Spend time where it really matters and be happier
Social media is harming your health and your real-life relationships. You don’t want food, to roll over and kiss your spouse, or hurry to wrap your arms around your kids. You are happy snuggling down under the covers and interacting with electronic relationships on social media before your feet ever touch the floor in the morning. The first thing you wake up craving is social media interaction. You go through your day and all you can think about is your next social media fix. Who has done what on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or pinned something great on Pinterest? You aren’t really present because your physical presence is preempted by your online relationships.
Are you alarmed?
If you’ve ever hidden in the closet or the bathroom to check in on your smartphone you might need a detox.
Still no worries about your phone usage?
Good for you! If this is true you are not normal because Adweek says you will spend more than 5 years of your life on social media.
It is so last year to only spend 40 minutes on YouTube. When was the last time you only spent 35 minutes on Facebook, 25 minutes on Snapchat, 15 minutes on Instagram or a few minutes on Twitter? The social media platforms have already changed and those time allocations are so laughable they don’t even deserve a citation. No one believes that is all the time you spend on social media.
Teens spend over 9 hours each day on social media. Throw that statistic out the window too.
Let’s see if there’s some realistic news we can share.
Maybe our time slips away so quickly there’s no relevant current statistic with respect to our actual usage.
I can’t find a current stat anywhere, making this great evergreen content. We’re not even talking about the more than 100 times a day you check email.
Your blog is on social media and you have to check in. Or, your business is online and you have to be connected to earn money, pay the bills. Yada, yada.
Automate Social Media
It can be done effectively in less than 5 hours each week.
How in the world does a person do that?
ATS — Automate That Stuff! (I have a tween who speaks in acronyms, so I beg your pardon to introduce one here).
Here’s a real question: Were you happier before you were connected by your phone constantly?
I can honestly remember when my phone was not a mini computer and I actually used it as a phone, and I’m not that old. I remember feeling more freedom than I do now with my smartphone in my pocket.
Are you happy trading real-life relationships for automated ones?
Would you ever give it up?
- It’s addictive
- It triggers sadness/feelings of inadequacy
- It’s like a drug with mental health and physical issues
No need to hold your breath that another listicle is coming your way. We all know those bullet points are valid and don’t require explanation.
Psst: More social connections and followers don’t make you more social.
It’s like a drug, a quick fix won’t do… Here’s what you should do instead.
Practice doing without Social Media
Hold it at arm’s distance. Practice doing without it for periods of time. We’ve been conducting an experiment on our house over the last several weeks. No phones at the dinner table. No phones in the morning. We’re even considering no phones in the bedroom. Because, well, wouldn’t it be great if other things happen in the bedroom? Okay, that’s a little tongue in cheek, but if your phone has come between you and a romantic encounter with your partner it’s time for a serious overhaul.
For now, I still use my phone as my alarm clock, but it is on the dresser across the room, not within reach. I have to get out of bed and pick it up. I can’t snuggle down at the foot of the bed and scroll. It’s a good thing.
My husband can’t engage with his phone during a meal. We get to see his face instead of the top of his head and we have a meaningful conversation. No one takes a phone to the bathroom because that’s gross. If there’s a place not to use a phone it has to be the bathroom. I feel the need to find a can of Lysol now. Eeew!
For goodness sake put that thing down while driving. Social media or a text isn’t worth your life or someone else’s. Each day in the United States 9 people are killed by distracted driving, according to the CDC. No one wants to be party to this statistic. If you’re not on the phone you might see something you’ve never noticed before.
Talk to Each Other
Do your real-life relationships suck? It used to be common courtesy to look each other in the eye while having a conversation. It’s okay, encouraged even, to talk to each other instead of sending a text. Being bored for a while is actually good for your mind.
We all engage more with each other and feel more connected. We thrive on and with each other instead of with people who don’t matter. Our relationships are better. There’s more life to live outside of social media.
Give it a try and see if you agree.
Is your social media usage in over-drive? Comment about how you plan to change your behavior.
Originally published as a contributor to Thrive Global.