Personal Development

What To Do About Your Social Media Addiction

Written by: Zanita Whittington

I can be a stubborn ass, so it’s taken me quite awhile to realise and admit that I’m addicted to social media/my phone. Guess it does make me feel a little better to know that chances are, we’re in this together.

I was going to quote a bunch of statistics here but instead I found this great graphic from GO-Globe. Way more engaging!

social-media-addiction 1 copy

I’ve often been called up by my friends for being on my phone too often – but relied on the excuse ‘I’m doing work’ when the reality is, I’m only doing essential stuff maybe 50 percent of the time. It’s so easy to fall down a pit of information online, especially on instagram when you end up looking at your ex-colleagues girlfriend’s best friend’s dog trainer’s page.

You know you’re in a desperate situation when you’re having to be overly cautious not to press the like button on a 154 week old picture… don’t want to appear the creepy stalker type!

These apps are designed to get you hooked, so even though I’m quite the enabler (check out my content guys!) I won’t stand to take all the blame. Is it really so bad to be addicted to your phone and constantly burning through facebook or chatting on whatsapp? I mean, its social right? Being social is good for us!

Well, yes and no.

One thing I’ve noticed about my social addiction is that now, when I’m talking to people face to face – it’s consistently more challenging to stay focused on the conversation. I won’t usually pick up the phone in the company of another… but theres more exceptions than limitations. Hanging out with bloggers (and interestingly enough, PR types), everyone is on their phones constantly for #work so you get a free pass. Same goes when I’m around friends I hang out with regularly or if I’m in a car with friends… or on a bus/train. I don’t wanna be that girl  who won’t give it a break but everyone I know is doing the exact same thing so maybe it’s just what’s done now.

Kids these days are practically born with iPad’s in their hands. The other day I saw a two year old using a smart phone with ease! In other words, things aren’t really going to change anytime in the future. So can we clock all this up to the fact that digital revolution has changed the way we consume media and therefore, the way we spend our days? I think yes – but I dread to think that I might actually be damaging my mind in some way. It’s actually one of those things I’m avoiding researching because I don’t want to find out that it is and have to cut back because… its work guys! Idiocy I know, but ignorance is bliss.

So there’s gotta be a strategy that can help ease the problem. Life is better in the present. Conversations are best held face to face.

So while my phone is excellent for business and a great tool for any entrepreneur but it can be stealing time from you that’s better spent with family, having fun with friends, reading, working out… anything that doesn’t involved a screen!

So I’ve devised a plan, it’s not fool proof because the only person who’s tested and applied it is me. If I can help even one of you gain back 15 minutes of your life otherwise trapped deep in realms of facebook or twitter or tumblr, then I consider it a job well done.

Build up the resentment.

Social media steals our time – and while you can get that little rush of endorphins from discovering some new content, opening an unanswered message or sharing a hilarious meme – those moments are actually taking time from real living. You can’t take them back. Prepare for the future by adjusting your mindset, instead of thinking of that time wasted as maybe a treat for yourself or an escape, think of it as something that’s impacting your life negatively, by taking away potentially more meaningful experiences. If you really ponder it, you can see how spending so much time looking into your phone instead of looking out the window is really strangling your ability to think freely and contribute better to relationships. What could be a better motivation to keep away from it than that?

Remove it, physically.

I’ve considered going through periods where I delete my social accounts for a short period of time and then add them again – but that strategy won’t work for me because I need to use it for my career. Instead, I’ll leave my phone behind when I leave the house with friends for shorter periods of time or if I’m going to get groceries. There’s always that little voice in your head “But what if some emergency happens and no one can reach me!?” but when was there honestly a time where you had to be reached urgently for something like that? For me it was pretty much never. So I leave my phone behind and at first I’m pretty panicked about it… but lately it’s started to feel like liberty. When I’m alone and without my phone I feel more creative and consider my life and surrounds on a deeper level.

In summary, there are a load of reasons to cut down those hours spent staring into your devices – so if you’ve got anymore tips I would love to hear them! I need all the help I can get… really wanna totally kick my social media addiction!

Zx