by Jenna Kutcher
After seeing The Social Dilemma on Netflix, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on how social media plays a part in my life as someone who’s both a digital content creator and an online marketer. (Have you watched it yet?!) Let’s just say, it was WILDLY eye-opening and revealing for me, and is making me pause a bit more.
So often we open our phones and start scrolling without a second thought—like, multiple times a day. And this crutch can become detrimental (and not to mention, highly distracting) to other areas of our life if we let it.
We’ve been creating more boundaries around our devices and screen time in our home, and while I think it’s easy to slip into mindless social media scrolling, I do believe there’s a balance we can uncover for working effectively online without it taking away from our health, families, and personal lives.
Here are a few ways I’m practicing consistency on social media without it ruling my life.
01. Determine how much you want to post each week.
Just like any kind of goal setting, it’s most effective to have a roadmap for what you want to get done. Before ever logging into any of your social apps, make sure you know how much you want to be showing up there every week.
Maybe you only want to do 2 to 3 in-feed IG posts, but show up for at least a minute on stories each day (that’s my approach!) Or maybe you need to be showing up every day to promote your offers and announce important news to your followers. That’s fine, too!
Whatever the frequency is, write it down somewhere else (outside of the apps) and I’d even encourage you to write your captions and plan the posts out of the apps, too. Not only will it keep you from unintentional scroll-holes, but you’ll also be more focused and creative when writing posts in one simplified place.
02. Set a timer for engaging.
The easiest time-suck trap to fall into is telling yourself you’re just going to “quickly” check and respond to people on social media before hopping into your workday… Ever do this? And then an hour later, you find yourself still scrolling… whoops. I’ve even gone so far as to fully catch up on my IG feed and then just start randomly poking around my “explore” page, procrastinating whatever I really need to be doing. #truth
Instead, these days I like to set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes and open my app for just that amount of time. Just like any other part of my business, time blocking works WONDERS for engaging online. Whether you want to spend some time responding to DMs or comments, or engaging on others’ posts, it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole. Stop yourself before it even happens by creating a boundary that you keep to.
03. Take time off of social media.
It might sound counterintuitive to posting and showing up consistently, but taking time away from your socials is actually beneficial in so many ways. Try taking even just one day off a week (I’m talkin’, fully log out and delete those apps), and see what happens.
My guess is, you’ll find your time away from your screen to be so much richer, and you likely won’t even miss it. As much goodness as social media can bring to our lives, it also breeds anxiety, fear, comparison, and depression. Intentionally stepping away every once in a while will allow you to lean into the vibrancy that other areas of your life offer.
Plus, just like taking a vacation from work or taking breaks during a workday, stepping away from something often makes us more productive when we return. If you’re feeling burnt out from social media, it’s likely for good reason. Step away, reflect on what truly matters, and come back when you’re feeling ready. You may find you have more motivation to interact and show up for your community after these sorts of breaks!
04. Don’t follow people who drain you.
You know how they say you’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time with? The same thing goes for who you follow on social media! Take stock of who you follow. Do they add joy and value to your life? Or, does what they post make you feel badly about yourself? If it’s the latter, unfollow. And don’t even give it a second thought.
We show up as our best selves, in real life and online, when we feel empowered, confident, and stable. Following people and accounts that make you feel that way allows you to pour from a fuller cup than if you follow a bunch of people who affect you negatively. You are who you surround yourself with, so choose wisely!
05. Remember: real life is offline.
Anytime I start consistently thinking, “Oh, I should share this and that on stories!” I know I need to reevaluate my relationship to social media. Real life is offline. While I try to share real aspects of my life on social media, there’s no way to capture every piece of it there. AND, that is okay.
Our first priority should be the pursuit of a full, meaningful life off of our screens. If we happen to share some beautiful or helpful or raw snapshots along the way, that’s great! But it should never become our sole purpose or pursuit to share our lives online (yep, even as online entrepreneurs and digital creators).
Social media is a powerful tool… Yet, boundaries are good. They are needed, especially in a space that’s so easy to become consumed with. Become comfortable with them, and then log off and get outside and live your life, knowing social media will always be there when you intentionally choose to return to it.