7 Ways to Stop Wasting Time on Social Media

by Clare Ivatt

18th November 2020

It’s so easy to spend too much time on social media. There are so many different platforms to sign up to, and groups and chat rooms on all the subjects under the sun, that it feels like the whole world is on social media! 

The good news is, with a little self-discipline, and by following the tips below,  you can still have fun on social media without letting it ruin your life.

You can even turn it to your advantage by using social media to connect with customers for your business.

What is Wrong with Social Media?

If you’re reading this article, chances are you won’t need me to spell out the drawbacks of social media. I’ve summarised what I see as the worst offenders in this word cloud:

Stop wasting time on social media word cloud showing problems with Social Media - TimeSuck Procrastination EyeStrain FOMO Unreal Cyberbullying NoSleep NotPresent Addictive BadPosture

Top Tips to Stop Social Media Wasting your Time

Here are my top tips to make sure you don’t waste too much time on social media:

1. Work out how much time you are spending on social media

Once you know how much time you’re wasting, you’ll know the size of the problem, and what sort of action you’ll need to take to solve it.

There’s a chrome add-on called “Time Your Web Tracker” which you can use for this,  or you can use Apple Screen Time in your iPhone settings. 

2. Set yourself strict times when you’re allowed to use social media

Set a timer on your watch or phone to sound an alarm when your allocated social media time is over. 

Closeup of black Apple Smart Watch lying on a laptop keyboard. There is a red light in the background.
Unsplash / Raagesh C

It will be easier to allocate chunks of time throughout the day rather than having only one big social media session a day.

At other times, close your social media apps or tabs, or put your phone into airplane mode.

3. Plan to do something nice after checking your social media

Whether it’s a cup of coffee, a short walk, or lunch – having a treat to look forward to will help you stop scrolling at the allocated time and do the treat thing instead.

Brightly coloured striped cup and saucer containing hot drink, with biscuit on the saucer. The saucer is on top of a filofax with silver pen.
Pixabay / Myriams Fotos

4. Move your social media apps off your phone’s home screen

You won’t be tempted to log on when you need to use your phone to call or text someone if it’s more difficult to find your social media apps.

You could move them into a folder (preferably not on the front page) so that you need to “hunt” for them each time you feel the urge to log on.

Closeup of black mobile phone screen showing folder containing social media app
Unsplash / Dole777

5. Only go on to social media when you are intentionally engaged

Don’t just logon to your social media apps hoping that there might be something interesting to look at.

Make sure you only go on if you’re intending to follow something up or talk to a particular person.

6. Put your phone on do not disturb

To make sure you’re not interrupted when you’re doing something else, switch your phone to Do Not Disturb node, or turn off notifications from each of your social media apps.

Closeup of hand holding black mobile phone showing social media notifications on the screen
Unsplash / Jamie Street

7. Logoff your social media apps each time you finish with them

This will make it harder to check them quickly, and so you’re less likely to do it on a whim.

Also, they won’t tempt you back with notifications all the time.

Silver open laptop showing Twitter logon screen
Pixabay / Photo Mix

Extra: Business Social Media Tips

Here are some ways that you can stop social media wasting your time when you’re working on your business:

a. Decide what you want to achieve with social media.

If you’ve decided to use social media to help with your business, make sure you know what you are trying to achieve (eg for brand recognition, more followers or traffic to your website) and how you’re going to measure it.

Then, if social media doesn’t achieve the results you want, cut back or stop using it altogether. There’s no point in spending time connecting on social media if it’s not working for you.

Hand holding round yellow placard which has a cartoon of a frowning face
Pixabay / Gerd Altmann

b. Create separate work and personal logins for your computer.

Only have the absolute bare minimum set up (including only work-relevant social media apps) in your work login, so you won’t be tempted to check on your personal social media whilst you are working.

c. Make sure your content is going to your website, not just social media.

If you find you’re spending loads of time creating content especially for social media, it’s worth checking that most of your content is actually being created for your own blog or website.

You can cut down the amount you write for social media by creating shorter content features to post on social media, that will entice people to visit the main content on your own website.

Looking over the shoulder of a woman holding her mobile phone in right hand and typing on her laptop with left hand
Unsplash / Maxim Ilyahov

d. Weed out business contacts and groups that are no longer relevant.

Go through your social media contacts and acquaintances. If you have not connected with any of them for more than a year, then unfriend them (unless you know that you will want a particular person on your list for a specific project in the future).

Inevitably some of the groups you joined a year ago will be less relevant now – leave the ones that are not helping you to achieve your business goals.

Keeping friends and groups relevant will mean that you have less to check each time you log on to your business social media, and fewer distractions.

e. Only use the social media platforms that your customers use.

You don’t have to maintain an account on every social network if your customers hang out on only on one or two of them.

Closeup of white mobile phone with social media icons on screen
Unsplash / Hello Im Nik

f. Use blocking software to allow social media only at certain times of day.

Blocking social media except for certain times during the day means that you can concentrate on your work at other times. You can try Offtime, Space, or Flipd for this.

Small square shaped timer with white face, and a single small hand. A quarter of the clock face is coloured red.
Unsplash / Ralph Hutter

Have Fun and Get Work Done with Social Media

Whilst social media is seen as public enemy number one when it comes to getting things done, it really is possible to have fun on social media, meet new online friends and still get work done.

Two young smiling women sitting on a sofa having fun using their mobile phones
Unsplash / Afif Kusuma

You just have to follow these tips and make sure that it doesn’t take over your life.

If you have tried any of my tips, or would like to share some of your own, please let me know in the comments below.


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