Social Media Addiction: 8 Tips For Beating It
Social media addiction is becoming more prevalent as time goes on. Even though many of us find ourselves declaring how much we hate Facebook, Twitter, [insert social network here], very few of us actually do something about it. If you find yourself making multiple posts each day, checking it every time there is a free moment, or launching in to a political argument with one of your “friends,” then it’s got a hold on you.
This can be especially troublesome as you dive in to the new school year. After all, you have several different syllabi that you have to learn, multiple tests and homework assignments, and (probably) a major exam like the ACT, LSAT, or GRE to study for. Thankfully, there is a way of beating social media addiction. Here are some suggestions.
Admit You Have A Problem.
It may sound silly comparing social media addiction to alcohol and drugs with a line like, “Admit you have a problem,” but the fact is, this can do great damage to your productivity and derail your educational goals. While that may not kill you like drunk driving or smoking, it certainly can have a negative impact on your future, and so it’s a good idea not to take it lightly.
Get Back To Basics.
Here’s how social media addiction typically works. You sign up to see what your close friends and family are doing. You follow a couple of people you know or respect. And before you know it, you have 1,000 friends even though you only talk to a handful of people each week. If you feel like your social networking activity has gotten away from you and is starting to consume too much time, think back to the original reason you got on board in the first place. It’s not out of line to do some “spring cleaning” every few months, removing the connections that are no longer of any value to you.
Calculate How Much Time It Is Consuming.
If you feel like you’re spending too much time on social media, guess what: you are. Just how much, though? We suggest doing the math; then return to the question of why you use social media. Take whatever length of time you’ve computed and whittle it down to one-tenth. If you figure out you’re spending two hours per day on social media, then cut it back to 12 minutes. That’s 720 seconds to do whatever you want. We recommend blocking it all together at the end of the day, or you can give yourself four minutes at breakfast, four minutes at lunch, and four minutes before bed. We guarantee that you won’t miss much.
It’s not enough to just tell yourself that you get 12 minutes per day to check social media accounts. You’ve got to stick to it. Set a timer, and get off when it goes off. You’ll find that this leads to a greater sense of urgency. You’ll think, “I don’t have much time, so I better fit everything I need to do in before I run out.” This drill will not only keep you on track and more productive, it will make you realize how much of your time on social media is necessary and how much is utterly wasted.
Go Back To ‘Spring Cleaning.’
We can’t emphasize this enough. The larger your friends list is, the larger your feed will be. And that’ll take you forever to get through. So whenever you have a free day, you might schedule some extra social media time with one goal only: to clean out your friends list. Just start alphabetically and move through them one at a time. You don’t have to get it all done in one day, but you should get it done.
Go Cold Turkey.
Cold Turkey actually keeps you from using addictive sites. It’s a highly useful application, but it still requires you to set it in motion and not fiddle with the settings. This may be something you only wish to do when facing a deadline or some major project.
Create A Productivity List.
What things do you have to get done today? What things would be nice to get done? What extra effort could you give to move closer to reaching all of your goals? Try to replace the void left by confronting your social media addiction with thoughts about these factors. Creating a productivity list is a great way to do it.
Think About Deletion.
Alcoholism runs in my family, so you know what I don’t do every time that I go buy groceries? Buy beer or wine. By not having it in the house, I don’t tempt myself with its use. Similarly, if you just can’t get any of the above tips to keep your social media addiction in check, then you need to take the drastic step of deleting your accounts. If the temptation isn’t there, you won’t succumb to it.
Social media addiction may sound like a first-world problem, but it can also place you behind your peers and on the road to professional ruin. We’re not trying to knock on Facebook and Twitter or any other social networking site. There are many great things that they CAN do. Things like connecting us with long lost friends; allowing us to keep up with friends and families, even if life takes us in other directions; broadening our understanding of a subject; making us laugh.
However, if you’re in school or training for a professional exam, then you should rethink it. The information and understanding that you need to excel will not come from a Facebook feed. It will come from your education and training. Beating social media addiction may require a great deal of focus and will power, but ultimately, it will help you gain more out of the “real world.”
Do you have a social media addiction? What are some tips that have helped you get it under control? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
[Image via roselawgroupreporter.com]