What I’ve Learned Using Social Media App Timers

What I’ve Learned Using Social Media App Timers

Intentionally Well: Striving for Present Intentionality Every Day

I have been using social media app timers on my phone for about four months. And let me tell you, I have learned some things about myself. Let me first start off admitting that everything that was 2020 had a negative impact on my relationship with my phone. I will be transparent and tell you that scrolling and zoning out on social media became a coping mechanism for all the hard things. This became my escape because I had cultivated my social media to be an uplifting space. In theory, this was a good thing. We all needed some sort of way to deal with the stress we were all experiencing. The problem was when I was ready to scale my consumption back, I struggled.

When Scrolling Became a Problem

I can’t say there was a singular moment when I realized I was relying too much on my phone. It was a slow build up. But one day I had this awareness that I was missing it. My real life, my days, were passing me by. Honestly, friend, I think we all have those realizations from time to time. It is so easy to become engrossed in what is happening on our phone, and we get these little gut checks that tell us we need to scale back. I had the gut check, but I had a really difficult time breaking the muscle memory habits I formed. It was hard for my brain to just be. I felt all squirmy when I tried to let my mind be still and quiet. I realized my brain was constantly craving some sort of stimulation from my phone. That was when I realized my phone was a problem. Was I actually addicted to my phone? The definition of addiction is as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness. Here is an article published by CNN about phone addiction.

Implementing Social Media App Timers

No. Based off the clinical definition of addiction, I was not addicted to my phone. However, I wanted to break the habits I had formed around it. Enter app timers! Did you know this was a feature on your iPhone? I honestly didn’t until I started researching them. However, there they are. To find the app timers on your iPhone go to Settings>Screen Time>App Limits>Add Limit. From there, you can choose which apps you would like to limit your time on, for how long, and what days you’d like to have the limits. I decided to use these timers on my social media and news apps. I am sure other phone companies have this feature, so feel free to let google tell you how to access them if you do not have an iPhone.

What I learned

Every day I get the pop ups saying I reached my limit. And let me tell you, there are still days where I override my app timers. I do this for different reasons. Sometimes, especially with Instagram, my time is spent promoting this space or engaging with my community there. I don’t feel like that needs to be lumped together with the unhealthy scrolling habit I am trying to break. Sometimes I override the limit at the end of the day when I just want a little extra time to laugh at funny Tik Toks. However, many days I do stick to my goals. Regardless if I override the app timers or not, having them in place brings so much more awareness to my phone consumption. Do I need to check the news 4 times a day? No, I don’t, and I am better for it. Is it easier for me to leave my phone in another room? Yes, it is. That is something I am really proud of because that used to be a struggle. I am still a work in progress, but I am making progress. And that is something to celebrate.

What do you think? Do you have a healthy relationship with your phone? Let’s chat about it in the comments below. As always, if you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Social Media: Cultivating a Positive Experience

Social Media: Cultivating a Positive Experience

Social media has infiltrated every aspect of human life. There’s no denying it. It’s everywhere, and every single person and entity has some sort of social media presence. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy social media (let’s connect on my social channels listed on the sidebar!), but it’s something you have to use with such focused intentionality. Otherwise, it can quickly get out of hand. On the flip side, if you steward your social media content and consumption well, it can be a wonderful experience.

Real Life Comes First

I know how easy it is to develop a habit of checking social media whenever you have a free moment during the day. What often happens, though, is we get sucked into the scrolling game, and we miss out on little moments that are happening in real life. I know I am guilty of logging on to Instagram just because I can, then I tell my kids to wait while I finish watching stories. This isn’t how it should be. My real life needs to come before my social media life always.

Utilize Timers

Timers are a great way to keep our priorities with social media versus real life in proper order. If I am logging on to social media, I started seting a ten minute timer. This has been a game changer. Furthermore, I will only do purposeful things during this time, like engaging with my community or creating a post. I will only allow myself the treat of mindless scrolling when my kids are asleep.

Consider Your Follow List

Doing regular audits of who you follow is imperative. Do these accounts uplift and encourage you? Do they make you feel hopeful for our world, when the news cycle is so often doom and gloom? Do the lifestyles of the influencers you follow make you feel discontent with your personal life? Are these accounts your following worthy of precious mental space and energy in your mind? These are important things to consider. I typically do a big audit of people and brands I follow a couple of times a year, and it always feels like a weight has been lifted afterwards.

Pause Before Entering the Comment Section

I, personally, don’t think there are very many positives from entering the comment sections on most things. So, before expanding the comments on that account, I would encourage you to really know your motivation. The comment sections, especially on large social media platforms, tend to have a least some sort of trolling. How will reading these things effect you? This applies even more so if you are wanting to actually post a comment. Will commenting add value to this particular community? Did this account ask for your advice or opinion?

Just Keep Scrolling

And that leads me to my last tip. More often than not, just keep scrolling past that thing that irked you. Social media did not exist until I was in college. I’m part of that Oregon Trail generation. I went through my entire adolescence and early adulthood without expressing my opinions on a public platform. Commenting was not even a thing in the early days of social media. So, I say this with love, not everyone needs to know your thoughts and opinions about every single thing. No debates are ever won through social media, but divisiveness is easily fueled. As a Christian, I believe I am called to love first, and sometimes that means keeping my mouth closed on that crazy thing I read or saw on Facebook.

Cultivating a pleasant social media experience takes some intentional effort and self discipline. There’s no denying that. I hope this post encourages you to take a look at not only what you’re consuming on social media, but also what you are producing. If you enjoyed this post, check out this post on having intentional days.