You know something’s wrong when Facebook is the first ‘thing’ you do at the start of the day and the last at night.
This was me some time ago, but it wasn’t just the app itself that suddenly sent shivers up my spine – it was the reason I was becoming addicted to it.
For most people, social media addiction is routed in fear of missing out (FOMO), an intense interest in other people’s lives or, often, just muscle memory and habit.
I’ll admit I occasionally suffered from some of the above, but more often than not, my social media addiction was related to my business.
I’m a content creator and marketer, and I find Facebook and other social media platforms incredibly interesting. They inform some of the decisions I make about my business and provide me with a wealth of inspiration and content from which I can learn.
The problem? I was becoming too reliant on it. I was obsessing over how particular posts were performing; what made them special, how they went viral and why on earth I couldn’t achieve similar reach for my own business or clients. Most frustratingly, having recently adopted the Pomodoro Technique to improve time management and project completion, social media started to get in the way of my productivity.
The Ultimate Guide To The Pomodoro TechniqueBreaking stuff down into bite-sized chunks is the mainstay of the majority of productivity systems. In this post we take a look at the Pomodoro Technique, how it works, why it works and what tools are available to help you manage your tasks.
It didn’t take me long to realise that this continued obsession with social media could be incredibly harmful to my business.
So, I made some changes – and I’d like to share them with you today.
I turned off notifications – for good
The number of times I’d hear that throughout my working day was frightening. It was a constant reminder that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter existed, and try as I might, I simply could resist the urge to pick up my phone and look at them.
What was worse was the presence of an Apple Watch on my wrist. If you’ve got one, you’ll know it makes such notifications far more obtrusive, thanks to the little vibration you feel whenever someone decides to mention you in a Facebook comment.
I decided to turn notifications off for good. And, you know what? I don’t miss them one bit.
I created Social Media Time
Bear with me here.
It became clear that, to avoid becoming lost in a sea of social media browsing that would ultimately prove fatal for my livelihood, I’d need to get serious about how and when I use it.
This was part of the problem; social media remains a really important tool for me, therefore I’m not in a position where I can simply give it up.
Instead, I decided to create Social Media Time for myself in my diary. That’s right – I’d literally book time in with myself to use social media. I had a feeling it would work, because I’d done exactly the same thing when my personal blog writing started to fall by the wayside.
It might sound daft, but for me it has worked brilliantly.
Fascinatingly, I’ve also discovered that I actually need less time than I thought to get the most value from a social media session. I tend to schedule them in half hour chunks, with a maximum of two per day. That results in enough time to keep on top of the most important news and updates from people I have a genuine interest in.
I indulged in my hobbies
Social media addiction can get in the way of a lot of cool stuff.
For instance, I used to really enjoy playing the piano and making music. But with social media taking up so much of my time, I’d have very little of it left to indulge in the things I loved doing. Equally, I wouldn’t want to indulge in them due to the taxing nature of social media on my brain.
So, with my new approach to social firmly in mind, I decided to get back in front of the piano and immerse myself in music whenever I could. This has made me happier and, as a nice added bonus, far more creative during my working day.
Oh, and it has somehow resulted in me working less hours, too!
And finally: why you don’t necessarily need to go “cold turkey”
If social media really is a bind and is causing you serious issues and anxiety, going cold turkey and dropping it entirely for a period might be worth it.
In fact, I know it is, because I did the same thing with Facebook for a year when things were quite so tickety-boo. But, if that isn’t the case, I really would advise against dropping social media just because you’re becoming – or are – addicted.
Social media can be an incredible force for good and an amazing platform on which to learn and grow. Why lose that just because you get addicted to it?
Instead, try my tips above – particularly if you feel it coming between you and your work, like I did. For me, it has worked wonders.