
Find a like-minded person
If you’re worried about getting lost, find a like-minded person who also wants to spend less time on social media and recruit them to beat tech addiction together. Having someone else know and follow your goals may be enough to end your addiction to social media once and for all.
Watch the movie “The Social Dilemma”
The Netflix documentary explains how social networks manipulate our minds, from harmless purchases to voting results, how, after their invention, the statistics of suicide, depression, anxiety and other symptoms associated with addiction increased; how our brain changes and attention is scattered under the influence of endless scrolling; how companies collect information about users; and why app developers do not allow their children to have not only social media accounts, but the gadgets themselves.