Most of us are well aware that social media browsing is a huge time suck. The more we friend and follow other users, the more we seemingly tend to suffer from FOMO (the fear of missing out).
As a result, we increase our time spent browsing our social feeds. We check our smartphones more often to see what’s new on Facebook or Instagram. We keep our eyes glued to our screens even when we know we should be getting more important work done or finally turning in for the night.
Social media should be a tool–not a distraction. Here are some habits worth adopting to help you shift your use of social media for motivation so that instead of it simply entertaining and distracting you, it inspires you to take action in the most important areas of your life.
1. Unfriend or unfollow all users that post negative content or don’t offer any value to you.
Over the years, as we add more friends and follow more accounts, our social feeds become overwhelmed with posts that are simply just noise. If you don’t want to permanently cut all ties with a particular user, at least unfollow their posts on Facebook or mute them on Twitter.
2. Consider cutting down on any accounts you follow purely for entertainment purposes.
Many of us love to look for those celebrity updates, funny YouTube videos, adorable pet photos and other entertaining posts in our social feeds because they make us happy. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but when it gets excessive, it’s just an invitation for you to waste more time. Keep a few that you like, and get rid of the rest.
3. Follow accounts that post valuable and inspiring content that align with your goals.
If your goal is to get fit, then you should follow inspiring fitness-related accounts. If your goal is to build a business, then you should follow accounts that teach people how to build businesses. Following accounts that can support a proper mindset and influence your actions through the value-packed content they post is one of the best uses anyone can make of social media.
4. For every new account that you follow, unfollow a low-quality one.
Don’t go overboard on the previous step by following/friending/subscribing to every inspirational account you happen to come across. In order to avoid being completely overwhelmed with information, make it a rule to cut ties with another account that’s either pure noise or isn’t offering you as much value as you really need, every time you decide to add a new one.
5. Find and connect with mentors.
Social media gives you the opportunity to learn from others. If you have a goal in mind, find someone else who’s already succeeded at what you’re trying to do and try building a relationship with them. Interact with what they post, re-share their content, and consider reaching out to them by asking questions when you need help. Chances are they’ll be happy to offer you some advice.
6. Set specific times of the day to check social media.
The more often you let yourself check social media, the worse the habit gets, and the harder it is to go for longer periods of time without checking up on what’s new and who’s interacted with you. Unfortunately, it’s mind-numbingly counterproductive and makes you less likely to retain information you’ve consumed. Limit yourself to indulging in it for just a few minutes maybe once or twice a day.
7. Delete your social apps from your smartphone.
If you’ve already picked out just a few time slots in your day to check social media, then you’re not going to need the temptation of those apps on your phone (and all of their ridiculously invasive notifications) to make you fail at sticking to that commitment. When you have to check social media from a real computer, it’s a lot easier to avoid getting hopelessly hooked again.
8. Take time to absorb content rather than scrolling mindlessly through your feeds.
Mindless scrolling is a bad habit we develop when we’re following too many noisy accounts. Breaking this habit should be easier to do with a social feed full of inspiring content from a minimal number of accounts, but it doesn’t make you immune to scanning and passing on good content too quickly. Be intentional when you’re browsing your social feeds.
9. Don’t try to be everywhere.
Fitness fanatics stick to Instagram. Business savvy people love Twitter and LinkedIn. When it comes to maximizing your social media use for motivation, picking just a couple platforms (or even just one) to use is the best way to do it. It helps prevent information overwhelm and gives you the opportunity to build closer connections with the relationships you have.
10. Don’t get caught up in pimping out your own posts.
We use social media to share stuff, and it can be tricky to ignore all the Facebook comments being posted on your newly updated profile pic while you’re trying to consume motivational content at the same time. Try scaling back on your posting habits if you currently post frequently, and when you do decide to post your own stuff, do it at a time when you know you’ll be able to manage your interactions.
Remember, social media is designed to be tempting, and everyone on it is competing for your attention. Following the above tips will help you stay laser-focused on whatever you might be trying to achieve when there’s distraction hiding behind every corner.
Elise Moreau is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in blog writing, copywriting and ebook writing for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to increase their exposure online. She’s particularly passionate about writing on topics related to entrepreneurship, marketing, personal development, productivity, health and wellness.
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