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Last Updated on February 15, 2021

12 Easy Ways to Beat Social Media Distraction Effectively

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12 Easy Ways to Beat Social Media Distraction Effectively

Social media is incredible, allowing us to communicate with people in all corners of the globe, stream videos with the click of a button, and see the world without ever leaving our house. With that said, it has a dark side: social media distraction.

The average user spends nearly 2.5 hours per day scrolling through updates, vacation photos, and all manner of other content.[1]

Social media distraction can disrupt your personal life, ruin your work productivity, and steal the time you could be spending on hobbies or improving yourself. However, social media doesn’t need to be banished from your life for good; it just needs to be contained. Like everything else in life, it’s all about moderation.

How do you ditch social media addiction? Try these 12 approaches to ensure you’re using it in healthy, productive ways:

1. Set a Goal

What do you want to accomplish by limiting social media distraction? Your answer to this question will influence your plan of action.

Maybe you want to stop staying up so late surfing social media. Perhaps one particular platform is putting you in a bad headspace, or maybe you need to stop checking social media at work.

When you’ve decided on a goal, write it down where you can see it. Put a sticky note on your work computer if checking social media at the office is the issue. If before-bed usage is the problem, place the note next to your comfy chair. Make sure it’s visible wherever you have issues.

2. Pick up on Patterns

Usually, social media distraction starts with a specific cue. What emotions trigger you to explore your favorite platform? When do these typically occur? You’ll likely find a behavioral pattern you can work on.

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Identifying this pattern allows you to concentrate your efforts. Trying to fix your entire schedule at once can be overwhelming, so start with your trouble spots.

3. Change Notification Settings

You’re most likely to check your device when a notification pops up. The more notifications you get, the more distractions you’ll face. The good news is that you can customize your notification settings.

You can opt for occasional notifications or cut them out entirely. And if you really need to know when your BFF posts vacation photos, you can always turn notifications back on later.

You can also change how your device is situated throughout the day. Leaving it face down while at work, for instance, will stop the screen from lighting up and drawing your attention away from the job. If your device has a Do Not Disturb setting, feel free to enable it.

4. Start a Morning Routine

Is your gadget the first thing you check in the morning? You may need to read some emails, but checking it as soon as you wake up can lead to a less-than-productive morning of social media scrolling.

Try to steer clear of your device for as long as possible in the morning.[2] Break this rule only for emergencies or appointments, such as confirming the time of a morning dental visit. Spend the rest of your morning exercising, preparing a nutritious breakfast, or engaging in another screen-free activity that energizes you.

A great morning routine can be the perfect start to a full, healthy life. To fill in the rest, try Lifehack’s Full Life Planner. It will help you set goals and live life to the fullest, without relying on social media for fulfillment. Check it out today!

To make things easier, consider using a real alarm clock instead of what’s on your phone. When your device wakes you up each day, it’s a lot easier to get drawn into using additional apps that waste your time.

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5. Limit Your App Usage

On your smartphone or tablet, you can monitor your app usage to see precisely how much time you’re spending on social media. Use this as a benchmark to look for improvement. Some devices even let you set time limits so that you never go over your daily allotment.

Another approach is to delete social media apps from your device entirely. Force yourself to go to the trouble of booting up the computer any time you want to check your social media profiles. Without notifications burning a hole in your pocket, avoiding social media distraction becomes doable.

If you’re not ready to go all-in, placing your apps in a hidden folder on your device can keep them out of sight, out of mind. When you use your phone for something else, it will be more difficult to get sucked into social media.

6. Use a Web Blocker

The possibilities of the internet can be too tempting some days. It’s so easy to move from work to social media in the same browser, and recovering from a distraction can take nearly half an hour.[3] Why not block yourself from accessing social media in the first place?

Web blockers stop you from going to certain sites on your device. You can activate this feature during work hours so that you can’t turn to social media when your mind starts to wander. This final line of defense is effective if you need it.

Learn more about how to stay focused by joining the free Fast-Track Class Overcoming Distraction now. In this focused-session, you’ll learn how to deal with distractions and sharpen your focus. Join the free class now!

7. Establish No-Tech Zones

You can designate specific areas in your home or workspace where technology is or isn’t allowed. If you keep your devices away from the places you need to focus on, you’ll be less likely to get distracted by social media.

The bedroom, bathroom, dinner table, and home office are all examples of places where a device might end up being too distracting. Limit yourself to only using your devices in other rooms, and you’ll cut down on idle scrolling time.

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8. Implement a Rewards Program

If you can’t help but resort to social media at every turn, it’s time to make yourself earn your social media time.

A classic incentive method is to give yourself a list of tasks to complete before indulging in less productive activity. These can be work tasks, household chores, or more positive activities, such as getting outside or developing your talents.

Reward yourself with social media time when you finish each activity. Vacuuming your room, for example, can earn you a five-minute social media break. Don’t let yourself log onto any platforms until your task is completed; otherwise, it nullifies the entire exercise.

9. Try Timeboxing

Timeboxing is a time management technique in which you block off sections of time to dedicate to singular activities. For example, you can block off the first hour of work to reply to emails. As soon as that hour is up, close your email and move on to the next block.[4]

Timeboxing for productivity

    By using this method, you can block off the sections of time when you can and can’t use social media. Stick to your time boxes, and you’ll train yourself to only fall into social media distraction when it’s called for. Every other block will be dedicated to a different distraction-free activity.

    10. Pick up a Hobby

    If you can find something worthwhile to fill your time, you won’t feel the need to turn to social media often. Engaging in a hobby keeps your mind trained on what you’re doing, which is half the battle.

    Hobbies can be as simple as reading a book or as complex as woodworking. Whatever you like to do, fill your time with productive activities that you can turn to instead of social media.

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    11. Attempt a Social Media Fast

    Sometimes, serious problems call for serious measures. If you really need to reset your brain to stop social media distraction, try a social media detox for a full week. It will be difficult, but it will help you see that you don’t need social media to live a full, productive life.

    What should you do once the week is up? Remember how you felt when you weren’t constantly scrolling through tweets and Facebook posts. If you’re worried you’ll forget, schedule a monthly or quarterly fast to remind yourself. Here’s one example of what you should do: Lifehack Challenge: 24 Hour Digital Fast.

    12. Post Less Frequently

    Many people use social media to document their lives and achievements. While this is a great way to get loved ones involved in your life wherever they live, it’s also a chance for distractions to find their way in.

    Start by limiting yourself to one post per platform per day. That way, you can still stay in touch without giving yourself as many opportunities to get distracted.

    Bottom Line

    Mastering your social media habits will take some time. Don’t get discouraged if you still get distracted every once in a while.

    When in doubt, look back to your life goals. Achieving them will feel so much better than spending hours of your free time scrolling through social media.

    More on Avoiding Social Media Distraction

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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    John Hall

    John Hall is the co-founder and president of Calendar, a leading scheduling and productivity app that will change how we manage and invest our time.

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    Last Updated on October 4, 2021

    How to Stay on Task And Avoid Distractions

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    How to Stay on Task And Avoid Distractions

    It has become more challenging to stay on task and avoid distractions. Unfortunately, the great benefits of today’s technologies have also become the biggest enemies of focused action. The pandemic has, of course, made its own corrections in the way we manage our time, business, family, and life. Did you know that the time-tracking market will increase worldwide by roughly 21 percent by 2025?[1]

    With more and more distractions appearing in our daily lives, it’s understandable that people keep pushing themselves to squeeze every minute out of the day. But only a few realize that outside distractions are fairly easy to avoid compared to our inner triggers.

    Mistakenly, we blame only outside distractions, thinking that they mess with our ability to stay on task and make it almost impossible to avoid them. However, our inner triggers are what play the biggest role in focused and productive action. While external triggers are cues from our environment that tell us what to do next, inner triggers are cues from within us. For example, when we’re hungry, we are cued to get something to eat and so on. Understanding what kind of trigger is pursuing you to take certain actions will help you determine the best solution to stay on task.

    While distractions are everywhere, it’s not impossible to minimize them. Distractions itself is a topic long, wide, and deep enough for a book at least. On Amazon alone, there are more than 9000 books with a “distraction” on the cover. This once again proves our need for solid tools, systems, and new approaches to help us stay on task and avoid distractions.

    Here is my formula for you to stay on task. It is not your typical “turn off your phone” and “close your emails” type of list. This formula has been crafted over years of experience, research, and knowledge. It looks deeper than external pings, rings, and dings.

    I aim to give you a different perspective on how you are managing your time, attention, and decision-making. If used with one mind and willingness to truly build a skill to stay on task, this formula might be just the right read for you.

    1. Manage Your Attention Before Trying to Manage Your Time

    We can manage our time better if we can manage our attention. Time management depends a lot on attention, focus, and flow management, rather than planning and scheduling. Although technical support is a big part of focused action, if we lack prioritizing and attentiveness, we will eventually waste time one way or the other and make it difficult for us to stay on task. Therefore, getting clear on our intention behind the task is crucial for staying on it and not getting distracted.

    Do you want to be more productive and feel good about what you accomplish at the end of the day? Do you want to have time to learn a new skill, building a better service so you can create more impact? Do you want to protect yourself from distraction, unwanted information, and more wasted time? Whatever your reasoning, if you can focus, you can get more important things done in less time. In that way, the focus is the ultimate “productivity hack.”

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    We all have the same 24 hours. But what matters more than the length of time you put into a task is the intensity of focus because if you have an intensity of focus, you can reduce the amount of time spent doing it to get the same or better results. Even if you’re not in a state of flow, focus helps you get more out of the day.

    A study from the University of California at Irvine found that, on average, participants (who worked in the tech field) could only work on a project for 11 minutes before being distracted. What’s worse is that it took them more than 25 minutes to regain their focus.[2]

    Focus keeps you productive. It’s what determines whether you do what you want to or spend the day distracted. But it goes much deeper than this.

    Being focused allows us to choose the life we want to live, not just react to what’s happening around us. So, let me give you some ideas on how to increase your attentiveness. If you want to improve your focus, you have to do more than just make yourself pay attention. Focus is as much about what you’re paying attention to as what you’re blocking out because unfortunately, the world around us is incredibly distracting and it makes challenging for our brain to focus on a task.

    Learn How to Take Control of Your Technologies

    There is no escaping from technology, but we need to understand that it is here to serve us, not the other way around. Many of the default settings on our devices are set to take our attention away, and it’s up to you to change them.

    Create a Focus-Friendly Work Environment

    This plays a massive role in your ability to focus., yet most of us don’t think much of it. Getting rid of clutter, organizing your stuff so you don’t waste time trying to find things, avoiding outside noise and unnecessary interruptions are what will help you stay on task.

    Stop Multitasking

    If you haven’t heard it enough times already, multitasking is a myth. When we try to do more than one thing at a time, we’re just quickly switching back and forth between the tasks. This isn’t very efficient, and it makes us more stressed. Even worse, the more you multitask, the more your brain looks for more things to do at once. It’s like your training your brain to be unproductive. However, focusing on one task at a time rebuilds your focus, lowers stress, and can even make you more creative.

    2. Declutter Your Mind as Well as Your Desk

    Clear space creates a clear head. It increases productivity and saves us from distractions. But clearing your desk is very technical. It’s fairly easy doable and repeatable. If you have a system in place that you love, you would only have to declutter once, and then you would just follow your path where clutter gets thrown away regularly. This allows for constant rotation of creative energy giving you space to evolve.

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    However, a tidy space actually can keep you on the task only for that long. It can give you only that much of a clear head and distraction-less space. While it immensely helps to shift the energy, it will not keep you distraction-less forever, and this is where your mindset comes in. The “clear space creates clear head” is only partly true.

    Clear space gives us more clear mind for that moment, but this is not your long-term solution. If you would have managed to keep your workspace clean, clutter-free, you would still have thoughts. According to research, an average person has 6000 thoughts every day![3]

    Will a decluttered space be able to help you with all of them? No! But this is where the mindset work comes in. No tool, tip, trick, or hack will be able to solve your timing or focus issues. Only you can do that because you are the one in charge of your time, your commitments, your schedule, your plan, and also your mind.

    If you ever tried to meditate, you know that it takes time to clear your head from thoughts, calm the mind, and thrive in presence. And it is definitely one practice that can help you understand how your mind works. If you are having difficulty staying on task, then it’s time to look for the cause.

    If you think that another great new productivity app will solve your problems and you will finally be able to stay on task, it will not support your long-term vision. Yes, it might help for a month or two, but then what? Are you willing to go back and search for other solutions while your to-do list keeps growing and your time freedom is non-existent?

    It is great to start by decluttering the mind. Support it with decluttered space on your way to great focus and productive work. Ask yourself: What is blocking you from undivided attention? Have you ever thought that you could be keeping yourself busy to feel worthy of your income? It’s a clue to your limiting beliefs! Imagine if you could replace that with a success mindset, how would your focus increase? It’s taking one mindset block at a time and working through it.

    3. Work on Your Pain

    What does pain have to do with focus? We waste our time when we get distracted, and we get distracted all the time. Imagine how much you would be able to achieve if you would stay focused on the task for that scheduled time, commit to that task and get it done. Who knows? You might even finish it in half the time you planned.

    But let me explain to you something about pain. We allow ourselves to get distracted because it’s our decision to check that ping, ring, and ding. We decide to focus somewhere else when that ring comes knocking. We make that choice because of the pain. We feel discomfort, and we all love comfort, right? Our natural way of avoiding pain and discomfort is what makes us lean towards distractions rather than stay on task. It’s worth looking deeper and understand what are the underlying issues that you’re trying to avoid when distracted.

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    Working on that pain will help you stay focused and committed to even the hardest of tasks. If you’re committed to your growth in all areas, it’s up to you to stay on task even when you don’t feel like it.

    I challenge you to look where that pain is coming from that causes you to get distracted. Find it, and let it go so you can be attentive, present, and focused.

    4. Rewrite Your Habits

    We are in charge of building our success habits, so what are you working on today to allow yourself to stay on task with as little effort as possible? Below are the most common distracting habits that probably have been creeping into your daily routine as well.

    Stop Adding Things to Your To-Do List

    To-do lists give you too much flexibility, too much freedom of choice, and too much space for procrastination to creep in. Everything you’re planning to do, schedule it in your calendar instead. Plan your tasks, and put timing next to every task. Like that, you will create space for important tasks, prioritize wiser, and won’t be able to overbook your time.

    If you think about it, putting your tasks into your calendar creates well-deserved peace of mind, gives you much more freedom, and keeps you productive. You’re no longer overshadowed by your never-ending to-do list that keeps growing by minutes and never gets completed. Staying committed to your calendar is a part that can’t be avoided if you want to stay on task. If it’s on your calendar, you have already committed to doing it. You have already decided that something is important enough to get on our calendar, so it’s worth your focus.

    Stop Notifying Yourself and Scrolling Your Screen

    Checking notifications, emails, messages as they come in. That “beep” sound distracts you in a fraction of a second, but unfortunately, it takes much longer to get back into your creative flow after an innocent “I will just quickly check-it might be urgent.”

    For better productivity, you should set certain times when you allow yourself to check emails and it should not be more than twice a day. Seriously, it is enough times (I’m talking from experience). Scrolling through social media is nothing new, yet it still is the biggest time-waster. You get sucked into random posts only to realize that another 20 minutes have passed without creating results for your future. Mind your own business (literally), and create before you consume.

    Stop Acting Like You’re Superhuman

    Multitasking is not an admirable ability, it’s destructive behavior. You have probably heard about it, but let me remind you again: trying to do more than one thing at a time diminishes your productivity. The human brain simply isn’t designed to multitask. Your brain slows down as it switches between tasks, which takes more time and makes you less efficient.

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    Focusing on one thing at a time will make you more effective. If you’re taking too many breaks, you end up lingering and not getting your focus back. Schedule your break to keep yourself in check and focused. Too many breaks lead to more wasted time. Oftentimes, it means working when exhausted. All it does is create more exhaustion and more mistakes. You may also end up facing burnout.

    Do yourself a favor and make sleep a priority. The time you spend resting will pay off when you’re awake and ready to take on the world. Once you are clear on what wasted your time, create a to-don’t list to get clear on things you know you should not be doing.

    5. Find Traction

    We are used to thinking that the opposite of distraction is focus—where we are fully present, attentive, and focused on what it is that we are doing. But the opposite of distraction is actually “traction,” and traction from Latin is an action that pulls you towards what you want to do. So, distractions are actions that pull you away from what you want to do, and tractions are actions that move you towards what you want to do. This means that any action can be either a distraction or traction depending on what you intend to do with your time.

    There’s nothing wrong with scrolling through your Facebook feed, watching YouTube videos, or playing a video game, as long as that’s what you intend to do. It’s when you do things unintentionally that you get into trouble. When you get pulled away from what you need to do to avoid discomfort, to avoid that hard work or that pressure dealing with a specific task, that’s when you allow yourself to get distracted.

    So, if you’re asking if it’s possible to avoid distractions, the answer is yes. But you don’t want to do it! You want to notice these moments of discomfort and understand what causes you to get distracted. What are you trying to avoid? Why are you letting yourself get pulled away from things that you need to do?

    If we dig deeper, we can see things for what they are, including ourselves, our believes, our thoughts, and anything that sabotages our focus without us realizing it.

    Final Thoughts

    Distractions are a very wide range of things. They are everywhere, looking for you to bring your attention to them. The good news is that you can stay on task if only you choose to. You are in charge, and now that you have a better insight into your triggers, it will hopefully allow you to get less distracted and more focused.

    No matter what your distractions are, you are in control of your time, what you do with it, and where you spend it. Be sure to keep that control in your hands.

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    More Tips on Improving Your Attention

    Featured photo credit: Surface via unsplash.com

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