Facebook and Instagram recently launched their ‘Time Well Spent’ features that let users know how much time they’ve spent on the apps. I decided to check the activity dashboard and learnt that I spend close to five and six hours on both platforms respectively. I wasn’t surprised that this is where all my productivity goes to die. I didn’t have to do the extreme of deleting my accounts, I just needed to reclaim my time spent on both platforms. Reducing the time I spent on these two apps has been one of the healthiest things I have done for myself.
I stopped scrolling through the Facebook News Feed and Instagram Timeline out of boredom
I now scroll through my feed with more intention either when I’m trying to follow up certain updates on the news or to catch up on an intriguing post, meme or #catsofinstagram pic I might have missed.
I stopped worrying about the amount of validation I got
Research has proven that likes can get you a slight dopamine rush and I used to thrive on that. On my earlier days on Instagram and Facebook, I used to think a lot of what to post, constantly seeming approval of what I did, said, wore or ate just to get enough likes. Now I don’t feel the urgency to start planning something big to stay relevant and this gives me the time to focus on other important projects.
I’m embracing the joy of missing out(JOMO)
The FOMO mentality always kept me glued to my Instagram and Facebook feeds for hours when I could’ve allocated that time to meaningful work instead of pulling to refresh my feed. Now when I’m bored and the sting to check my Instagram or Facebook feed comes up, I open up the Medium app and read thoughtful pieces from really interesting writers. If you haven’t signed up yet, I highly recommend you join the platform. Facebook and Instagram are now not the first apps I launch when I wake up in the morning or the last thing I go through at night before bed.
I purged a couple of accounts I followed
Instagram can sometimes make you feel like you are not achieving anything important when you compare it to the lives of some of the people who you follow. They can even make you feel inferior. I unfollowed and unfriended pages and people:
- who post uninspiring posts that make me cringe
- who make their lives seem effortless perfect
- Instagram brands and influencers
I decided to keep accounts of people who:
- post amazing pictures or posts as long as they are not don’t show how easy and perfect their lives are.
- post witty humour and that includes comic strips
- post accomplishments and milestones reached that make me genuinely happy
My feed is now a curation of pictures and posts of things I love to scroll through during the few minutes I open up the apps to check up on friends and memes or cat pictures.
Despite their flaws, I still find benefits from being on Facebook and Instagram
After a couple of weeks, I’m starting to realize that I’m starting to become more intentional with how I spend my time on Facebook and Instagram. This is enough motivation for me to keep going on. Facebook and Instagram can be addictive and time-consuming to no fruitful end. But despite their flaws, I still find benefit from being on both platforms.
If you’re feeling the urge to delete or deactivate your account, just take a critical look at how you engage with Facebook or Instagram and review your relationship with these platforms. It’s also important to remember that a lot of people use it to communicate with friends and family and also follow their passions or other interests.
Every app is what you make it. We’re hardwired to love social media but it’s high time we reclaim our time spent there without entirely deleting or deactivating our accounts.