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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

    More by this author

    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 January 5, 2022

    The 5 Fundamental Rules Of Working From Home

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    The 5 Fundamental Rules Of Working From Home

    Suppose you finally took the plunge: resigned your corporate job, decided to follow the passion of your life and (by lack of a new office space, of course), you started to work from home. Welcome to the club! Been there for a few years now and, guess what, it turned out that working from home is not as simple as I thought it would be.

    It certainly has a tons of advantages, but those advantages won’t come in a sugary, care free, or all pinky and happy-go-lucky package. On the contrary. When you work from home, maintaining a constant productivity flow may be a real challenge. And there are many reasons for that.

    For instance, you may still unconsciously assimilate your home with your relaxation space, hence a little nap on the couch, in the middle of the day, with still a ton of unfinished tasks, may seem like a viable option. Well, not! Or, because you’re working from home now, you think you can endlessly postpone some of your projects for ever, since nobody is on your back anymore. You’re your own boss and decided to be a gentle one. Fatal mistake. Or…

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    OK, let’s stop with the reasons right here and move on to the practical part. So, what can you do to squeeze each and every inch of usefulness and productivity from your new working space and schedule (namely, your home)? What follows is a short list of what I found to be fundamentally necessary when you walk on this path.

    1. Set Up A Specific Workplace

    And stay there. That specific workspace may be a specific room (your home office), or a part of a room. Whatever it is, it must be clearly designed as a work area, with as little interference from your home space as possible. The coexistence of your home and work space is just a happy accident. But just because of that, those two spaces don’t necessarily have to blend together.

    If you move your work space constantly around various parts of your house, instead of a single “anchor space”, something awkward will happen. Your home won’t feel like home anymore. That’s one of the most popular reasons for quitting working form home: “My home didn’t feel like home anymore”. Of course it didn’t if you mixed all its parts with your work space.

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    2. Split Work Into Edible Chunks

    Don’t aim too high. Don’t expect to do big chunks of work in a single step. That was one of the most surprising situations I encountered when I first started to work from home. Instead of a steady, constant flow of sustained activity, all I could do were short, compact sessions on various projects. It took a while to understand why.

    When you work in a populated workspace, you behave differently. There is a subtle field of energy created by humans when they’re in their own proximity, and that field alone can be enough of an incentive to do much more than you normally do. Well, when you’re at home, alone, this ain’t gonna happen. That’s why you should use whatever productivity technique you’re comfortable with to split your work in small, edible chunks: GTD, pomodoro.

    3. Work Outside Home

    In coffee shops or other places, like shared offices. It may sound a little bit counterintuitive, to work outside your home when you’re working from home. But only in the beginning. You’ll soon realize that working from home doesn’t mean you have to stay there all the time. It basically means your home is also your office and you’re free to go outside if you want to.

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    I know this may not apply to all of the “work from home” situations, but for those related to information processing, when all you need is a laptop an internet connection, that usually works beautifully. It adds a very necessary element of diversity and freshness. It can also be the source of some very interesting social interactions, especially when you have to solve all sort of digital nomad situations.

    4. Go Out!

    Working from home may be socially alienating. After almost 3 years of doing it, I finally accepted this as a fact. So, apart from balancing your home time with consistent sessions of working outside of your home, you should definitely go out more often. Our normal work routine, the one that is performed in an office, that is, makes for an important slice of our social interaction needs. Once you’re working from home, that slice won’t be there anymore. But your need for social contacts will remain constant.

    So, my solution to this was to grow my social interaction significantly over what I was having when I was working in my own office. Going out to movies, running in the park, meeting for drinks or just chat, whatever it takes to get me out of my home/working space. On a one to ten scale, my social life before was around 3 and now is at a steady 7.

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    5. Thoroughly Log Each And Every Day

    It goes hand in hand with keeping a personal journal, but this time it’s about work, not personal feelings and experiences. Keep a detailed log of each project and be always ready to pick up from where you left one day or one week ago in just a matter of minutes. It’s not only a productivity enhancer, although it will help you be more productive, but it’s more on the accountability area.

    When you work from home you’re your own boss. And, for any of you who are (or have been) bosses, this is not an easy position. You gotta keep track of all the information about your team and of every advancement in your projects. That’s what a boss is supposed to do, after all. When you work from home you have to perform this bossy role too, otherwise you will be lost in your own unfinished ideas and endless project stubs faster than you think.

    Featured photo credit: Ian Harber via unsplash.com

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