Thoughtful lady standing indoors holding cell looking aside relaxing dreaming thinking about positive things. Pensive … [+]
I’m not ready to give up on social media yet.
Years ago, platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter really changed the way I communicate with my co-workers, friends, and family.
In my writing career, Twitter in particular has made a huge difference because I can share links to articles and connect with readers. I have also relied heavily on Facebook messaging and groups to keep track of my colleagues. I also use LinkedIn on a daily basis, mostly to keep up with business trends.
However, over the years I’ve noticed how hard it is to find anything useful on social media. I doom scroll like everyone else, although I am also aware of the problem and tend to stop after a short time. I also see other people doing Doom scrolling and it reminds me of how we are all wasting time.
Fortunately, I found a solution.
As with anything that attracts us and is addicting like a fish, social media offers an illusion of productivity. You scroll all the time because your brain likes to stay active. We also like to look for things that seem elusive.
Unfortunately, it is this “illusion of volatility” that makes these platforms so difficult to abandon and throttle. I’m not saying we should put it aside entirely, but I strongly advocate a daily routine that will help you manage usage.
Here is the basic idea of my approach:
Instead of Doom scrolling, I recommend setting a timer for seven minutes, either on your phone or maybe with a stopwatch that you carry with you. That seven minute timeframe is important. It’s about how long most of us can focus on a task before we need a break. I recently found out that it is also the exact timeframe that radio hosts speak or play music before they leave any further comment on the show.
Okay, so check your social media feed for two or three minutes and do a little browsing here and there. Post your own update after a few minutes. Finally, think about what you have learned and achieved. When you get to the end of seven minutes, stop what you’re doing. Close the app and stop browsing your feed. By timing this activity and ending it on time, you’ll be in control of your Doom scrolling.
More importantly, it sets a pattern of behavior and helps you form a habit. You are aware of the passage of time and then you become a person who is more conscious of your time. A short routine where you check social media for just seven minutes teaches you to focus on other areas of life as well (such as checking email or surfing the Internet). It is similar to a basic morning routine in that brushing your teeth is a good hygiene routine. Likewise, when getting in, always buckle up first and adjust the mirrors.
Most of us stay productive with good habits.
I also followed a basic journaling routine once in the morning that taught me to think about what I wanted to accomplish that day. It’s amazing how routines form habits that turn into good productivity.
Maybe you knew this was coming, but here is my challenge to you when you are struggling with doom scrolling on social media: try the social media routine once or twice today. Do not try to set yourself a high goal in controlling all social media usage and do not leave the platforms. But try timing and only check your accounts for exactly seven minutes. When you’re done, put your phone down and stop checking your feeds for a few hours. It’s an easy way to stop the scrolling of doom.
I’m really curious to see if this approach works for you and if it helps you focus on other things as the day progresses. If you accept this challenge, please email me directly. I would love to talk to you about whether it worked and even tell you who took up the challenge and why. Also, keep up to date with my book on productivity. You can find more routines like the one I described.