I have a list of things that I do to use social media more deliberately. I will list them here and if you find it may be useful you can have a try .
- First, you need to willingly make this a personal commitment in your mind. It feels difficult at first when you want to reach out your phone again or want to scroll your feed again. But once you are determined to use social media more deliberately, it will bring a huge positive impact gradually. I write this as one of my long-term goals in my journal to always remind myself.
- Set a limit on your time of using social media. I use ScreenTime on iPhone to limit my time on social media to certain time length. A notification will pop up when there are only 5 minutes left, and it will force me to exit the app once the time is up.
- Spend some time going through all the accounts you follow on social media thoroughly and unfollowing the unnecessary ones. Ask yourself questions like:
- Does this account really contribute to my life in a positive way?
- Is this person really important in my life that I want to take care of our relationship with or just an acquaintance who I may not speak to ever since I followed him/her?
- Do I feel energized/happy/inspired etc after seeing the content posted by this account?
The question list can go on depending on your personal goal for using social media. Whether it’s getting insights, maintaining bonds with people or simply getting rid of boredom (hopefully in a meaningful way), there are accounts that are just unnecessary for you to follow. Personally speaking, I find that I use social media much less but still feel pretty good because all the remaining accounts really help me in some way.
- Use some tools to help you if you find it too hard to be mindful when using social media. @aschrijver has mentioned good tools and you can check the awesome humane tech list to find ones that suit your need. The primary tools I use are ad-blockers and a blocker for Youtube (it can hide the recommendation page, comment section).
Shift your attention
- Start your day right. I don’t use social media for the whole morning and dedicate myself to other things like reading and working. Waking up without checking your phone as the first thing to do is very refreshing. And I find myself more concentrated on the important things, hence my productivity goes up. If you find this difficult, maybe find a period of time in a day to not use social media, such as after 8/9 pm.
- Find some other things to do. This is where your personal hobbies, side projects and interactions with people can help you tremendously. The most amazing thing for me after I started using social media more deliberately is my reading time literally skyrocketed. The most recent book I read only took me five days to finish.
Adjust and adapt
- It absolutely takes time, so adjust and adapt to your own condition. Don’t be too hard on yourself and making little progress along the way can boost your self-awareness:).
I agree with you that social media can be a good tool, and I personally benefit from it a lot. However, just as many other things in life, too mindless/excessive social media usage is not a very good thing, so we need to remind ourselves to be mindful. Hope you can find the right balance for you!