The connectivity and inspiration I get from scrolling through Instagram and other social media platforms is amazingly convenient. Yet it’s a double edged sword that has forced many of us to live our lives within a grid and stream of status updates. It’s vital we set the cellphone aside and figure out who we are outside of this digital plan.
I fully believe in the power and influence of social media. It gave so many people far and wide a career they truly love. But we’re blocking out a whole other world when we obsessively check our phones.
I’m not here to be preachy. I’m like most of you- I wake up and check social media. When I get bored, I check social media. When I’m procrastinating writing, I check social media. It’s now a reflex.
A study conducted by Nielsen shows that adults aged between 18-34 spent 29% of their daily time on an app or web browser on their cellphone. In addition to this, the Pew Research Center showed that those who use facebook, 51% of them check it several times a day while 38% of Instagram users check it multiple times.
To break this habit I’ve been trying to minimize my cellphone usage during my days off work. It’s still a work in progress. I still get sucked down the Instagram rabbit hole for a few minutes during those days. But compared to how frequently I reach for my cellphone at work, it’s an accomplishment!
I’ve noticed that during the days I use my phone less, I’m more relaxed. Using my phone less forces me to tend to my boredom in different ways resulting in a more fulfilling day.
If you’ve been noticing how often you use your phone, (thank you Apple screen time), and are debating on a cutback- do it. You’ll be forced to fill those empty time slots with more enjoyable activities.
Start by blocking out the first and last two hours of your day. Doing this allows you to start and end each day focused purely on yourself, your body, and your mind. It prevents you from taking the content you absorbed with you either into your day or into your sleep. This is especially important if you happen to stumble upon a particularly negative post.
To say we can permanently part ways from our phone is unrealistic. Our day to day lives are deeply intertwined with them. The next best option available is to limit how much time we waste on them.
We don’t need these devices to survive. Sure, they provide a bit of entertainment but not so much that we should be spending hours scrolling through posts by people we will probably never meet.
I promise that limiting your phone usage will be worth it. It’ll be hard at first. Over time you’ll find yourself filling that void with more meaningful activities. The moment you think ‘wow, I haven’t checked my phone in a while’ is the moment you made it.
Also published on Medium.