If social media is taking over your life: 1. Delete social media apps
If you’re waiting in a queue, for a bus, or for someone to arrive is your automatic instinct to open the Twitter app on your phone? You can’t check it if it’s not there — so consider deleting the app. You can still access it on your laptop. Of course, some apps only work on your phone, like Snapchat or Instagram. For those, try turning off the notifications. That way, you’ll only check the app when you think about it instead of getting cues every time.
2. Set a timer
It’s fine to go on the likes of Facebook daily to have a quick scan, particularly if it’s relevant to your career or business. The problem comes when you get sucked into the rabbit hole and suddenly realise you’ve spent two hours looking at pictures of someone’s new house, wedding, or holiday. Avoid this by setting a timer to remind you when it’s time to log off — 15 minutes is a good start. If you can’t follow the timer, get an app that will force you off, like Self-Control.
3. Change your notifications
Half the fun of using with social media is the rush your brain gets when you see all those notifications. Reduce the rush by getting fewer of them — it’s easy to change your preferences via the settings tab. Do you really need to know every time your best friend uploads a video?
4. Contact people in different ways
Many of us like social media because it helps us keep tabs on our long-distance friends. Unfortunately, it also means we’re content to merely being Facebook friends with them and not actually making contact with them as often as we should. If you notice it’s your friend’s birthday, call him/her instead of writing on their page. If you notice a friend you haven’t seen in a while on your newsfeed write them an email instead. You can stay in touch without social media too. Or better still, meet them in person. No communication is more powerful than human interaction.
5. Switch to airplane mode
Have you ever heard of technology etiquette? When is it appropriate to have your smartphone out and when is it considered rude? One simple tip is to put your phone on ‘airplane mode’ during meals, whether that’s in a restaurant or at home with family. As parents, it’s also a bad precedent to set if you’re scrolling through Instagram in one hand, eating with the other, and barely listening to the conversation. Especially if you are telling your children they shouldn’t be on their phones so much.
6. Get your friends to join in
Next time you are out with your friends, play the ‘phone stack’ game. Everyone puts their phone in the middle of the table. The first person to check their phone during the meal pays for dinner. It works. We all need a little motivation to resist the temptation of our phones.