6 Easy Strategies for a Social Media Detox

Julia Millay Walsh

If you feel like social media owns your time, you’re not alone. Whether you want to achieve a full detox or just cut back on your usage, there are plenty of ways to do so—and a number of tools that make it easy. Read on below and then reward yourself with some real live social interaction.

Eradicate your news feed. Ever find yourself mindlessly typing the letters “fa” into your browser search bar, and then wasting hours looking at photos of old college acquaintances in your Facebook news feed? Drop everything and install News Feed Eradicator for Facebook now. The Chrome plugin removes your news feed and replaces it with an inspirational quote to keep your priorities straight. You’ll still have access to your inbox and profile pages if you need to see them, but you won’t be subject to all the distractions.

Have some self control. Facebook isn’t the only time suck—maybe you find yourself falling down a rabbit hole of Twitter, BuzzFeed, your RSS reader, or any number of other medias. Mac OS X app SelfControl lets you block your own access to distracting websites, mail servers, or anything else online for a specified period of time. Just set a time period, add sites to your blacklist, and press start—until the timer expires, you won’t be able to access those sites.

Stay focused. Similarly to SelfControl, you can also use Chrome plugin StayFocusd to restrict your own access to distracting websites. This extension restricts the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites, so you can allow yourself, say, an hour a day of your guilty pleasure, and once that specified window of time has been used up, the sites you’ve blocked won’t be accessible for the rest of the day.

Go on airplane mode. One of the biggest drawbacks of social media addiction is that it interferes with your real-life social interactions. That may not be reason enough to go cold turkey, though. If you find yourself looking at Instagram while you’re at the dinner table or trolling Facebook at a concert, put your phone on airplane mode. You’ll still be able to take photos—which you can share when you’re alone, if you wish—but you won’t be tempted to be using social media while you’re with friends.

Delete apps from your mobile phone. You can also limit your social media use by deleting your apps from your mobile phone. It’s not as extreme as deleting your accounts, and you’ll still have access to your favorite social medias when you’re on your computer, but you won’t find yourself using them when you’re on the go.

Create lists of your VIPs. Facebook and Twitter both allow you to create lists of different groups of people you follow. If you find your news feed is usually filled with distracting updates from people you don’t care about, create lists of friends and family members you do want to hear about, and then you can look at their updates quickly without getting sidetracked by all of your other contacts’ posts.

Any other tools and tricks to share? Tell us below.

Explore: Social Media, Detox

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