Posted by Annette on November 24, 2013
How much time per day do you spend scrolling through newsfeeds? How much total time do you think you've spent locked in infinite-scroll mode?
If you could magically collect a "refund" for that time, what impossible things could you have used those hours to accomplish? What goals could you already have met?
Stumped? I'll tell you. Lots.
Fact: social is a useful tool that most of us need access to. (Whether or not the fact makes you grimace doesn't make it any less true.) The trick is to use the tool without letting it use you back. After all, the time you spend in the social-media tractor beam is time that you could be investing in yourself.
Allow yourself one set unit of time per day to scroll through Facebook. One Pomodoro is just about perfect. Stick to the time limit like a religion.
Sure, it'll be there in the browser. Notifications, however, will not. (It's amazing how much pull those little red circles have over an otherwise-functional brain.)
Replace the Face with an app that gameifies the brain-building process. My best suggestions: Duolingo, Learn World Geography, Presidents vs. Aliens, Speed Anatomy, Solve the Outbreak (an epidemiology game produced by the CDC) and Perfect Ear. These apps step in nicely when you'd usually be temped to tuck into a long Facebook browse: riding the train, standing in line, waiting for an appointment, etc.
The Nook app, the Kindle app, the iBookstore -- they're all sitting right there, inviting you to make good on that promise you keep making. You know the one.
Even if "reading more" just means flipping through digital magazines, it's an improvement. Do it.
I borrow this phrase directly from the matchless Chris Guillebeau. Chris goes on to elaborate that the goal is to create more and consume less, and that when you establish a habit of the former you'll shift your default behavior in that direction.
Using "extra" time** to enrich your intellect, expand your scope and refine your approach is indeed the process of creation, whether or not you're technically consuming in the process. You instinctually know the difference.
Rise to that challenge.
*For me, messenger-only apps fit into the same category as SMSing, and I exempt them from my own rules. You'll know what's appropriate for you.
** By the way: there is no such thing as "extra" time.