Unmasking the 8th Deadly Time Thief: Taming the Social Media Monster

September 21, 2023

Welcome back to the Time Thieves series.
In this post, we'll dive deep into the modern menace that has become the 8th Deadly Time Thief—Social Media.
Social media platforms are undoubtedly powerful tools for connection, but they can also be insidious time thieves if not managed wisely. And the key to combating this Time Thief lies in intentionality.

These are some actions you can take immediately to get yourself into the driver’s seat regarding social media and break its addictive hold on your attention and your time.

1. Define Your Purpose

Ask yourself why you use social media in the first place. Is it for networking, staying informed, or pure entertainment? 

Define your purpose so you avoid aimless scrolling while just “killing” time. Consider creating a mini “mission statement” for your online presence—so you can personally and professionally reference it when budgeting time with the various platforms.

2. Curate Your Feed

Audit your social media accounts regularly. Unfollow or mute accounts that don't align with your goals or values or are just filled with clickbait or fluff. 

Keep your digital environment clutter-free. Remember, you have some control over what appears on your feed.

3. Set Boundaries

Just as you schedule meetings and appointments, allocate specific time for social media. 

Avoid the temptation of checking it constantly or when you’re tired, bored or waiting in lines. If you want to get even clearer on how much time you’re spending online, use tools like screen-time tracking to hold yourself accountable.

4. Mindful Scrolling

When you do use social media, do it mindfully. Engage with intention, focusing on content that adds value to your life. 

Avoid mindless scrolling by setting a timer for your social media sessions and then actively scrolling past posts that add zero value to your day or your life.

5. Notifications Off

Disable non-essential notifications. That way, you get to decide when it's time to engage, not your phone. 

This simple adjustment can drastically reduce interruptions throughout your day, allowing for more focused work or quality time with loved ones and meaningful activities.

6. Digital Detox

Periodically, take a break from social media. Remove the apps from your devices and disable automatic logging in. 

Then you can use this time to reconnect with your physical world, hobbies, or face-to-face relationships. 

A digital detox can help you regain perspective and reduce the addictive pull of social platforms.

7. Reflect and Adjust

Regularly assess how your social media usage aligns with your goals. Be proactive in adjusting your strategy accordingly. 

If you find that certain platforms or interactions drain your energy or time, consider stepping away from them altogether.

You don’t need to be equally present on all platforms and you could even be absent from some altogether. FOMO may be one of the worst reasons for maintaining an online presence somewhere.

The Power of Intentional Social Media Use

By implementing these strategies, you'll find that you can transform social media from a time thief into a valuable or at least a useful tool that enhances, rather than detracts from your life. 

By using each platform for meaningful connections, professional growth, and personal development, you can get the most out of your time with social media.

Here are a few additional insights:

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

One of the underlying causes of excessive social media use is the fear of missing out on something important. Accept that it's impossible to keep up with every post, tweet, or update—and that rather than diminishing your life, the extra time you reclaim adds value to your life. Prioritize your time and attention for what truly matters to you.

Digital Wellbeing Apps

Consider using digital wellbeing apps or features provided by social media platforms themselves to gain insight into your usage patterns. This data may surprise you but it will also help you make smart, informed decisions about your online activity.

Quality Over Quantity

Focus on the quality of your online interactions rather than the quantity of friends or followers. Building genuine connections with like-minded individuals can be more fulfilling than amassing a large but superficial following. 100K followers you don’t know and can’t depend on is just popularity clutter. 
In conclusion, Social Media can easily become an 8th Deadly Time Thief in our hyper-connected world. 

But with the actionable tips above, you can regain control of your digital life. 

Remember, the power to tame the Social Media Monster, like all the Time Thieves, lies within your hands. 

Approach time online with intentionality, and you'll find that it can be a valuable asset in your quest for a more organized and fulfilling life.

Declutter Your Life Podcast by Andrew Mellen. Available on iTunes!