In the spirit of a fresh start for the new year I decided to cut back on using social media in January. Scrolling through blogs, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest has an ebb and flow effect on my perspective and creativity. Sometimes I find inspiration and support. At other times I feel the beast of comparison as soon as I open an app and my creativity feels drained as I see someone else's productivity or smart sense of design.
Lately social media has been more draining than inspiring and so I've implemented some guidelines for cutting back. Usually I regularly check Feedly, Instagram and Facebook multiple times a day and Pinterest about once. I've found cutting back on my consumption of social media to be fairly easy when I really set out to do it as long as I have a plan. One thing that I already do that I think helps to cut back is I have all my notifications and emails turned off for social media apps. It's much easier to ignore something if it's not flashing and "bing!"ing at you. Previously I've also found it very effectively to delete the Facebook app from my phone, although I haven't done that this time.
Here are the rules for using social media that I'm practicing right now (and mostly keeping up):
1. Don't check social media first thing in the morning. Such an easy, gross habit to fall into.
2. Don't check social media at work. It's so easy to put off writing an un-fun email or starting a new task by just checking Instagram "really quick." But scrolling leads to thinking of something I need to look up or write down and soon I've completely lost my train of thought for the task I actually need to get done. I have much more productive and satisfying work days when I don't look at social media.
3. Don't read blogs. I am very intentional about the blogs that I subscribe to and overall I usually find catching up on blogs to be satisfying but it's so easy for reading one blog to lead to jumping over to check out someone's Instagram feed and suddenly be scrolling without purpose.
4. Posting occasionally to Instagram is OK, scrolling is not. I don't have a problem with capturing and appreciating part of my day and I love the medium of photography. I've found that I love looking back at my Instagram feed and being reminded of moments that I might otherwise forget through the years.
5. Check Facebook and Instagram notifications every other day or so for messages or mentions but no scrolling. We have a Facebook page for The Girl Next Door Podcast and I always want to be responsive to listeners or to anyone trying to get in touch with through social media. I'm able to quickly check notifications, respond if necessary and close the app without scrolling.
6. Put my phone away in the closet when I'm at home. Out of sight, out of mind. I would highly recommend this to anyone. It feels embarrassingly liberating to not be tethered to my phone and feeling compelled to "check" things all the time.
And my best tip for cutting back on social media:
7. Always have a good book at hand. This is actually one of my general life rules but I do find that social media is much less tempting if I want to use any spare minute to dive into a book. Currently I'm reading Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari which is funny and interesting and The Engagements, which I'm also enjoying.
I'd love to know if and how you limit your use of social media!