INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY – INGEST SOCIAL MEDIA IN MODERATION
Welcome to another Mush Monday how-to article. In this piece, we will discuss how to ingest social media in moderation. As we have addressed in previous articles, social media can be an enormous obstacle to your productivity. However, in today’s world, it is virtually impossible to lead a life without using them. Nearly every corporation, small business, or individual needs a social media outlet to communicate with clients. It is an important and vital marketing tool, especially if you are a freelancer or a one-man team.
Even if we disregard the professional field, social media still plays a big role in our personal lives. That is how we communicate, keep in touch, stay informed, and relieve some stress. Can you imagine going two days in a row without checking Facebook or Instagram? Most consider it nearly impossible.
Nowadays, most people feel they can’t live without checking their social networks and are extremely dependent on them. There is nothing wrong with ingesting social media occasionally. Those accounts are great outlets for our stress and are, in fact, a helpful tool to keep in touch with people that would be long forgotten otherwise. The problem here is using social media tools in moderation so they don’t have a negative impact on your life.
Social media is so addicting that people don’t realize they spend an obscene amount of time brainlessly scrolling through empty content. One more image, one more celebrity article, one more funny video, one more message, and when the day ends, a third of it was spent browsing the networks. If you take a hard look at your daily routine, you can probably relate with that. Do not be ashamed, for that is how they are designed. They are created and improved in a way that makes you spend more time than you wish. Candy Crush, for example, is a fine example of how Facebook manages to make millions of people sink time and money in their network without even realizing the total amount of time they spend online.
There is no denying that social media is a necessity and plays a big role in our lives. However, in order to lead a productive and healthy lifestyle, there needs to be moderation. That is what we will discuss and, hopefully, help you overcome.
The easiest way to ingest social media in moderation is to create a timetable for it. The problem most of us have is that it is too easy to access social media. It’s just a click. Every five minutes or at every tiny little break, we click it, and those five minutes turn into ten, twenty, or thirty minutes. Time flies by like it was nothing. Some people are heavily addicted to social media, but even those who aren’t, like most of us, still spend way more time than they should. It is just how the system works. It is designed to make us sink time absorbing trivial information and having casual interactions. It is designed to distract us from the fact that we are devoting too much of ourselves to them.
So how do we avoid this? By scheduling a timetable for social media. Give yourself a timeframe to use them as you wish, whether it is scrolling down your feed, playing games, or talking to people, but you have to be strict with that timeframe. You can’t fall prey to the “just five more minutes” mentality.
Obviously, if you use social media for work purposes, you can’t be as strict because it is a tool inherent to your job. However, in regard to personal usage, you will have to be self-disciplined and avoid logging in. One great trick that helps out a lot is to be sure to log out every time you finish using them. In this sense, every time that you feel the urge to check out what is going on, you will have a chance to rethink the decision when you are faced with the log-in menu. Still, it demands a great deal of self-discipline to stay logged out.
More to the point, there are two ways that you can schedule your social media time. You can create a self-imposed timeframe, for example, when you wake up and are having breakfast or right before bed. Those are the times of the day when people usually are freer to indulge in scrolling through their feeds. If you enjoy breakfast-time with your family or alone, then you will probably be more comfortable setting up the timeframe right before bed. However, there is one other option, which leads us to the second way as well. You can schedule your social media time to periods of time where you know that you won’t have anything else to do, such as if you are a public transportation commuter, if you have an appointment scheduled, or if you regularly have to wait for someone else. Instead of these being periods of “dead time,” you can use them to satisfy your social media cravings and stay up-to-date with current events. At least in this manner you won’t sacrifice your personal growth time, and you won’t overindulge during work hours.
One of the reasons the ingestion of social media in moderation is so hard to do is the fact that there are myriad social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and so many more. Trying to keep up with every profile and network takes so much time that it’s easy to over-use them. A simple solution that might help one avoid over-indulging in social media is to cut back on the number of network accounts you have. Instead of using so many, pick one or two that you like the most. If you have profiles on four different networks, then allocating your time to just two of them will cut the time you spend in half.
Unless you are using social media for professional reasons, there is no valid reason for having a profile on every network out there. Keeping up with one or two already demands too much of your time as it is. In order to ingest social media in moderation, you also need to take into account that you don’t need all of them. Pick the ones you enjoy the most or are the most active in, and manage those. The safest option would be to delete the profiles that you are not going to use as much. That takes courage!
Let’s take a look at it in practical terms. Imagine that every time that you scroll through your feed, you spend around five minutes. If you are active in five networks, that comes to 25 minutes. However, if you only have two profiles to check, that’s only 10 minutes. The time you spent was cut by more than half. This is a bullet-proof method to moderate the amount of time you spend online. On the other hand, if you really feel like you can’t give up any social network accounts, then reduce your usage time. Start slowly from five minutes per network down to four, and then three. The goal is to reduce the amount of time you spend on each network per session. You can use whichever works better for you.
There are many options available to help people reduce their social media time. Don’t be afraid to take that step if you feel that social media addiction is consuming your goals. Everyone needs a little push from time to time. What matters is the end result. Let’s take a look at how you can request assistance to moderate your ingestion of social media.
The first step is to talk to your friends or family members. This is the simplest manner. Tell everyone that you are going to limit your social media time. This serves two purposes. First, it holds you accountable since you won’t want to fail yourself or others. Second, your friends and family will be aware of what you are trying to accomplish and they will help you out. Don’t be afraid of depending on others. We know it sounds silly, but the results are there. We know of many cases in which people were struggling with managing their consumption of social media. After admitting the problem, they asked those closest to them for help. In the following days, their family or friends would message them to go offline and, as silly as it may sound, it worked. When you ask someone to help you, there is a sense of duty in obliging. If it works, then it is worth it.
The next step is to take advantage of available software designed to curb the usage of social media or other time-wasting sites. Dependence on social media is a growing problem, and there are solutions in the form of software that monitors or controls your usage, or at least raises your awareness of how much time you spend on the sites. Two noteworthy applications are RescueTime and MinutesPlease.
RescueTime lets you know how much time you spend on a specific site. It runs on your computer in the background without popping up. At the end of a day or week, for example, you can see how much time you spent on social media. Also, it has some additional features like blocking specific websites or warning you about the amount of time you have already been online in a certain social network. If you truly think that you can’t use social media in moderation, then this is a great option to help you build some self-discipline.
On the other hand, MinutesPlease tries to do the same thing, but in a lighter manner. You don’t need to install anything at all. Just access their site and enter the website address you want to monitor and the time limit you want to set. After that time period expires, popups will start to appear warning you that the time allocated is over. It is just a warning tool, so it requires a lot more self-discipline than RescueTime.
The final step is to ask yourself for help. You can try every method in the world, but in the end, all that matters is your commitment and will to reduce your consumption of social media. This holds true to everything. When you start a diet, for example, that diet’s success depends on what you put in your mouth. If you are trying to control your social media intake, then you need to ingest it in moderation. Slowly you will lose “weight” and become a better version of yourself, which leads us to our next point – self-discipline.
Of all the methods to reduce the ingestion of social media, self-discipline is the one that is the most vital, not only to implement lasting changes, but to develop your personal growth as well. Self-discipline is what makes people become greater and better. The journey to greatness and a productive life is impossible without a great deal of discipline. Also, even if you try all of the above methods, they won’t last very long if you don’t develop the will to change and stay on course afterward.
All of the strategies we have discussed to help you are just starting points. Like all habits and addictions, if you don’t possess the discipline to stay focused day in and day out, the results will start to fade away. You might adopt one of our strategies and reduce the ingestion of social media for a month or two, but if you don’t have the strength to change your core habits, then you will slowly fall back into your old routines.
Every journey demands commitment, discipline, and will. There are no quick fixes when it comes to improving ourselves. If you are really adamant about keeping the ingestion of social media in check, then you will have to develop the discipline to remain strong.
Our strategies will help you get the foot out of the doorway. After that it is up to you. No one can change you. You have to change for yourself. We are here to guide you and help you in whatever ways we can, but new habits never come easy. If you have a high consumption of social media, you can’t change that overnight. It will take time to replace bad habits with good ones. Our tips will help you reduce the time you lose until you build the self-discipline to replace that time with more productive endeavors. Most healthy habits aren’t built because they are fun. At first, they take a huge amount of commitment and strength. Then over the course of weeks and months they become habits. That is how you must tackle this problem.
At Mush Monday, we advocate the benefits of a productive life and try to warn you of the dangers that our modern society presents to our goals. If you acknowledge the problem, that is, if you recognize that you need to ingest social media in moderation, then you are already one step closer to the solution. Most of us fall into a cycle and we never realize that there is something wrong until it is too late. If you are able to recognize that you are not spending your time wisely and need a change, then you have started in the right direction.
Social media outlets are virtually a necessity, true, but they are also a danger to our productivity. At this point, we need them not only to grow as a professional, but also to stay connected with other groups and people. Still, you must practice moderation, now more than ever. Everything in excess is bad for us. Hopefully, after reading this article you will have the know-how and motivation to change this problem.