Social media is everywhere. And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s inescapable, and for many people, addictive.
That’s why, for the past few months, I’ve been taking a more minimalist social media approach. In an attempt to add social media minimalist to the various types of minimalists I like to think I am, I’ve been trying to be more deliberate about how and when I use social media.
Social media gives us a chance to connect with others, share our lives with friends and family, stay up on the latest news—both national and international—and make connections that might otherwise be impossible or difficult if you live far away from one another.
But even so, social media can also be time-consuming and distracting when we give in to its temptations too often.
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Whether you’re scrolling through your feed mindlessly or spending hours on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram perfecting your profile pic before uploading it (or both), social data shows that more than four out of five smartphone users check their devices within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning, with most checking their phones every 30 minutes during the day.
All of that checking, scrolling and clicking can add up to a lot of wasted time. Worse yet, it can also mean that you’re not living in the present moment as much as you should be.
- What is a minimalist social media approach and how does it work?
- The pros and cons of social media
- The benefits of social media minimalism
- How I reduced my social media time by 50% in just 3 weeks
- How to know when you should take a minimalist social media approach
- Closing thoughts about taking a minimalist social media approach
What is a minimalist social media approach and how does it work?
A minimalist social media approach is basically using social media in a more mindful and intentional way. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your feeds, you take the time to curate what you see and only follow or connect with people and accounts that are truly meaningful to you.
This can mean unfollowing people who don’t contribute to your life in a positive way, unsubscribing from newsletters that you never read, or even just taking a break from social media altogether for a set period of time.
To live more mindfully, I’ve taken the time to be intentional with my use of social media, which has helped me declutter my feeds and stay present in the moment.
Every now and then, I’ll come across a tweet or update that really captures what I’m feeling at that moment—which makes it all the more better when something so perfectly describes how you feel. But instead of lifting up my phone to scroll through updates because it fits my mood, now I wait for the feeling to pass so I can enjoy the moment without any kind of distraction
It’s not always easy to tune out our devices and be present in the moment, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes.
Being on every social media platform can be draining and addictive if you don’t have a more minimalist approach to it. It’s easy to get sucked in when scrolling through social feeds or spending hours perfecting your profile pic for Instagram.
But instead of simplifying my feed, I’ve taken the time to be intentional with how I use social media. When I take the time out to really consider whether something is worth allocating my attention to, it often becomes clear that it’s not.
And by no longer following people who are not positive contributors to my life or unsubscribing from newsletters that I never read, I’m taking back some control over the world of social media. And by curating what I see each day on social media, I’m able to live more mindfully.
The pros and cons of social media
There is no denying that social media is a powerful tool that has a lot of benefits. It allows us to stay in touch with friends and family, learn new things, and even make connections that might otherwise be impossible or difficult if you live far away from one another.
But there are also downsides to social media that can really do some damage if we let them.
One of the most obvious cons is that social media has an impact on our mental health. For example, research has shown that people who use social media more often are more likely to report feeling lonely, anxious, and depressed.
Social media can also be a huge time suck. When we’re not careful, it’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of mindless scrolling and clicking that can lead to hours (or even days) of time wasted.
Another downside is that we can end up comparing ourselves to others —and even basing our own self-esteem and confidence on the amount of likes and followers we have. Instead of focusing on what you like about yourself or enjoying the little things in life, you can spend hours monitoring how many likes your photos get or even what people are saying about you online.
Finally, social media can be a huge distraction. We’ve all been there where we’re trying to have a conversation with someone or working on something and our phone is sitting right next to us, tempting us to check it every few minutes. Instead of being fully present in the moment, we’re distracted by what’s happening on our phones.
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The benefits of social media minimalism
Despite the cons, there are some big benefits to taking a more minimalist approach to social media.
When you’re intentional about what you follow and who you allow into your digital space, you’re able to curate your feeds in a way that is positive and empowering. You’ll see less negativity, comparison, and FOMO (fear of missing out)
You’ll also have more time and energy to focus on the things that are really important to you. Instead of getting sucked into the black hole of social media, you can use that time to connect with friends and family, read a book, take a walk, or do any number of things that enrich your life.
When you’re not constantly checking your phone or browsing through social media, you have more time to focus on the task at hand, rather than distracting yourself with things like social media. This leaves you feeling less stressed out and more relaxed, so you can be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way.
When you take a more minimalist approach to how you use your devices, not only do you have fewer distractions, but you also find that it’s easier for you to get a full night’s rest. There have been studies that show that using our phones right before bed can inhibit the production of melatonin, which promotes healthy sleep. In addition, when we constantly check our devices at night and keep them by our beds, checking emails, etc, we tend to associate our beds with work, which makes it even harder to fall asleep.
By taking a break from social media, you’re able to give yourself the time and space to focus on other things. Whether that means reading a book, going for a walk, or just spending time with family and friends, you’ll find that you have more energy and are more productive when you’re not constantly connected to your phone.
How I reduced my social media time by 50% in just 3 weeks
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been following a more minimalist approach to how I use social media. And so far, it’s been amazing. Although there is always room for improvement.
Over the course of three weeks, I was able to reduce my social media time by 50%. Granted, I’m not always perfect and there are times when I’ll slip up, but for the most part, I’ve been successful in limiting my time on social media
Here are a few tips that have helped me reduce my social media time:
- Unfollow people who don’t positively contribute to your life – unfollowing people helps you to declutter your social media platform feeds so that the only updates you see are from accounts that have something meaningful to offer.
- Keep your notifications turned off – keeping your notifications turned off will reduce distractions and help you stay focused on what’s important.
- Only connect with people who inspire you – connecting with people who inspire you will help you stay motivated and positive.
- Take a digital detox – taking a break from social media will give you the time and space to focus on other things, things that are more important to your everyday life.
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How to know when you should take a minimalist social media approach
There are a lot of different factors to consider when it comes to whether or not you should take a minimalist social media approach
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Do I find myself checking my phone or browsing through social media when I’m bored?
- Do I feel like I’m missing out on what’s happening if I’m not connected to social media?
- Do I find myself comparing my life to what is portrayed on social media?
- Am I getting stressed out by the negative posts that I see on social media?
- Do I have a hard time falling asleep at night because of how much time I spend scrolling through social media or checking my phone?
- Am i losing focus on work or family because of social media?
When you answer the questions above, you’ll get a better sense of how much social media can be affecting your life. And if you feel like there are more cons than pros when it comes to using social media, this might be an excellent opportunity for you to take a more minimalistic approach.
Overall, by taking a more minimalist approach, you’ll find that you’re less stressed out, more productive, and have more time for the things that matter most to you.
Closing thoughts about taking a minimalist social media approach
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by social media, or if you feel like it’s taking over your life, then I encourage you to try a social media detox. It can be difficult to let go of the things that we’re so used to using regularly, but I promise that it’s worth it.
You don’t have to give up social media platforms completely and forever, but instead, see it as a tool that you can use when necessary. You’ll be surprised by how much more productive you are when you only use the platforms that positively contribute to your life.
How does social media make you feel? Do you think you should take a more minimalist social media approach?