How often do you think you check your phone per day? 20 times? 30? 50? 100? The average American checks their phone 150 times per day as of 2017. That number has risen consistently over the course of the past decade.  Those 150 home screen taps result in two hours and 51 minutes that the average person spends on their phone per day. If you feel like nearly three hours is a lot of time to be spending on your smartphone, you aren’t alone.

40% of Americans surveyed say that it would be very difficult to quit social media, but whether you think that you could drop Facebook without a second thought or you can’t imagine getting through an evening without hopping on Pinterest, there’s a good chance you’re spending too much time on social networks.

Even by conservative estimates, cutting social media out of your routine could easily give you 90 minutes back per day. Don’t fret, here are a few strategies for being more productive and spending less time scrolling through your timeline.

Diagnose your usage

One of the scariest things about social media overuse is that few people are aware of how much they are using it. You don’t start a timer every time you open twitter so you don’t necessarily have a good concept of exactly how much time you’re spending on these platforms.

90% of our time using our phone is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and other social platforms

One of the best ways to get a sense of how big a role social media is playing in your life is to go through your phone settings. By navigating to your battery and power menu in your smartphone, you can see which apps are using the largest percentage of your battery throughout the day. There are also apps like Checky that tell you exactly how many times you have opened your phone that day.

Once you’ve gotten a feel for just how much time you’re spending on your phone, you can begin to work towards making that number a bit smaller.

What’s your goal?

Now that you have a good understanding of how much you use social media and how often you’re on your phone, it’s time to start figuring out what you’d like to achieve by cutting down or shutting off your intake.

Very few people want to completely get off of social media altogether, and that makes total sense; these platforms allow us to connect with one another, stay up to date in friend’s and family’s lives and keep us entertained during downtime. For many, it may enrich their lives to spend less time on social apps but leaving them altogether would mean missing out on many important updates.

40% of Americans surveyed say that it would be very difficult to quit social media

For some people, setting a daily allotment of the time they spend on various apps may be a solution, for others, it may make more sense to set it to a total number of times they check in on their feed per day. Another common strategy is to set a range of hours that they won’t allow themselves to use the social networks. Finally, many people have opted to try a social media detox, taking a few days or weeks off from all of the social platforms to experience their lives without the distraction.

Follow through

The first step is to turn off push notifications. Minimizing alerts helps to reduce distractions and keep you focused on tasks at hand. There are various helpful tools that you can install on your phone or desktop to help in your quest to stay off social media,

  1. Time Out: an app for a desktop that allows you to lock yourself off of certain sites for a period of time you choose. 
  2. Offtime: an app for your phone that will lock you out of certain apps while you’re at work, spending time with family and in various other situations, only granting you access to the particular apps you need.
  3. Flipd: an app that monitors your social media and app usage, giving you an “addiction score” and notifying you of your usage throughout the day

If an app doesn’t seem like the right solution to you there’s always the option to grayscale your phone. This setting is available on most smartphones and by turning down the color palette, it makes our brains and eyes less likely to find the things on the screen as interesting. Many people who use the grayscale option on their phones report using them less and spending less time on them.

You don’t start a timer every time you open twitter so you don’t necessarily have a good concept of exactly how much time you’re spending on these platforms.

If you’re serious about cutting down your social media intake, one of these options will definitely help.

However, if you’re planning a social media detox, it’s recommended that you totally delete all apps and favorites in your browser the night before you start.

Monitor your progress and do other things with your time

Using Checky, Flipd or your settings menu, keep an eye on your total phone usage as you work towards pairing down your app usage.

If the first few days of less social media work out well for you, then keep it up! If your new strategy doesn’t go as planned in your first three days or so, it’s time to adapt and try other techniques.

Use your time away from social media judiciously. Spending time with family or friends, visiting more social settings like local sports games or learning a new hobby are all great uses of your time rather than scrolling through your newsfeed. More free time means more you-time. If you’re looking to be more productive at work or in another aspect of your life, set goals for those things as well as your social media use.

Take note of how you feel when you have taken a few days away from the constant bombardment of notifications and pictures.

Even by conservative estimates, cutting social media out of your routine could easily give you 90 minutes back per day.

For better or worse, social media is ingrained in our modern culture. If you feel as though it has more impact on your life than you’d like, taking steps to minimize how often you use it can be hugely advantageous to your mental health and overall productivity.

If you’re considering taking a rest from social apps, or have started already, let us know how you’re doing in the comments down below!

For more great ideas, stay tuned to Positivities.com.

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