I’ve spoken to quite a few people who are struggling with their social scrolling habits. So, I thought it was time for me to share some of my top tips on how to manage your social media usage. Social media can be incredibly addictive and time-consuming. It’s easy to get sucked into scrolling through your feeds for hours on end, which can negatively impact your productivity and other important aspects of your life. Research has shown that excessive use of social media can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
Let’s start with the basics – have you ever checked your weekly screen time report? If you haven’t, I suggest you take a look. I was surprised to see that I spent almost 4 hours on social media sites in a single day. Four whole hours of scrolling Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and God knows what else. And what did I learn from it? Absolutely nothing! I’m so glad I’ve not discovered TikTok or Snapchat as I think I’d be social scrolling forever…
How can I manage my social scrolling?
Social media can be a positive tool that many of us should embrace. However, being self-aware of how we use social media is even more important.
Here are some top tips from me on how to manage your social scrolling levels:
Turn off notifications – manage your phone; not the other way round – don’t let it control you!
Control your content – Negative Nellies are not welcome on my feed – if they don’t bring you joy, stop following them!
Out of sight, out of mind – put your phone in a drawer or even another room while you’re working/sleeping. You’ll be less likely to reach for it when you should be doing something else.
Why is social media so addictive?
It’s so easy to get distracted by apps like Instagram or YouTube while at work, especially if you access them for work! These platforms are designed to trap viewers in a social media rabbit hole. They offer bite-sized content that makes it easy to quickly consume several videos or posts in a row, they often automatically suggest similar content, and many of them even automatically start playing similar videos, reducing the potential for interruptions.
While presenting users with engaging content isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the accessibility of this media is exactly what makes it so hard for users to break free from the rabbit hole and get back to whatever they were working on. Part of the problem is the curse of the infinite scroll.
The Infinite Scroll
Infinite scrolling can be a major distraction and lead to lost productivity. As the endless page loads new content when you reach the bottom, it’s all too easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of content. We forget what we were originally doing online, and lose track of time — which we could’ve used for more productive activities that advance our goals.
The infinite scroll creates a never-ending supply of new information and visuals. This might be too much for some people to handle, resulting in sensory overload. Overstimulation can be harmful, causing people to feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and exhausted.
Mental Health Concerns
Scrolling continuously is also harmful to mental health. The addictive quality can lead to obsessive-compulsive behaviours, anxiety, and depression. The constant bombardment of stories and images creates the illusion of endless possibilities, leading to a sense of urgency and FOMO (fear of missing out).
Physical Health Concerns
Spending so much time scrolling means less physical activity, which is harmful to our physical health. Prolonged exposure to a screen’s blue light can lead to eye fatigue and discomfort, and prolonged phone use before bed can cause sleep loss.
Maybe just think about breaking free from the infinite scroll trap. Here are a few ideas:
Take breaks – Instead of scrolling through social media for hours on end, take frequent breaks. Get up, stretch your legs, and take a breath of fresh air. You’ll come back to your work feeling refreshed and energised.
Set a timer – If you know you have a tendency to lose track of time when scrolling through social media, set a timer. Limit your social media usage to a specific amount of time each day. This way, you’ll be more conscious of how much time you’re spending online.
Find other ways to unwind – Instead of turning to social media to relax, try finding other ways to unwind. Read a book, take a bath, or go for a walk. You’ll find that these activities can be just as satisfying as scrolling through Instagram. I promise!
Remember, social media should be a tool that works for you, not against you. So, take control of your usage and enjoy the benefits of social media without falling victim to its negative side effects.