Are you overzealous with your phone usage, like so many others in the world?
If so, you’re in luck: these tips will help you limit your intake of social media and help you comprehend if your level of this form of tech addiction is out of control.
Identify Your State of Internet Addiction
The first question you may be asking yourself just upon reading the headline of this article is likely “am I actually addicted to internet and social media?”
For most people, the answer is certainly yes. But just how addicted to your smart phone are you?
There’s a multitude of helpful quizzes out there to help a person realize if they are addicted to using the internet, but I found these two to be particularly useful:
Furthermore, reflect on your personal usage and recognize the most common signs of smartphone and social media addiction. Are you guilty of any of the following, potentially dangerous behaviors?
● Using your smartphone while driving, at a movie, or in the middle of a conversation
● Checking social media relentlessly before bed or first thing in the morning
● Being glued to your phone in social or awkward situations
● Overusing your phone during work hours
Cut out any forms of tech addiction that may present dangers to yourself and others. Don’t be one of the 75% of people who admit to regularly texting and driving. The risks outweigh the potential dangers here; social media use and texts can always wait until you’ve arrived at your destination.
Refine Your News Intake
One form of internet addiction that may go slightly under the radar is the phenomenon of becoming addicted to the news.
I’m personally guilty of this, and have oftentimes caught myself scanning news articles for hours and hours on my iPhone without even realizing it. One thing is certain, social media is the online news source of choice, with 62% of adults getting their news through social media platforms. Most people now revert to their phones or other online news sources rather than tuning in to local news on television.
Avoid going too deep down the news rabbit hole, and instead refine your choice in news sites. Do this by deciding which outlets are best for you, and set those to default on your smartphone’s news app.
Check yourself anytime you are spending too much time scouring news posts on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t have to ignore news posts altogether, just make sure you aren’t wasting your time. Draw the line between what’s relevant to you and what’s simply entertainment news.
Grow A Forest of Productivity
Do you need a unique way to keep yourself off social sites during hours of productivity or work? Luckily, like most things in life, there’s an app for that!
A simple app appropriately called Forest provides a fun way to keep on task and away from pesky, addicting, websites.
The premise is simple:
Start by setting a list of sites that are common distractions for you. Then start growing a tree. You’ll focus on the task at hand and stay away from the blacklisted sites you’ve set. For each twenty five minutes of successful work completed, you’ll grow a tree. If you visit one of the distraction sites, the tree will die and you’ll have to start over.
The goal of the Forest app is to grow two trees an hour, all day long. You’ll grow a forest which is reflective of your diligence and discipline in keeping your mind from wandering to distracting sites.
Set Limitations and Reward Yourself
It’s easy for many people to fall into the routine of ‘chronic’ cell phone useage.
Rather than continually checking your social sites throughout the day, set specific times of day to do so. Breaks from work can be excellent times to check social media, as well as the afternoon after accomplishments for the day have been met. Reward your hard work by checking social sites. This incentive-based system will make you feel good about completing tasks.
Also, remember to avoid too much screen time before bed or first thing in the morning. Your status update can wait until you are fully awake.
Try a Social Media Cleanse
If all else fails, try the ‘cold-turkey’ approach. A social media detox may be exactly what you need!
This means temporarily suspending your social media usage all together. Try it for a day, a weekend, or even a week or two; do whatever is most comfortable. Planning a trip in the wilderness is a fantastic way to go on a social media break. Oftentimes you won’t have service in more desolate places anyways, so taking a quick camping trip and leaving the internet behind is a good way to analyze your usage.
It may be surprisingly pleasant to be away from your smartphone. We may forget to push the pause button on our digitally ingrained lives, but it’s widely beneficial to do so.
Start by addressing your usage, then create a plan of action, and finally push forward and remain accountable in keeping your digital addictions at bay. After all, there’s so much more to life than an illuminated 4.5 inch screen. Don’t forget that!