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7 Social Media Habits That Are Stopping You From Getting Shit Done

Do this, not that

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Since the early days of Friendster, MySpace and Facebook, social media has been the world's favorite time-waster. As technology has evolved, our social media habits have only deepened and now we rely on instant access to communication with everyone we know for everything from recommendations for a new doctor to live commentary around our favorite TV shows. While many of the effects of the rise of online communities have been positive, they take up increasing amounts of our time—and time is not a renewable resource.

 

If you sense that you spend more time on social media than you'd like, there are some habits you've likely developed that are enforcing that behavior. Here are seven reasons you are probably spending way too much time scrolling, and some ways to reclaim some of that time back.

1. Keeping Your Notifications on

You know the feeling: Just when you're getting into a groove at work, your phone starts pinging you with useless updates about who liked your post, what to bring to an event coming up today that you have no intention of attending, etc. Adjust your notification settings in all of your social apps so that you only receive the updates you actually need, and get familiar with that "do not disturb" feature so you only get them when you want.

2. Browsing While You Charge

When you're waiting for your phone to juice back up, it feels only natural to do what you always do when you're bored: check the timeline. Not only does this turn you into a zombie who doesn't feel the time pass, it actually makes your phone charge more slowly. Instead, decide how much time you're willing to spend on charging, turn your phone on airplane mode and focus on something else while you wait. Read a magazine, take care of a chore or two, or have a no-phones-allowed conversation. Being more intentional and productive while you charge will help you move on with your day.

3. Surfing Stories Vs. Choosing Who You Want to Catch Up With

Instagram has no shortage of ways to waste time, including what feels like hours of endless back-to-back Stories to surf. But far from news you can use, most Stories are pretty much empty content calories. Ditch the play-by-play of your college roommate's niece's bar mitzvah and scroll through only the stories you find useful, or from the people, you find consistently entertaining. And as always, be mindful of how much time you're spending on mindless surfing.

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4. Browsing On the Toilet

According to recent surveys, roughly 80 percent of men admit they use their phones on the toilet (50 percent admitted they do it every time). While you...uh, multitask, you're actually risking your health, contributing to the spread of germs and wasting significant portions of time in the process. Instead of creeping your ex's Instagram while waiting for lunch to digest, leave your phone back at your desk and keep your visits to the john short and sweet.

5. Facebook Flame Wars With Strangers

We live in a polarized political climate and a Facebook algorithm that prioritizes posts from friends and family, which means you've been bombarded with lengthy political rants by those you agree with, and probably even more from those you don't. It can be tempting to engage with the especially bad takes from your gun-toting aunt or your Bernie-bro high school math teacher, but every minute you spend on these conversations are wasted moments of your life. Remember: people on social media are rarely looking for their minds to be changed, they're just looking to spar using language they would likely never use in person. Save the political talk for when you see each other (and connect as humans vs. avatars) and mute or unfollow those who troll you extra hard. You can do it.

6. First in the Morning, Last at Night:

For many, social media is how the day starts and ends. If you're like most, you've probably woken to your alarm, checked your notifications, dived deep into the latest Twitter beef du jour and looked up only find you should have been showered and on your way to work 10 minutes ago. Or maybe you know the feeling of checking your phone one last time before bed and suddenly falling into a YouTube hole that leads you to 3 am, too wired to sleep, eyes itchy from screen fatigue. Avoiding social media before and after sleeping relax your over-stimulated eyes and mind, center you mentally and help keep your priorities in check.

7. Not Using "Screen Time" Settings

If you guessed how much time you spent on your phone each day, you'd probably be shocked. Between mindless social media consumption, texting with friends and family, and all the other ways we use our smartphones, it's easy to spends upwards of 3 or even 5 hours a day on your phone. With iPhones and Androids both offering screen time monitoring, not setting and keeping to daily or weekly goals and limits (especially as they relate to common social media apps) is a sure way to lose hours you can't get back. Use the robust tools on your phone to help you make sure you are making better use of those hours surfing your timeline.

 

Related: Social Media Has Changed the Sports Landscape, For Better or Worse

Related: This Rising Musician Is Riding the Social Media Wave

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