SOCIAL MEDIA SANITY – HOW TO MAXIMISE YOUR TIME ON AND OFFLINE
Do you view the world through Instagram squares?
No judgment here friends, I realised during my recent holiday in Menorca that my vision was looking distinctly square-shaped.
What to do to quieten the consistent hum of social media? Both in alerts and the internal exchange?
Today I am sharing a few rules for social media sanity which I aim to keep to. I hope that these rules will help you to fully enjoy social media, and tune out and turn off at times too.
“In order to fully embrace life on and offline,
I find it handy to stick to some social media sanity rules.”
MY 1:1 REALISATION
During my recent holiday in Menorca I realised something which rattled me: I was viewing the world through Instagram squares.
The enchanting Spanish towns . . . the sparkling turquoise sea . . . the perfectly-poured cortado . . . rather than just appreciating it in real time, I found myself thinking:
“Wow, this is so beautiful, it’ll look GREAT on my Instagram feed.
The constant desire to upload beautiful images, in-keeping with my Instagram quilt, was limiting my vision to a ratio of 1:1.
Here’s the stickler – I love social media. I love the creativity and curation of Instagram, I am one seriously happy Pinner and I love the dialogue on Twitter. Given, I also use social media for work.
So where does our sanity (and real life) lie, when we enjoy social media, use it as a prerequisite for work, and yet need to tune out too?
In order to fully embrace life on and offline, I find it handy to stick to some social media sanity rules. I’d love to know how you guys get on with these, and if you have any of your own you can share too.
5 SOCIAL MEDIA SANITY RULES I STICK TO
1 – Schedule work-related social media at the beginning of the day
If your business requires a consistent dialogue on your social media channels, half an hour – an hour at the beginning of the day is all you need to create an engaging regularly-updated feed.
By logging in right at the beginning of the day, you don’t need to dip in and out of your platforms to create an interesting dialogue or promote your latest offering.
Services like Tweetdeck, Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to schedule your social media in advance.
Takeaway: Schedule your social media at the beginning of the day so it doesn’t weigh on your mind as your day progresses.
Further reading: 5 Benefits Of Scheduling Social Media (And Our Buffer Strategy) on Elle & Co.
2 – Log in to social media for allocated time slots only
I like to think of our attention span like our ability to run: if you train for short sprints, you will struggle with a long run. If you run larger distances often, you will easily find yourself steadfast for longer.
Social media is enticing, but checking in at every opportunity – a coffee break, a slow-loading webpage, in-line for lunch – means that your attention is constantly being stolen, and it can make it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time.
Instead of dipping in and out of social media all day, allocate specific time slots to check your feeds.
I have found it helpful to have ‘leisure’ check-ins and ‘work’ check-ins.
A work check-in may look like fifteen minutes editing and uploading an image to Instagram, and replying to some comments on a post.
A leisure check-in may look like a fifteen minute peruse of my favourite Instagram accounts, twitter feeds, and a pinning session on Pinterest.
By focusing, I fully engage with the social media I want to, and don’t allow it to distract me from other tasks during my day.
Takeaway: Allocate time slots to check in with social media. It will help you to be more productive with your non-social media tasks, and efficient with your use of social media too.
Further reading: My Most Simple, Most Effective Productivity Technique on The Elgin Avenue
3- Turn off all notifications
I don’t have notifications for any social media platforms on my phone. This allows me to choose when I want to interact with my platforms. If your phone is flashing and buzzing, it is a distraction.
As this article by Harvard Business Review shares: “just having your phone near you can distract you and negatively affect your work performance. And this distraction-by-notification might even be comparable to interacting with your phone.”
Worried about getting back to comments in a timely manner? Use your allocated check-in times to reply to people. I believe that it is just as polite to reply in two hours time, or even a day’s time, as it is instantly. No one has the time to get back to everyone immediately – it would mean you were literally GLUED to your phone.
Takeaway: Notifications are a distraction. Use allocated check-in times to engage with your feeds and get back to people.
Further Reading: Just Hearing Your Phone Buzz Hurts Your Productivity on Harvard Business Review
“Not everything has to be documented,
it is OK to use our senses to recall memories
rather than our social feeds.”
4 – Do not play the comparison game
The discussion about staying sane on social media is not just about productivity, it is also about our self-esteem and offline lives.
One of the most enticing, yet potentially negative, things about social media is its portrayal of people’s lives. What people choose to share on social media is an edit.
If you find yourself comparing your life to the lives of those you view on Instagram or another platform, log out pronto. Remind yourself that those feeds are beautiful curations, and appreciate them for that alone.
Takeaway: Appreciate a feed for being a feed, not a life. And don’t allow yourself to measure your own life against an online profile.
Further reading: 5 Ways To Avoid The Comparison Trap And Its Negative Effects on The Elgin Avenue
5 – There’s no need to document everything
I realised, during that moment on holiday in Menorca, that it felt amazing just to sit there and appreciate moments without whipping out my phone to capture them.
I found myself hearing so distinctly “this doesn’t need to be documented – this is enough”. It is wonderful to share special moments on social media, it is one of the greatest joys of the way we communicate today, equally it is OK (and sometimes preferable) to keep some moments private and special only to you.
When I think back to my time in Menorca, some of my very favourite memories are ones I didn’t photograph or share with anyone other than the people with me at the time.
Before social media, we were as able to recall anything we wanted to, as we are today. Not everything has to be documented, it is OK to use our senses to recall memories rather than our social feeds.
Last weekend I had some girlfriends over for brunch, I laid my table out with my best dinnerware and made it look as beautiful as I could. And, despite how pretty I thought it looked, I didn’t take a photo. I wanted to spend time talking to my guests and enjoying the cooking process.
I feel sometimes too, that it’s just much politer not to stand on a chair and ask everyone not to touch their food before you’ve captured that ‘natural moment’.
Takeaway: Every now and then, appreciate something for its beauty and loveliness with your senses only. It’ll capture memories in a way a phone snap is unlikely to. When you recall that time you are more likely to remember the scent, noises and funny quirks, as well as more of a 360 degree view.
Further reading: “Make some memories that no-one knows about” on Pinterest ❤️
I’d love to know if you guys have any advice on this topic. Do you have any rules you stick by for using social media? Do you struggle with switching off or staying focused?
Love, Monica x
Bangle: Feather & Stone | Arrow Bracelet: Phoebe Coleman