Social media consuming too much of your time and/or zapping your energy? 

Here’s five ways to get your social media use under control, so that it doesn’t end up controlling you.

1. Get your social apps off the home screen

If the Instagram app is the first app you see when you open your phone, then it’s probably going to be the first app you open. 

Rather than having all your social media apps front and center on the home screen, put them somewhere else. On iPhone and Android, you can bundle apps together into folders so they’re not individually visible. Even making an organizational change as small as this could help you reduce your scrolling time!

Or, you can take the apps off your phone entirely. When you delete an app like Facebook or Instagram off your phone, it won’t delete your actual account. So, you’ll still be able to log in to your profiles on the computer. 

Having to sit down at a computer to look at social media prevents you from having the option to use social media in every spare moment of your day.

2. Turn off notifications

You can turn off notifications for specific apps in the settings of your phone. Doing this prevents constant notifications from your social media apps tempting you to open them! 

Not sure how? Here’s your how-to for iPhone and Android

3. Use apps to help you limit your time on social media

Using one app to make sure you’re not spending too much time on another app is definitely ironic, but that’s the world we live in! There are many apps out there designed to help users limit their social media use. Here’s a couple good ones.

If you’re an Instagram user, Instagram itself can actually help you limit your time on the app.

Forest lets you decide the amount of time (say, 30 minutes) that you want to be off your phone. During that time, a digital plant—hence the app’s name—will grow in the app. But if you use your phone before time’s up, your plant will die!

Another popular app for limiting social media use is Daywise. This app lets you schedule when you want to receive notifications and when you don’t. 

If you’re an Instagram user, Instagram itself can actually help you limit your time on the app. Go to “Your activity” in account settings and there you can see how much time you spend daily using the app. Below this you’ll see “Set Daily Reminder” where you can put in how much time you want to give yourself on the app each day, and Instagram will send you a daily reminder once you’ve reached your time limit.

iPhone has a similar function. Go to the “Screen Time” feature under “Settings” for daily and weekly reports on your screen time, as well as the option to set time limits on your phone use. 

Or, if you have Android, you can manage how you spend time on your phone with Digital Wellbeing. Click here for a step-by-step guide!

4. Dedicate time to a screen-free hobby

Pick a screen-free hobby and dedicate a certain amount of time to it each week. Find a yoga class, join a book club, start a garden: anything that doesn’t involve a screen. 

Finding more things you enjoy off-screen will make spending hours and hours glued to your screen and scrolling social media less appealing. 

5. Don’t sleep with your phone

Instead of scrolling through social media last thing before bed, turn your phone off and leave it to charge. And put it somewhere that isn’t right next to you. 

Not only will this keep you from needlessly delaying your own bed time, but it will improve the quality of your sleep, as studies show that the blue light from our phone screens is disruptive to healthy sleeping patterns.

Baby steps! 

Don’t expect yourself to jump from spending two hours a day on social media to 10 minutes in one fell swoop. 

Start by limiting your time by ten minutes a day, then check your progress in a week and go from there. 

You got this!