A simple distraction. A tool. A way to communicate. A way to get out of your loneliness. A way to feel understood. A way to get reward and recognition. A full-fledged addiction. It doesn't matter how you call social media or what it means to you personally. You can be sure of one thing: social media corporations are stealing your life time to make money. (1**)
And it's no surprise: they are designed specifically for this, keep you online as long as possible!
As a time management coach, I've worked with clients who struggle with staying productive throughout the day and one common theme that keeps popping up is social media. While social media has its benefits, like keeping us connected with our loved ones, it can also be a major source of distraction that can negatively impact our time management skills.
In this blog post, I'll share some insights into how uncontrolled use of social media can destroy one's time management and provide actionable steps to reduce uncontrolled or unconscious use of social media.
The Impact of Social Media on Time Management and Mental Health
Social media can have a significant impact on our time management skills. Here are a few ways it can negatively impact our productivity:
Time Waster: Social media is a notorious time waster. How many times have you checked your phone for a quick update on your Facebook feed, only to find yourself scrolling for hours on end? According to a study by Nielsen, Americans spend over 11 hours per day consuming media. While not all of this time is spent on social media, it's clear that social media is a significant time waster.
Interruptions: Social media can interrupt our focus and productivity. When we're working on a task and we receive a notification, it can be tempting to check it right away. Unfortunately, this can derail our focus and cause us to lose momentum on our work.
Anxiety: Social media can also cause anxiety, which can negatively impact our productivity. Studies have shown that social media can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. When we're feeling anxious, we are making it that much harder for ourselves to focus on our work and stay productive.
To better understand how uncontrolled use of social media can impact our time management, here are some common examples of situation which I am 100% certain has happened to you to some degree if you use social media:
Mindlessly Scrolling: You're scrolling through your favourite social media feed, and before you know it, an hour or two has passed. You've lost valuable time that could have been spent on something productive.
Notifications: You're working on an important project, and your phone keeps buzzing with notifications. Each time you check your phone, you lose focus and it takes time to get back on track.
Comparison Syndrome: You're scrolling through Instagram and see all your friends posting pictures of their new car, their perfect vacation, and their successful career. Suddenly, you feel inadequate and begin to doubt your own accomplishments.
FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out): You are staying offline for a while and suddenly starting to fear that you are missing an important event, post, news or even a life-changing email or opportunity.
To go further:
How to Reduce Uncontrolled Use of Social Media?
Now that we understand how uncontrolled use of social media can negatively impact our time management, let's explore some actionable steps to reduce it:
Create Boundaries by scheduling social media time:
Another way to manage your social media usage is to schedule social media time. You can set aside a specific time of the day or week to catch up on social media updates, check notifications, and engage with your followers. For example, you can check your accounts for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes during lunch, and 15 minutes in the evening. This way, you won't be mindlessly scrolling throughout the day, or constantly checking your social media accounts, and you'll have more time to focus on your work or personal life. Consider setting a timer for your social media time as well, so you don't go overboard and waste too much time.
Track your time spent on social media:
One effective way to reduce your social media usage is to track how much time you spend on social media platforms. Many smartphones now come with built-in tools to track app usage, or you can download apps like Moment or RescueTime. These apps will track your time spent on social media and provide you with insights on how much time you're spending on each platform. Once you have a better understanding of how much time you're spending on social media, you can take steps to reduce it and improve your time management.
Use productivity apps to block social media access during work hours:
If you find it challenging to resist the temptation of checking social media during work hours, consider using productivity apps that block social media access during certain hours of the day. There are many apps that can help you do this, such as Forest, Freedom, or Cold Turkey. You can set a timer for a specific period during which the app will block social media access, and you won't be able to access any social media platform until the timer is up. This will help you stay focused and avoid distractions, ultimately leading to better time management.
Limit social media notifications:
One of the main reasons people get distracted by social media is due to the constant notifications they receive. Every notification is a distraction that takes away your attention from the task at hand. To manage your time better, it's a good idea to limit social media notifications. You can turn off notifications for apps that you don't need to check regularly, or you can set specific times during the day to check your notifications. This way, you won't be constantly interrupted by notifications, and you'll have more time to focus on your work or personal life.
Get an Accountability Partner:
Find a friend or family member who can help you stop reaching for your phone or tablet when you don’t need to.
Be Mindful of Comparison Syndrome:
Be mindful of how social media affects your mental health. If you find yourself feeling inadequate or comparing yourself to others, take a break from social media. Focus on your own goals and accomplishments, and don't let social media distract you from achieving them.
In conclusion, uncontrolled use of social media can have a significant impact on your time management skills. It's essential to take steps to manage your social media usage effectively, so you can stay focused and productive.
The above tips are just a few ways you can reduce your social media usage and improve your time management skills. Try implementing some of these tips and see how they work for you.
Remember, the key is to be intentional about your social media usage and make sure it's not taking away from your work or personal life. By managing your social media usage effectively, you can reclaim your time and achieve your goals.
1** There is a full-on war literally going on behind your screens for each Big Tech company to make sure that you stay on as long as possible on their social media. Why? It is not so secret: their platforms are free since they sponsor them through advertisement companies, that pay good money to get their ads targeted to susceptible audiences. From there, the scheme unfolds very clearly: they want us to stay long = they are paid by advertisers for targeted ads? No need to be Einstein to understand that the Big Tech are therefore collecting minutes on us, as soon as we use their services. Which is why they want to keep us there for as long as possible. / See: The Social Dilemma (Netflix)