I love social media. But I also hate social media. Relationship status = COMPLICATED. When done right, social media is a huge blessing. It’s a way to connect with friends and family who are far away. For me, it has also led me to some of my best friendships! And clearly, as a blogger, I do rely on social media as part of my job. But when social media is done wrong, it adds all sort of clutter, stress, and unhealthy habits to life. Sometimes, knowing how to limit social media use is exactly what we all need in our lives.
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I’m not encouraging anyone to completely eliminate social media from their life. Maybe that’s exactly what some people need- but not everyone.
This is more about limiting social media (and knowing how to limit social media use) and how it influences, or even directs, your life. This is about using the powers of social media for good, rather than bad. It’s about redeeming social media usage.
We’re going to talk about WHY and HOW of social media adding clutter and stress, and how to eliminate that. We’ll discuss tools, strategies, and tips for limiting social media’s power over you.
Let’s put YOU back in the driver’s seat, and social media and technology of all forms, in the back seat where it belongs.
Limiting Social Media Use – Assessing Honestly
As I said above, when I talk about limiting social media, I don’t necessarily mean REMOVE it. In fact, social media is where I love to connect with you. You can find my Instagram here, and my Facebook group here.
What I really mean when I say “limiting social media” is that it should not have power over us.
Social Media should not have the power to:
- Control how we spend our time
- Influence how we feel about ourselves
- Control how we feel about the job we’re doing as a mother/woman/human
- It should not affect our mood, unless it is bringing true joy
- Should not be a source of temptation
- It should not be where we look for validation
- It should not be the first place we go to for guidance/advice
If you noticed that social media is any of those above things to you, then it might be time to take a break from social media. This doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to social media forever… you just need to take some time to get your priorities straight (I have some help for you right here on the topic of priorities).
So, limiting social media use doesn’t mean axing it. It just means that the balance of power is in order. Time to talk strategies.
Limiting Social Media – Tips
Stress and social media seem to go hand-in-hand a little too often. In fact, there have been many studies pointing to the link between worsening mental health and social media. The abstract for an article on NCBI states: “Several studies have indicated that the prolonged use of social networking sites (SNS), such as Facebook, may be related to signs and symptoms of depression.” – NCBI article Online Social Networking and Mental Health
While this may be a fact, I want us to grab hold of reality and realize that we do have a say in the matter. There are steps we can choose to take to protect ourselves and others.
How to limit social media use
The first thing to do is give yourself a reality check. If you want to know how to limit social media use on an iPhone, follow these steps. Apple has made it really easy to see how much time you’re spending on your phone.
- Go into settings
- Click Screen Time
- Right there at the top, it will show you how much you have used your phone today. It will tell you in hours, and it will break your screen time into a number of categories.
- If you click on iPhone (right near the top of the screen), it will further break down your screen time for you, so that you can see which apps keep you most occupied. You can also see your 7 day trend as well. It will even help you identify how many times you “touch” your phone.
Knowing how much time we spend on social media is a huge starting point to determine if we need to start limiting social media, and HOW to limit social media use.
Also, if you use social media for your work or for your business, understand that some of that time in the “social networking” category, could actually be counted as “productivity.”
I can get down on myself when my social networking numbers are high, and I need to remind myself that the majority of my time spent on my phone is for work purposes.
If you’re having difficulty limiting your time on social media, or resisting the temptation, there are apps that can help you manage your time spent on social media. Here’s a few:
- Offtime App
- Breakfree App
- Moment App
- Space App
- Flipd App
- Freedom App
You can also follow the steps that I listed above (for finding screen time usage on your iPhone), and it will allow you to set app limits.
When you’re looking at how to limit phone use, one great way to do that is to turn off your notifications, or adjust those settings.
Some people find that turning off notifications for Facebook, Instagram, text messages, email, etc… can really help reduce the amount of unnecessary time spent on social media. You can manage these notifications in your phone settings.
That used to be true for me. However, as my work has changed and grown, and I’m often waiting for messages either via email, FB messenger or voxer, I find having my notifications ON, actually reduces the amount of times I unnecessarily check my phone.
So, it is very individual what will work for you in your life, and it will likely ebb, flow, and change, as life ebbs, flows, and changes.
Set some “screen-free” time for yourself. Monday to Friday I do my best not to check social media or email between the hours of 7AM and 3PM. I don’t always stick to this rule… I’m a big believer in being flexible rather than legalistic. But I find if I start to feel the “pull” more and more… then it’s time to make sure I follow my screen free time boundary.
Just turn your phone off. Sometimes, if I really need to focus on the kids, get some work done, or homeschool uninterrupted, I’ll shut my cell phone right off. It feels so good to do it, and then when I’m ready to turn it back on, I don’t feel guilt or resentment. I feel like I’ve been productive, and then I’m ready to engage with my online community.
This is the most important tip of all. It’s not enough to just want to spend less time on social media. That’s vague, and certainly won’t anchor us to any sort of commitment.
You need a reason. For me, my reason stems from my faith. I love Jesus and desire to live a faithful life. I believe so strongly that every moment and every breath is a gift from God. I believe he put me on earth for a purpose, and that he has called me to be his hands and feet here on earth.
It’s hard to be faithful to that important call if I spend my time with my face buried in a screen. That would be truly wasteful. In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a parable about some servants who were left a sum of money to care for when their master left. 2 of the servants invested the money and were able to present their master with more than he left them with… but the third servant buried the money he was left in the ground.
The master was pleased with the 2 servants, but definitely not with the third. Like all of Jesus’ parables, this was a metaphor. God has given us so much… really, all we have is from him and belongs to him. What will we do with what he has entrusted to us?
If you want to know how to limit social media use, the most important thing you must know is that you have to have a REASON to limit social media use.
Limiting Social Media – The Highlights
YOU are in control of how you spend your time. Social Media does not define you, and your identity is not wrapped up in it. You must have a reason for wanting to live a faithful life.
There are tools to see how you are using or abusing social media, and you can use whatever works best for you!
If this resonated with you, and you want to be even more intentional about your priorities, check out the following articles. Also, fill out the form below, and I’ll send you a FREE multi-page printable on identifying your priorities, assessing if they’re in order, and giving you the tools to get it right. If it doesn’t land in your inbox, be sure to check the junk folder. Far from junk… but you know how the internet can be.
Here’s those posts:
- Get Your Priorities Straight
- Managing Time Wisely
- Being a Good Steward
- How To Declutter Your Home and Your Life
- Living Intentionally
- Treat Your Body Like a Temple
- Living with Purpose
And access to the priorities printable: