As a full time blogger I spend a lot of time on social media since it is my main working tool. Posting on Instagram, recording videos on Tiktok, pinning recipes on Pinterest, interacting with comments on my blog or uploading videos on YouTube – no matter which channel, I basically have to use them every single day. However, I am very careful about using my time on social media wisely. Digital minimalism is something that keeps getting more and more important for a balanced lifestyle. Today I am here to give you tips on how to use social media mindfully in our world of continuous distractions.
For me there are two types of people: content creators and content consumers. Which type are you?
In my opinion it is really hard to be both at the same time. Me as a blogger, I put content out there all the time for others to consume. This might sound a bit selfish, but I rarely consume content myself. You will never see me checking my Insta home feed for more than 2 minutes or watching random stories longer than a couple of snaps. I simply decided that I don’t have the time to create content and then at the same time also consume it. Of course I do it a little bit, but more for research purpose to find out what the current trends of the industry are or what other bloggers are up to and talking about.
1. Set a daily limit
So, I know not all of us are content creators and that is perfectly fine. If you decide you are a content consumer then it is super important to really be mindful of the time you spend on social media. Decide on how much time of your day you really want to dedicate to social media. On Instagram you can check your average time spent on the app under the „daily activity“ section. You can also set yourself daily reminders to manage your time in the app better. It will send you a reminder once you have reached the time that you have set for yourself. There are also apps like Moment that will track your phone activity and the amount of times you pick it up during the day. It will give you helpful advice on how to use it less.
Another good tip is to stop using the mobile app and instead access social media through your web browser. Like this it will be harder to randomly check your phone on the go when you could be doing more meaningful things instead!
2. Follow accounts that inspire you instead of dragging you down
Do you ever feel stressed out and overwhelmed after checking your Instagram feed? Then you need to read this part carefully. I think this point is crucial when using social media mindfully. I hear this so often that people actually feel worse when they consume social media. They look at other peoples lives and compare it to their own. It drags them down because they think their own life is not as fun and exciting as what is posted from friends and bloggers online.
No one really shares the bad stuff
First of all let me tell you – I have been in this game for 4 years now and I know people 99% of the time only post the good, the funny, the positive and the exciting. Rarely ever someone will share bad news, horrible days or bad experiences online. Simply because thats not what we are „supposed“ to share. So when you are having a bad day don’t beat yourself up thinking your favorite blogger is always happy and in a good mood. I can most certainly say that also that person is having their own issues, which he/she is simply not sharing online.
Change your relationship with social media
Secondly, I believe it is absolutely crucial to only follow people that truly inspire you, that you can learn from and influence you on a positive level. I see so many people having the wrong relationship with social media. It stresses them out and consuming content actually makes them unhappy and unsatisfied. I don’t use social media to watch other people living a better life than I do. I use social media to discover people that inspire me to eat healthier, be more active, work harder for my dreams, add a certain kind of value to my life and encourage me to try new things.
Those are the kind of accounts you should follow as well. Be very mindful about who you choose to follow on your channels. You might know the saying: „You become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.“ Watching someones stories and consuming their content is spending time with them! So, make sure this time you spend with them is beneficial for you.
My boyfriend actually has a really interesting YouTube video on the 10 most inspirational Instagram accounts you can check out here.
3. Mute is the new unfollow
But let’s get real. I am sure you have these accounts you follow where you know they are actually not good for you?
Think of them right now. I can tell someone is already popping up in your mind. They drag you down and make you feel bad about yourself , isn’t that right? Their content simply is a bad influence for you, but for some reason you can’t unfollow them because of a certain reason?
Maybe its a „friend“ that would get really upset if you were to unfollow or other people would think something is up if you would. I know that feeling. It’s happening in the blogging niche as well. I have these certain people I kind of follow not because I particularly want to, but because of outside pressure or because it would be weird not to. Do you know what I do with these accounts? I mute them. It’s the best trick ever. Did you know that you can mute peoples stories and posts on Instagram? So when I decide that persons content is not beneficial for me and doesn’t add any value I mute their content – all of it. They won’t get a notification and you are technically still following them.
4. Turn off notification
When trying to implement digital minimalism and use social media mindfully this one is a MUST. There is nothing more distracting than having new notifications pop up on your phone every couple minutes. As a full time blogger working on various channels with thousands of followers I would never get any work done if I would constantly get distracted by my notifications.
Are those notifications important? Some of them maybe, but I only check them when I want to. I dedicate certain times of the day to actually checking my socials and then react to the new messages or comments. This puts me in the position of control to decide when I want to consume new content. I won’t get distracted by red little buttons popping up on my apps or lock notifications already distracting me when I even just want to check the time.
5. Digital Detox
Digital minimalism also means consciously create time away from social media. A practice I have been implementing for years now is taking digital detox days. These are days where I don’t use any digital devices like phone, laptop, camera, TV or similar. This digital cleanse feels so good every once in a while. It simply calms me down and helps me to get grounded again. Consuming social media mindfully is also about talking breaks from it and doing activities without your phone in your pocket or laptop in your bed. When was the last time you went to the supermarket or for a walk without your phone? Do more of that on your social media free days. I try to do these digital detox days ever second week or at least once a month.
On other days I like to set myself boundaries to implement digital minimalism. For example my daily rule is to not check social media before 9am and after 9pm. Like this I create a 12h window away from work and my social media. Even though I am sleeping mostly during this time it still gives me the most important hours right when I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed without checking my phone.
This one is so important that I need to repeat it again. Please don’t let the phone be the last thing you check before going to sleep or the first thing you check right when you wake up. This is poison and starts/ends the day exactly the wrong way. Here is another rule for you: don’t use your phone when talking to people or when having food at the table with friends or family.
Your action items for digital minimalism
I would like to conclude this digital minimalism blog post by summarizing how you can use your time on social media mindfully. These are your actions items you should from now on put into practice to consume content consciously:
- Set yourself a daily limit on how much time you want to spend online. Set up a daily reminder.
- Go through your follows and unfollow people that are not a good influence. Mute the people you can’t manage to unfollow.
- Turn off all your social media notifications.
- Plan your first digital detox day away from your electronic devices.
- Implement some general social media rules for your daily life.
I genuinely hope that this blog post was helpful for you. Social media can make our life in better in so many ways. However, it can also steal your time and partly your happiness. Start using social media mindfully. Implement some of these digital minimalism techniques to really make the best of the time you spend online.