If I want to live a simple life on my own terms I have to get my nose out of everybody else’s business on the internet.
It’s easy to disengage from my own life when I read about other people’s lives and businesses too much. It makes me worry about things I really don’t need to worry about – like doing an e-course that popped up on my newsfeed three times today. I don’t need the course, but being confronted with it over and over makes it harder to say no.
The thing is, I don’t realize how noisy my life is until I find some stillness for contrast.
To speak in metaphors, being online is like being at a loud party while you’re trying to write down your life’s story. You can’t help but be distracted by everything around you. After you go home you’d realize how distracting and noisy the party was.
I have found a few doable tricks to help me cultivate some stillness online:
How to do a social media detox
1. Declutter your social media channels.
Which ones are fun for you, which ones feel like obligations? Ditch the annoying ones (or just don’t use them for a while to see if the world will really explode if you disengage). Keep your 1-2 favorites.
2. Delete distracting apps from your phone.
Again, which apps add value and which ones are noise or pacifiers? If you don’t want to permanently delete an app, just remove the icon on your home screen so you don’t see it all the time.
3. Unfriend 80% of your Facebook friends.
Which of your Facebook friends are friends in real life, too? I cut my friend list down to 150 people and it feels much more intimate this way. These are people I want to stay in touch with and would happily invite over for tea at my place.
4. Unsubscribe as much as you can.
Go to your inbox and instead of deleting all the newsletters you don’t read, hit unsubscribe. Get rid off all your subscriptions, only keep the ones you look forward to opening. It’s okay not to be subscribed to everyone. Unsubscribe and see whose emails you miss. You can always resubscribe or just check in with blogs according to your own rhythm vs. feeling obligated to open their newsletter.
5 Clean up your facebook newsfeed.
When you go on Facebook, whose posts do you scroll down for to see if they posted something new? If you don’t want to unlike or unfriend certain people, you can still unfollow them by clicking on the tiny down arrow on the top right corner of each post. Doing this makes your newsfeed exciting again – and it’s a lot harder to use Facebook for procrastination, because there is less going on.
6. Ninja style: No notifications on your phone.
Whenever I download a new app I go into its settings and don’t allow them to send notificaitons (unless I really need them, like for whatsapp). This means your phone will interrupt you less during the day.
7. Inbox pause while you work.
There is an app that lets you pause your inbox so you can refer back to emails while you work without being distracted by incomming emails.
8. Regularly take 15 minutes to digitally declutter.
Just like our physical possessions subscriptions and apps tend to accumulate over time. I know I need to reconsider my subscriptions every few months because I’ll come across new blogs in the meantime. It’s good to check back in and stay conscious of who you let into your inbox and your life.
Do you have any secret ninja tricks to avoid drowning in social media distraction?