ARE YOU GUILTY TOO?

It’s like any other day. You are awake, thankful to see the crack of a new dawn. You slide slowly to the side of your bed, and get hold of your cellphone; not to snooze or stop an alarm.

You reply some few whatsapp messages from the previous night. Oh! Hold on! “Let me check my facebook feed. What’s trending today?” About logging off, then you see some new notifications : comments and likes flooding your wall. The aftermath of the image you uploaded two days ago. You keep scrolling your feed posts, see some really funny videos. Two hours later, you are still scrolling, lying on your bed. Two wasted hours on nothing. The distraction and laziness cannot be understated. Well, I’m guilty too.

The joy of technology in our current fast paced world can sometimes make it a pain to our time and vision. With camera, clock, games, apps, internet and other ‘specs’ in the palm of our hand, convenience has somehow abused the real purpose of cellphones. Most Millennials and some few Generation Xers are probably the main culprits. Gone are the days when our basic cellphones made social media addiction less tempting.

Technology is a good thing; and the advantageous convenience of having a mobile phone cannot be understated. Notwithstanding, it should work to the advantage of our time and not against it.

Identifying the problem is one thing; resolving it is another.

Habits just don’t form. Small daily actions form habits, preceded by character and so forth. Something that I have recently adopted is to keep my phone far away from arms reach so as to get up without reaching my phone first. In place of that, is my Bible within reach. When I wake up, I turn to my Bible before my phone. Set an alarm about an hour to your regular bedtime and read a book within that hour instead of spending that time on social media. Use the bathroom without your phone, and listen to some audiobook or motivational messages instead. Be actually present while spending time with friends, loved ones or your new date instead of checking your phone every five minutes. Invest in a real alarm clock instead of using your phone to set your wake up alarm – is less tempting to check your Facebook account afterwards.

Be the planner, boss and manager of your time. Be frugal with your time as tomorrow is never promised. The nature of your profession or business may demand the usage of social media, and as such may involve the daily indulgence of it. It is prudent to plan and schedule ahead the night before a new day or at the start of a new day. Face your daily duties prepared. Take advantage of some post scheduling apps like Hootsuite , Buffer and Everypost to help manage your social media time. Other apps like Freedom, Offtime and Moment can help you focus on current tasks without social media distractions or even the internet in general. A likely instance is while working on an assignment or project.

Beep, beep. Is so tempting to keep checking your phone per each notification that pops up or shows in your widget. Turn off notifications for your social media apps and other apps too as needed. It saves you a lot of time. Use that free time to improve a skill, learn a new hobby or language.

There has been about a time or two that I went on a social media break for a month. And guess what? I didn’t miss anything. Isn’t it funny how our daily consumption of facebook mainly, for me can sometimes give the illusion that if you don’t check your account, you’ll miss something? Sometimes you just have to go cold turkey. Take a day, a week or even a month away from social media and focus on reality. Take a social media vacation and call an old friend, go sightseeing or take a family road trip. Use that extra time to develop yourself and add to your productivity. In very extreme cases, you may need to permanently deactivate your account , if that’s what will work for you.

If we can’t control our social media time usage at the expense of our productivity and functionality, then there is a problem. Solving social media addiction in the nick of time will save us a whole lot of time, money and energy.

Is about time,

Maame Ansaah

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