A Little Spring Cleaning: Take a Detox From Social Media

by Kaitlan Whitteberry on March 3, 2017
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Yes, you read the title correctly. This social media manager is actually advising you to take a break from the very thing that has helped give her a job. The truth is, everyone needs a little breather. Whether it’s from work, watching t.v., or eating Goldfish for dinner, it’s easy to go overboard doing something you love. Social media has a sneaky little habit of becoming a much bigger part of our lives than it needs to be – and it can sometimes take away from other valuable parts of our day. Here’s how you can take a detox from social media, without deleting your accounts.

Think about your morning routine. The alarm hums, you peel your eyes open and what’s the first thing you reach for? Probably your phone. And unless you’re a saint checking email, the first thing you probably pop over to is your social media accounts. This is pretty much guaranteed if you’re a Millennial. 

Then you head to work, connect your laptop to your monitor and maybe scroll through your Facebook page until your coffee kicks in. Later on, you receive a few messages on LinkedIn, so you click over there to approve your connection requests. In the afternoon, your friend Mark in accounting sends over a funny video from YouTube, so before lunch you watch the clip. Before you know it, you’ve wasted more than an hour of your workday. 

While staying in touch and taking breaks isn’t a bad thing, it can be a bit draining at times with so many pulls on your attention. The average person spends two hours per day on social media, with about 50 minutes spent on just Facebook alone. Considering the daily breakdown of your 24 hours and after allotting 8 for sleep, the average person is spending 1/8th of their waking day on a social media site. 

You may be fine with these numbers, and that is absolutely okay. However, if you’re looking to create more balance in your leisure time, or less distraction at your workplace, here are some ways to slowly detach from your social media addiction. 

1) First, Set Time Limits for Yourself

How much time do you think you should be spending on social media? Maybe it’s two hours per day or maybe you’re more comfortable dedicating just 20 minutes. Setting restraints for yourself is a good way to still have these sites be a part of your life, without interrupting it. If you need a bit of help in this area, download an app like OFFTIME or Moment. Both allow you to set restrictions on certain applications or games on your phone. Parents of social-addicted children may also find this application useful to help encourage their kids to experience other (healthier) leisure activities. 

2) Then, Find Out How Much Time You’re SpendingIMG_4261.jpg

Now that you’ve already set your limit, there’s no way your actual time spent can influence the limits you’ve set for yourself. We’re warning you though, this information may come as a bit of a shock. To find out just how addicted you are, head to settings –> battery and scroll down to “battery percentage”. You’ll notice a small clock on the right side of the screen. If you click this icon, it will show you how much time you’ve spent active on each app in your phone in 24-hours or in the last four days. Scary, huh? To the right you’ll see my recent usage. It’s quite clear where my time is going, just after phone calls – Instagram takes up 30 minutes of my day, with Facebook a close second at 20 minutes. That’s almost an hour spent on just two social media sites!

Android users, don’t think you’re off the hook. To find out where you’re spending the most time go to battery –> more settings. Or you could use a third party app. An easy one to use is QualityTime, which keeps track of your usage habits. A little ironic, using an app to track your app usage, but it’s important you know where your time is going if you want make changes. 

3) Turn Off Notifications

So now that you’re slightly horrified at the amount of time you spend on social media, and where you want to be, here’s how to help make it happen. Turning off notifications is one of the easiest things you can do to keep temptation to check your accounts at bay. Having apps on your phone is convenient; however, when you download they often are automatically programmed to send you updates as the become available. Like for instance, when your friend likes a post you’ve commented on. Having these notifications on is not only disruptive, but it can drain your phone’s battery life. To turn off notifications head to settings –> notification center and then scroll down to find the app you’d like to disable. Click on the app and tap the slider next to “allow notifications” so it switches off. For an Android, go to settings –> apps and tap on the app you want to stop. Then click on the box to uncheck the “show notifications” option.  

GettyImages-622427720.jpg4) Don’t Use Your Phone as an Alarm Clock

This seems so simple doesn’t it? Although, from experience, it works. In fact if you can help it, don’t even bring your phone into your bedroom at night. Keep it in the kitchen, or living room to charge. If you can’t fathom the thought of missing some urgent text, charge it on the other side of your room, so you can’t lay awake at night looking at that bright little screen, which can disrupt your sleep pattern. Besides, there’s something sort of nostalgic about using an old-fashioned alarm clock. Or if you’re really fancy, check out these new products that wake you up using artificial sunlight, or one that literally runs away from you until you get out of bed to turn it off. 

The definition of a healthy balance with social media varies by person, but if you feel like you’ve been seeing your friends through a screen more than you see them in person try a few of our tips. Depending on where you set your limits, you could potentially gain back two or three hours of your day. We may miss interacting with you on social for a bit, but we know you’ll be happier and more productive in the long run. 


Kaitlan Whitteberry

Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.

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