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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Creating More Free Time

People are so busy. Everyone has so many responsibilities—between family, pets, work, bills and maintaining a home, it’s no wonder that people constantly feel stressed and overworked.

It may seem like something small, but consider how much you use social media. Whether you’re leaving your social pages up in your browser all day at work or are constantly checking your phone, all that time accumulates. Five minutes here and there can turn into big chunks of time in your day when you be using that time more productively.

So, how can you cut down?
  • Track your time: The first step is actually looking at how much time you spend using social media. Track your time for a week and evaluate how much time you spend per day.
  • Set limits: Just like you block out an hour to hit the gym or half an hour to eat lunch, set a time limit on how much time you spend with social media each day. If you’re really hoping to cut down, start with 30 minutes per day and lessen that number each week.
  • Think about what else you could be doing—and do it: In order to provide motivation to stick to the limits you’ve set, think about all the things you could accomplish instead of spending your time on social media. Then, actually do those things. You’ll feel much better spending an hour finishing housework than you will spending that same time browsing Facebook.
  • Turn off notifications: When your phone is beeping to let you know someone sent you a message or posted on your Facebook wall, it’s hard to ignore. Get rid of the alerts and email notifications and you won’t be prompted to pick up your phone every time something new happens.
  • Step away: When you feel like social media is taking over your day, leave behind your laptop, tablet or phone and find another activity. Go outside for a walk, spend time with family/friends or hit the gym.
  • Hide your apps: On the home screen of your phone, it makes sense to place the apps that you use most. But, if you leave those apps off your home screen they won’t be top of mind every time you look at your phone.
  • Be in the moment: So many times people pause to snap a picture to share on Instagram or pause in the middle of dinner to share with their Twitter followers what they’re eating. Why? Sure, it’s great to snap pictures to be able to better hold onto memories, but often times people neglect the person or people they are with in favor of capturing a moment to share with people who aren’t there. Focus on who and what you are experiencing. Your social networks can wait.

Social media is a great way to stay connected with the people and things you care about, but it can turn into a huge time suck that distracts you from daily tasks and prevents you from doing things that are productive. And then there’s the whole notion of FOMO, or fear of missing out. People often become attached to social media because they’re afraid they are missing something great or not being included in important conversations happening online. Once you wean yourself from social media, you’ll see that FOMO is really all in your head. If a truly important conversation is happening online and you need to be included, people will get in touch with you. They might even—gasp—call you.

Do you limit your social media time? How do you do it?

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