In today’s world, we are more connected than ever before thanks to modern technology. With over 75% of the American population checking Facebook every day, what is designed to be a helpful tool can become a distraction for many people. Social media can be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, one study concluded, citing the “high availability” and the lack of tangible financial and health consequences.  

 

Although there is a distinction between a social media addict and a frequent user, most men will agree that less time spent on their smartphones will benefit them. First, you must ask yourself some basic questions to determine how far into the rabbit hole you are: 

 

a) Do you think about social media when you’re not using it?

b) Are you uncomfortable when you’re away from your phone or can’t access it?

c) Have you gotten in trouble at work or school for being on your phone?

d) Does your significant other or family frequently ask you not to be on your phone?

 

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these, you might need to start cutting down on social media. Luckily, we’ve compiled steps from the experts to help you get over the hump: 

 

1) Disable all social media notifications 

There was once a study where they rang a bell right before feeding a pack of dogs. Over time, they would ring the bell and the dogs would expect a reward just at the sound. Our brains are programmed the same way. Every time we get a notification, we expect a reward of attention. Or validation. Or simple interaction. The first step is to cut off instant gratification and get to it later.  

 

2) Do not use your smartphone in bed 

This is a full cut-off from the internet while you are sleeping. At night, plug your phone in away from your bed. Not only will this help you sleep better, but your brain will stop the instinct to check for Instagram notifications or what your Facebook buddies are saying about the fantasy football scores.  

 

3) Set up a time limit 

Remember when your mom would limit your video games to half an hour at a time? This will help you realize how little you actually need social media. By setting a time limit, you’re forced to only check what is “important”, and leave the rest alone. You’ll soon find that life carries on just fine without it.  

 

4) Spend time with people face-to-face 

At dinner time, all phones are off, no exceptions. While this might seem like a restriction to place on a teenager to force her to talk to her family, adults can benefit from it, too. Call up your friend and grab a coffee to catch up. Take your wife out for a walk. Talk about the last docu-series with your friends. Any time you are with another person, put your phone down and leave it there.  

 

5) Make social media a reward for productivity 

No matter what you’re doing in life, professional or personal, check social media only when you’ve accomplished something. It can be something small like completing housework, or something bigger like reaching a checkpoint for a daily project at work. It doesn’t matter, treat social media like an extra – because that’s what it is.