We all do it, mindlessly scroll looking for a dopamine hit or just to pass the time standing in a queue. Social media is great for both of those things, as well as for keeping us abreast of topical issues and connecting with friends, family and likeminded strangers.
In cities locked down by Covid, social media has been more integral than ever to our sense of community. What’s App groups and Facebook chats have gotten many of us through otherwise-lonely nights, weeks and months.
But if your accounts are controlling you rather than the other way around, it may be time to declutter your social media.
Why declutter your social media?
- Social media is addictive. It alters our dopamine levels by conditioning us to expect constant hits and ongoing entertainment.
- Social media robs us of time that could be spent on more productive pursuits like socialising, work, sleep, exercise and study.
- Social media relies on consumerism and competition which can create FOMO (fear of missing out) and make us feel inadequate, anxious, depressed and lonely.
- Social media is not a replacement for real-life interaction. In-person contact triggers the hormones that alleviate stress. Social media contact does not.
- Social media can reinforce stereotypes by algorithmically feeding us content very similar to what we have engaged with. This can create unbalanced views and unhealthy obsessions. In other words, going down internet rabbit holes about conspiracy theories and fringe movements.
Do you need to declutter your social media?
- How is your attention? Do you often have your nose in your phone when people in real life are talking to you? Is it hard to watch TV because your socials are pinging?
- What about scroll time? There are various apps you can download which track your time on social media. Also inside the Facebook and Instagram settings you can check your usage. It’s often more than you think!
- Do you ever actually log out? Most of us stay logged in, which means easy, frequent access.
- How regular are your notifications? Do you encounter a lot of buzzes and beeps when you are messaged and tagged? Is this really necessary?
How to declutter your social media
- Designate a set time to catch up on your socials. Maybe an hour in the morning and an hour at night, or just 30 minutes at the end of each day to unwind. Sleep experts say screen time right before bed is not ideal, but that’s up to you. While on the sleep issue though, phones in the bedroom through the night are also not recommended but if you must – use Do Not Disturb mode, which disables notifications.
- Use a productivity app to aid compliance with your set times. They block you out of time-wasting apps outside your designated hours by adding a deterrent like an additional password. This reduces distraction and helps you to maintain focus and calm.
- Log out when not within your specified time/s.
- Turn off notifications. You don’t need to be informed every time someone tags you, and your friends will quickly adapt if you aren’t responding to their messages straight away. For me personally, social media is non-essential and messages and phone calls are an exception to that. Maybe your boundaries are different, but limit it to your chosen few.
- Unfollow or mute accounts, groups and people who don’t serve you. Excessive social media content is one thing – excessive bad social media content is even worse.
- Change your device screen to black and white. It dials the dopamine response in your brain right down so you’ll be less inclined to spend hours mindlessly scrolling.
- Do a digital detox for a week or month. Notice how that impacts you and try to apply it to future usage.
- Permanently uninstall apps that aren’t giving you joy. I bet you don’t miss them!
If you you need a Professional Organiser to help with your productivity and decluttering, get in touch.