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7 Ways to Use Less Social Media This Year

Emojis surrounding a line of people on their phones.

Technology is awesome, but its awesomeness can sometimes be too much. Like, when you find yourself consuming media during every second of free time you have. If you’ve been feeling burnt out on social media, but don’t want to kick the habit completely, there are some steps you can take so you’ll be less glued to your phone.

Uninstall Apps You Can Use on Your Desktop

Some social media apps are made exclusively for mobile platforms. For example, Instagram allows you to view photos on your desktop, but you can’t upload without a third-party extension. Others, like Facebook and Twitter, however, work just fine on your computer.

Consider deleting any apps you can also use on your lap- or desktop from your phone. You can still check your feed whenever you want, but you won’t have the temptation to mindlessly scroll every time you pick up your phone.

Set App Limits

Both Apple and Android phones offer the ability to set time limits on the apps you use. This is a great option if you need to keep your apps on your phone, but want to limit the amount of time you spend on them every day. You’ll be shocked how quickly 30 minutes passes while you’re scrolling TikTok.

You can set time limits on any app for any duration of time. Once you reach the limit, you’ll either be notified or the app will close automatically. You can override this whenever you want.

Take a Brief Detox

If you feel like you rely on social media too much, shake up your daily routine by taking a short social-media detox. Some people start slow and give it up for a day, while others jump right in the deep end and quit for a month. Choose whatever’s most doable for you.

If you have to use social media for work or volunteering, do your best to avoid personal use for that duration of time. Even if you choose to keep all your accounts at the end of your break, you’ll probably feel less attached to the content. You’ll also find better ways to cope with boredom than picking up your phone.

Turn Off Notifications

Documentaries like The Social Dilemma have made it clear that social media does everything in its power to get our attention. App notifications call our attention to our phones no matter what our mind was focused on before. If you want to be less distracted, turn off all your app notifications. This will allow you to check your feed on your own terms and be more intentional about doing so.

Most apps offer customizable notifications if you don’t want to turn them off completely. For example, you can ask to only be notified when someone sends you a direct message instead of every time one of your friends uploads a new post.

Take a Day Off Each Week

A man reading a book next to his closed laptop and phone.

A long-term detox or app installation might not be possible for everyone. Another alternative is to spend one day each week without checking social media. This might work best on the weekend or when you have a day off of work.

Even if it’s just a few hours on Sunday morning, you’ll notice that you have a clearer head. You’ll also find other ways to spend your time.

Set Your Phone to Grayscale

Have you ever wondered why all social media apps use bright flashy colors in their logos and home screens? Because it’s more likely to grab and keep your attention. You can reduce this effect by setting your phone to the grayscale color setting. Sure, it’ll look pretty boring, but you’ll be amazed at how unappealing apps are after you make this change.

To go gray on an iPhone, just head to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size > Color Filters, then toggle the “Color Filters” switch to “Grayscale.” On Android devices, the process varies by model. Generally, though, you’ll find this option in the “Accessibility” or “Display” menu.

Get an Alarm Clock

Many people use the alarm on their smartphone to wake up every day. While this is convenient, it makes it far more tempting to scroll first thing in the morning or before bed.

There’s no shortage of information cautioning against this. To make it easier on yourself, try putting your phone in another room at night or buy yourself an alarm clock. We recommend one like this with a battery backup just in case the power goes out.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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