I’ve been struggling for the past month or so to set up a daily routine and schedule so I can get more accomplished every day. I’ve had some good days, some okay days, and some days where the schedule was thrown right out the window. It’s very frustrating when you have things to do but by the end of the day you realize you were wasting time doing other things and didn’t get the most important things done. Then I realized the number one thing that distracts me during the day and prevents me from doing my best work is my addiction to social media. On a good day, I spend around 2 hours on my phone. On a bad day… It could be much more. So here are the steps that I’m taking to limit my social media intake and regain my hours!
How to break your social media addiction:
1. Make it harder to access. Often times I find myself unlocking my phone and launching Twitter without even thinking about it. It has become an ingrained habit. So the first thing I did was delete all the social media apps off of my phone. This doesn’t mean you’re deleting your accounts, just that you won’t be able to access them on your phone. I also find myself texting my friends constantly. So I also set a new password on my phone that is significantly longer that 4 quick numbers. My new password is 10 words long and it takes some time and effort to unlock my phone now. This will make anytime that I spend on my phone more intentional and not just an unconscious, mind-numbing waste of time.
2. Realize your cues. For any bad habit (in this case, constantly checking social media) there will be a trigger that signals to your brain what it’s next step should be. Mine is sitting down. As soon as I sit down on the couch, my instinct is to pull out my phone and catch up on my twitter feed. Once you pin down what your cue is, you will be more aware of it.
3. Substitution. Ask yourself what you are getting out of your bad habit. When I pick up my phone, it’s usually after I’ve been working for a while and I want something to break the monotony. This wouldn’t be so bad, except for when that “quick check” turns into half an hour. Now when I feel tempted to lounge on the couch and scroll through Instagram during my breaks, I make an intentional choice to do something else- grab a glass of water, go outside for a few minutes, do some quick stretches, solve a sudoku puzzle, and the list could go on. Anything that offers a refreshing change from sitting down and working is a good substitute.
4. Repeat. Habits are hard to break. It takes more energy to change an established rhythm and start a new one. Remember your motivation. Write it down and stick it to your wall to keep you on track. Make a big X on your calendar for every day that you put your new habit into effect. Try to keep the chain going- research indicates that it takes 66 days to establish a new routine. Keep making intentional choices and pretty soon it will become second nature.