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How to Unplug from Social Media for a Productivity Boost

Written by Leon Ho
Founder & CEO of Lifehack
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In today’s hyper-connected world, the internet has erased not just geographical distances but social barriers too. We’re always just a click away from anyone, anywhere.

But here’s the catch: our productivity might be paying the price for this constant connection.

The stats are telling – the average person is tethered to their phone for over two hours daily, and many feel hooked. In the workplace, a significant chunk of time – 12% – is spent on social media.[1]

This constant scrolling is more than a habit; it’s reshaping our attention spans. Fast-paced platforms like TikTok epitomize this, squeezing numerous bite-sized videos into minutes, training our brains for distraction.

Beyond just fragmenting our focus, social media can disrupt sleep and even foster a herd mentality, where popular opinions on these platforms start dictating our own.

And there’s a darker side: heavy use of digital platforms, including social media, correlates with increased depression risk.[2]

So, what’s the antidote? Sometimes, unplugging from social media is key.

It’s not just about disconnecting; it’s about reconnecting—with life, with the world, and with our own mental well-being. This step back can be a leap forward in productivity and mental health.


Why Unplugging from Social Media is Important

1. Your Senses Open Up More

Switching off isn’t easy, but it’s transformative.

Imagine savoring a meal without the urge to snap a photo, or exploring new places without the reflex to check in online.

Freed from the compulsion to post, edit, and seek validation through likes, you’re able to fully immerse in the moment and the people around you.

The world unfolds differently when not viewed through a screen. Engaging directly with your surroundings, like observing the changes in a cityscape or absorbing the tranquility of nature, not only enriches your experiences but also boosts your well-being.[3]

2. Clear the Mindless Clutter

Social media, with its endless stream of content, can be captivating. Hours can slip away in mindless scrolling, leaving you too drained for anything else.

But here’s the truth: much of what’s on these platforms, while entertaining, isn’t crucial. Clearing this digital clutter frees your mind, sharpening focus and enhancing both your productivity at work and your mental health.


3. More Time for Productive Work

Once you step away from social media, you’ll find pockets of time you never knew you had. This newfound time allows you to reorganize your tasks and schedules, fostering a more structured and productive routine.

Consistency and structure are proven to not just elevate performance but also contribute positively to your health.[4]

4. Switching Off is Necessary to Reconnect with Ourselves

Constant connectivity keeps our minds perpetually engaged, always alert for the next notification.

But in disconnecting, we find space for simpler pleasures: cooking a meal from scratch, reading a book, or mindfully enjoying a meal. Your sleep improves, no longer disrupted by the blue light of screens. And each morning, you’re greeted not by a barrage of notifications, but by the gentle warmth of sunlight.

This reconnection with ourselves is not just refreshing; it’s essential.

How to Unplug from Social Media

To help you disconnect from the digital world and recharge your energy, here are 11 practical ways:

1. Eliminate Gadgets One Hour Before Sleep and After Waking Up

Start and end your day on your terms. In the morning, give yourself the first hour to set your agenda, not dictated by the demands of your social media feeds.

Use this time for personal reflection, morning meditation, or planning your day. This proactive approach helps you shape your day according to your goals, not the whims of your online world.


Similarly, the last hour before bed should be about winding down. Resist the urge to check social media; it’s a recipe for a restless mind. Instead, use this time to relax and prepare for a restful sleep.

By doing so, you create a sanctuary for your mind, free from the constant chatter of social networks. This simple habit can significantly improve the quality of your sleep and your overall well-being.

2. Turn Off All Your Push Notifications

Simplifying your digital life starts with silencing the noise. Turn off all push notifications from your email, chat, and social media apps.

It’s a small change, but it cuts down a lot of distractions. Remember, if something is truly urgent, people will call you.

Consider this: in 2019, distracted driving was a factor in 20% of fatal car accidents.[5] Disabling notifications, especially while driving, isn’t just about reducing distractions; it’s about safety.


And when it comes to achieving your goals, uninterrupted focus is key. Constant notifications break your concentration, making it hard to build the momentum you need for success.

By keeping these digital interruptions at bay, you pave the way for a more focused, productive, and safer day.

3. Keep Your Phone in a Drawer While You’re Working

Out of sight, out of mind. This adage holds especially true when it comes to your phone during work hours.

Even if you’ve turned off notifications, the mere presence of your phone can be a distraction. So take it a step further: tuck your phone away in a drawer. This way, it’s out of your line of sight but still within earshot for any urgent calls.

This approach is about creating an environment conducive to focus. When your phone isn’t constantly in your peripheral vision, you’re less likely to be tempted to pick it up for a ‘quick’ scroll.

By physically removing this potential distraction, you’re setting yourself up for uninterrupted productivity.

Remember, building momentum in your work often starts with eliminating the small distractions that can cumulatively eat up a significant portion of your day.

4. Use Only One Device for Checking Social Media

Having Facebook, or any social media, accessible on every device you own multiplies your avenues for distraction. It’s convenient for staying connected, but a nightmare for maintaining focus and productivity.

Every device logged into social media becomes another potential source of interruption.

So, make a simple yet powerful change: limit your social media access to just one device.

By doing this, you’re not cutting off your digital connections, but you’re streamlining them. This strategy helps train your brain to recognize that your devices are tools for more significant tasks, not just gateways to endless scrolling.


Limiting social media to a single device isn’t just about reducing distractions; it’s about redefining your relationship with technology. It’s a commitment to ensuring that these powerful tools enhance your life, rather than fragmenting your attention.

When you confine your social media activity to one device, you reclaim control over your digital environment, making it easier to focus on what truly matters.

5. Delete, Unfriend, & Unfollow

It’s time for a digital declutter. Begin by deleting any social media apps you haven’t used recently. If they haven’t been part of your life in the past few months, they likely aren’t essential. This step alone can significantly reduce the clutter on your devices and your mind.

Next, tackle the harder part: filtering your social circles.

Be uncompromising in cutting out negative influences. Unfollow accounts that make you feel inadequate, anxious, or unhappy. This might include profiles that constantly showcase an unrealistic lifestyle, push negative news, or even friends who consistently post content that doesn’t align with your values or adds no positive value to your life.

The goal here is to curate a digital environment that uplifts and supports you. Social media, at its best, should be a source of inspiration, knowledge, and healthy social interaction.


By unfollowing and unfriending those who contribute to a negative experience, you reclaim control over your digital space. It’s not just about reducing the number of accounts you follow; it’s about enhancing the quality of your online experience.

Your mental space is precious, and what you consume digitally should respect and enrich that space, not pollute it.

6. Go on a Social Media Diet

In our tech-centric world, staying connected via social media is almost a given. But like any diet, moderation is key. Without limits, social media can consume hours of your day, hours that could be spent on more fulfilling activities.

Set a 15- to 30-minute timer for your social media use, and designate specific times to check it.

Avoid beginning your day with social media; it’s easy to get sidetracked by work emails or updates while you’re still in bed.

Similarly, steer clear of screen time right before bed and during meals. The blue light from screens can disrupt your sleep, and distractions during meals can lead to mindless eating.

Remember, instant response is not mandatory. Just because you receive a message doesn’t mean you need to drop everything to reply. It’s about setting boundaries and respecting your own time.

If self-discipline is challenging, consider using tools to help. These focus apps can limit the time you spend on social media sites. This kind of digital boundary-setting is essential in maintaining a healthy balance between your online and offline lives.


By consciously choosing when and how much time you spend on social media, you’re taking control of your digital consumption, leading to a more balanced and productive lifestyle.

7. Allot a Specific Time of Your Day to Respond to Emails

While social media platforms come and go, email persists, often housing our most significant digital interactions. It makes sense then to dedicate time each day specifically for checking and responding to your emails, right?

But here’s the thing: managing your email can quickly become a daunting task if not handled wisely. It’s easy to get bogged down by the sheer volume of messages, losing hours that could be spent more productively.

The solution? Set aside a specific time slot each day exclusively for your email. This focused approach prevents email from overtaking your entire day and keeps your inbox manageable.

By scheduling a designated time for email, you’re practicing disciplined use of your digital resources. This isn’t just about staying on top of your inbox; it’s about ensuring that email remains a tool that serves you, not a distraction that derails your productivity.

For more strategies on efficient email management, read Simple Tips to Effective Email Management.

Final Thoughts

Unplugging from social media isn’t about disconnecting from the world; it’s about reconnecting with yourself and what truly matters.

In a world where our attention is the hottest commodity, choosing where and how we direct that attention is vital. It’s not just about productivity; it’s about mental clarity, emotional health, and creating space for growth.


Each step towards reducing your social media usage is a step towards a more mindful, intentional life.

The digital world is a tool, and like any tool, how we use it determines its impact on our lives. By setting boundaries and being deliberate about our online habits, we reclaim our time, focus, and ultimately, our power to shape our lives.

So, take these steps, not as restrictions, but as liberating actions that bring you back to what’s real and essential. After all, the best moments of our lives happen not behind a screen, but in the living, breathing world around us. Let’s not miss out on them.


Don't have time for the full article? Read this.

How to Unplug from Social Media for a Productivity Boost

Excessive social media use can diminish productivity and shorten attention spans. It also negatively impacts sleep and can foster herd mentality and depression.

To unplug from social media, Eliminate Gadgets Before Sleep/After Waking: Start and end your day focused on personal goals, not social media.

Turn Off Push Notifications: Reduce distractions and maintain focus, especially while driving.

Keep Your Phone in a Drawer While Working: Out of sight to minimize temptation and distractions.

Use Only One Device for Social Media: Limit access to decrease interruptions.

Delete, Unfriend, & Unfollow: Remove unused apps and negative influences for a positive digital environment.

Go on a Social Media Diet: Set time limits for usage; avoid mornings, pre-sleep, and mealtimes.

Allot Specific Time for Emails: Schedule a time for email management to enhance productivity.

Unplugging from social media allows for a more mindful, intentional life.

Setting digital boundaries is key to reclaiming time, focus, and control over life.


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