10 Ways to Wean Yourself Off of Social Media

Over the past few years, it’s become trendy for people to quit social media – either temporarily or permanently. Most people love it. They feel freed, more present and more productive. But what if you can’t get rid of your social media profiles because you need them for work? Or what if you’re just not ready to go cold turkey? Here are 10 ways to reduce your social media usage without kicking it completely.

1. Delete the apps from your phone.

If you’re waiting in line, is your automatic instinct to open the Twitter app on your phone? You can’t check it if it’s not there – so consider deleting the app. You can still access it on your computer. Of course, some apps only work on your phone, like Snapchat or Instagram. For those, try turning off the notifications. That way, you’ll only check the app when you think about it instead of getting cues every time.

2. Set a timer.

It’s fine to go on Facebook every once in a while. The problem comes when you get sucked into the rabbit hole and suddenly realize you’ve spent 2 hours stalking friends of friends of friends. Avoid this by setting a timer to remind you when it’s time to log off – 15 minutes is a good start. If you can’t follow the timer, get an app that will force you off like Self-Control.

3. Change your social media notifications.

Half the fun of playing with social media is the rush your brain gets when you see all those notifications. Reduce the rush by getting less of them – it’s pretty simple to change your preferences via the settings tab. Do you really need to know every time your best friend uploads a video? Now you can finally stop getting birthday notifications from Facebook for people you don’t even talk to anymore.

4. Edit ruthlessly.

Most of us like social media because it’s fun. We enjoy Instagramming our brunches and crafting witty, eloquent Tweets. But most of it is also unnecessary – so if you’re trying to cut down, start editing ruthlessly. Do you really need to create a Snapchat story about your trip to Dunkin’ Donuts? Have you already tweeted 10 times about the latest GoT episode? Think before you post.

5. Buy an alarm clock.

Using your phone as an alarm clock seems like no big deal. But then your phone is the first thing you look at when you wake up – so you’re tempted to scroll through Vine when you’re still in bed. Avoid temptation by buying an alarm clock instead.

6. Try a trial period.

OK, so the whole point of this article is about reducing instead of removing social media. But it’s still important to establish a baseline. Can’t stay offline for a whole weekend? Try it for just 12 hours – and be awake for most of them! You can either A) note how many times you go on social media or B) note how many times you want to in the 12-hour period while staying off of it. We recommend Option B because it forces you to be thoughtful. With Option A, there’s a big chance you’ll mindlessly scroll through Instagram and not even notice.

7. Find another built-in distraction.

Most of us turn to social media when we’re bored, not because we actually are desperately interested in our Twitter feed. Try finding another built-in distraction instead. Always scroll through Facebook to take a break at work? Find a comedy site or catch up on  news. Do you look at Instagram on the subway platform? Download a fascinating book on your phone instead! Reducing your time one social media is easy as long as you have a little forethought.

9. Stop “checking in.”

“Checking in,” to a bar might get you a good happy hour deal. But it also broadcasts your location to anyone who can see your social media profiles. Bottom line: it’s not safe and not worth it, especially if you like routine and frequent the same places every day or week. Be smart and careful.

10. Contact people in different ways.

Many of us like social media because it helps us keep tabs on our long-distance friends. Unfortunately, it also means we’re content to merely be Facebook friends with them and don’t actually contact them. If you notice it’s your friend’s birthday, add it to your calendar and call him/her instead of writing on the wall. Notice a friend you haven’t seen in a while in your Newsfeed? Write an email! You can stay in touch without social media too.

Liked this? Check out our Brain Tip of the Week: Ditch Your Smartphone!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Over the past few years, it’s become trendy for people to quit social media – either temporarily or permanently. Most people love it. They feel freed, more present and more productive. But what if you can’t get rid of your social media profiles because you need them for work? Or what if you’re just not ready to go cold turkey? Here are 10 ways to reduce your social media usage without kicking it completely.

1. Delete the apps from your phone.

If you’re waiting in line, is your automatic instinct to open the Twitter app on your phone? You can’t check it if it’s not there – so consider deleting the app. You can still access it on your computer. Of course, some apps only work on your phone, like Snapchat or Instagram. For those, try turning off the notifications. That way, you’ll only check the app when you think about it instead of getting cues every time.

2. Set a timer.

It’s fine to go on Facebook every once in a while. The problem comes when you get sucked into the rabbit hole and suddenly realize you’ve spent 2 hours stalking friends of friends of friends. Avoid this by setting a timer to remind you when it’s time to log off – 15 minutes is a good start. If you can’t follow the timer, get an app that will force you off like Self-Control.

3. Change your social media notifications.

Half the fun of playing with social media is the rush your brain gets when you see all those notifications. Reduce the rush by getting less of them – it’s pretty simple to change your preferences via the settings tab. Do you really need to know every time your best friend uploads a video? Now you can finally stop getting birthday notifications from Facebook for people you don’t even talk to anymore.

4. Edit ruthlessly.

Most of us like social media because it’s fun. We enjoy Instagramming our brunches and crafting witty, eloquent Tweets. But most of it is also unnecessary – so if you’re trying to cut down, start editing ruthlessly. Do you really need to create a Snapchat story about your trip to Dunkin’ Donuts? Have you already tweeted 10 times about the latest GoT episode? Think before you post.

5. Buy an alarm clock.

Using your phone as an alarm clock seems like no big deal. But then your phone is the first thing you look at when you wake up – so you’re tempted to scroll through Vine when you’re still in bed. Avoid temptation by buying an alarm clock instead.

6. Try a trial period.

OK, so the whole point of this article is about reducing instead of removing social media. But it’s still important to establish a baseline. Can’t stay offline for a whole weekend? Try it for just 12 hours – and be awake for most of them! You can either A) note how many times you go on social media or B) note how many times you want to in the 12-hour period while staying off of it. We recommend Option B because it forces you to be thoughtful. With Option A, there’s a big chance you’ll mindlessly scroll through Instagram and not even notice.

7. Find another built-in distraction.

Most of us turn to social media when we’re bored, not because we actually are desperately interested in our Twitter feed. Try finding another built-in distraction instead. Always scroll through Facebook to take a break at work? Find a comedy site or catch up on  news. Do you look at Instagram on the subway platform? Download a fascinating book on your phone instead! Reducing your time one social media is easy as long as you have a little forethought.

9. Stop “checking in.”

“Checking in,” to a bar might get you a good happy hour deal. But it also broadcasts your location to anyone who can see your social media profiles. Bottom line: it’s not safe and not worth it, especially if you like routine and frequent the same places every day or week. Be smart and careful.

10. Contact people in different ways.

Many of us like social media because it helps us keep tabs on our long-distance friends. Unfortunately, it also means we’re content to merely be Facebook friends with them and don’t actually contact them. If you notice it’s your friend’s birthday, add it to your calendar and call him/her instead of writing on the wall. Notice a friend you haven’t seen in a while in your Newsfeed? Write an email! You can stay in touch without social media too.

Liked this? Check out our Brain Tip of the Week: Ditch Your Smartphone!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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