Lately, I’ve noticed how much energy social media is draining from me. Especially now, around the election time. It’s unfathomable how much attention and time are taken away by the information storm. It even throws my sleep cycle off the rails. I end up procrastinating half the day by scrolling and scrolling the feed. And then, I end up in a foul mood because there’s always that one post from a friend or a person I used to look up to, or even sometimes from a stranger, that shatters my belief in humanity. Finally, I said enough, and came up with a way to stop procrastinating.
Good Old Days
Back when the timeline was chronological on all of the platforms, and you were able to choose which updates to see and whom to follow, it was a more peaceful time. You had the ability to remove toxic people from your feed, to make sure there’s only positivity and inspiration in your sacred web space. Those times are gone. Now, social media platform controls what you see and whom you follow. You are no longer able to shape and limit your feed to like-minded people. Sure, you can mark posts as uninteresting or block people, but that still doesn’t help much. This meant that I had to take matters into my own hands and stop procrastinating as a bonus!
Find the Culprit
First, I had to analyze when the browsing of social media was most disruptive to me. I would browse my feed for about 30 minutes on average before going to bed, and in most cases the same thing happened when I woke up. Additionally, I noticed that it would take me an hour or longer to actually fall asleep as a result of something I read or saw. Not only I kept wasting time before actually going to sleep, it kept stealing minutes and even hours from my sleep! This was a definitive red flag, and a good starting point to stop procrastinating.
I decided to set a new rule for myself, and not use my phone in bed at all. This way my brain would get used to the idea that bed is for sleeping, and not aimlessly browsing. However, I had to make one exception, because I don’t have a separate device for reading books. When I go to bed, I make sure to turn on “Sleep Mode” and disable all notifications. Then, I mentally allow myself to open book reader app only. I understand, that this might be hard for some people. You might not be able to stop using your phone all together right away. However, making small steps toward this is a good place to start. Limit the number of apps you’ll open, set the timer if needed to make sure you don’t go over the set time limit, and no cheating! Allowing yourself to break the rule just this one time is a slippery slope, so don’t do it!
It has been three weeks since I started this new sleeping ritual. It still takes me a little while to fall asleep, but I definitely spend less time lying in bed awake. My mornings are no longer a torture of several failed attempts to get out of bed. I don’t have to set the alarm an hour before I need to start getting ready. I even remember waking up not tired on several occasions! 😀 However, because I’m able to start my day faster and get to work, I don’t really remember about my social media accounts until evening at best. Not for browsing my feed anyway, but I do sometimes login to post things about my day. By setting this one rule, I was able to lower my social media browsing time by about 2 hours per day. If you think about it, it’s a hefty number. Especially, if you consider that there are only 24 hours in a day, and 6-8 of them are spent passed out in dreams. Now, I’m more productive throughout the day, I sleep better, and I no longer get my mood ruined by toxic people. If you decide to try a similar technique or have thoughts on how to improve it, let me know!
Never Stop Improving
My next goal to improve my mental health is to stop browsing social media and checking messages while I’m eating. This might be a tough one, because I like to play with my food! I mean, I like to make funny faces and scenes out of food and of course I have to take a picture! Then, maybe post it, and it goes on. Anyway, baby steps and it will all work out!