How much time do you really spend on social networks? Before you answer, consider how you arrived at this post:
During a slot in your calendar marked ‘Read Facebook’ or ‘Check Tumblr’?
Our brains are conditioned to crave the instant gratification and social validation of sites such as these. For most of us, visiting networks is a habit ingrained into our subconscious from years of non-deliberate practice.
While there are existing solutions in the form of site-blockers, I’ve never found long-term success with them. They are too easily circumvented by switching browsers and devices. I propose an alternate solution:
As you go through your day, make a list of everything you do. Including, most importantly, which websites you visit: every time you search, switch tabs, check your phone, etc. EVERY SINGLE TIME. By writing it down, you will have ripped your automatic habit into the realm of conscious action. At this point, visiting the network becomes choice, rather than an impalpable obligation.
You should write down everything because ‘write down everything’ is much easier to remember than ‘write down websites’. As a side benefit, you’ll likely find other areas that desire improvement. (Or business ideas, which was the initial purpose of this exercise.) It may seem like a big time investment, but the 5 seconds spent writing ‘Facebook’ and closing the window is far less than the 5 minutes/hours you could have spent there.
I don’t advocate giving up social networks entirely - they offer a glimpse into the development of both our closest friends and distant strangers. But consider how much of your time is spent making genuine connections, and how much of it is mindlessly scrolling through gifs.
Takeaway: Make a list of everything you do to eliminate bad habits.