In yesterday’s blog post we talked about the time we spend vegging out in front of the TV or computer and how that time slips away from us. Today, I want to tackle another big time thief – social media. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing tool, but it can also be quite distracting. It doesn’t matter if it’s Facebook, Pinterest, Tumbler, Instagram, or your social media platform of choice.
The biggest problem with social media is that it’s everywhere. We check in from our computers, tablet, and of course the ever-present smart phone. We get alerts, we check in when we’re bored, or have a couple of minutes to kill. Before we know it, thirty minutes or more have gone by that we’re not getting back.
Here’s an eye-opening exercise for you. Carry a pen and paper around with you, get a click counter or an app on your phone and start keeping track of how many times you access social media per day. Include any and all devices you use and add to the running total even when you’re just looking at it “for a second”. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be a bit shocked by how high that number actually is. This is one distraction that isn’t usually caught by the time log we talked about a few days ago since the social media interactions are so quick and frequent. Trust me though, no matter how briefly you access each platform, it all starts to add up and distracts you from other things.
How often do you miss part of a conversation or a fun moment with your kids because you were busy commenting on a Facebook post, retweeting something, or pinning a fun craft idea that you likely won’t get around to trying? Is it worth missing all those important little moments in life? And think about what you would have time and mental energy to do if you weren’t constantly distracted by social media?
The goal is to live more intentionally and do things with purpose. We don’t want to let social media posts distract us from that goal. I’m not saying that there isn’t a time to use social media, far from it. They are a wonderful tool and a great way to connect with people. But they are also dangerously addictive. Don’t believe me?
Here’s another exercise for you. Commit to not using social media at all for 48 hours. Turn off or ignore the alerts on your phone and don’t allow yourself to go to the sites on your computer. How does that feel? Do you miss it? Does it make you nervous or anxious?
It’s time to take control over social media instead of letting it control us. What can you change starting today to make that happen?