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The Secret to Being on Social Media Without Feeling Like Absolute Garbage About Yourself and the World at Large

November 15, 2017


Alt titles:

How to Navigate the Sewage Slash Bliss That is Social Media

All Those Huffington Post Articles Were Right Social Media Anxiety is Real and I Have It

Learning to Survive Social Media as a Millennial Who’s Been Told It’s The Key to Connection, Engagement, and Making a Name For Yourself

(Yes, my title writing services are for hire and 100% SEO optimized.)

Here’s the deal—I’m not good with moderation.

Once I open a door I have a heck of a time closing it. I’m much better off having not opened it at all. That, or I need very clear boundaries.

I need principles. I do this. I don’t do this. Not because I can’t—it’s not about can’t. It’s about choice.

Conscious choice. 

For the most part, it seems, I’m what they call an abstainer. And it’s acting like I’m great at moderation that gets me into trouble.

That’s what I started noticing with my social media use…

It’s not about the amount of time I spend on social media (I track my time for a week every now and again just to check in with that and Yes, sometimes that number looks stupidly high) it’s about how my social media use affects my energy.

Both the time spent on it and the way I use it directly affects my energy, outlook, and focus. It directly affects my ability to do the work that matters to me. And I simply can’t have that.

I’m not on this planet very long and I’ve got shit to do, thanks very much.

I was hesitant to talk about this before I’d experimented with it for longer (it’s only been since the start of October) but then I reminded myself that the point of this blog is to share the process. So, here it is.

Here are the principles I’ve been experimenting with (read: trying to adhere to but that hasn’t happened every day, especially on weekends) to set boundaries around my social media use:

1—I put my phone on airplane mode by 10/11pm each night and keep it on airplane mode until after I’ve woken up and had breakfast, read, and written a blog post the following morning.

2—I don’t check Twitter until after I’ve done all that aforementioned morning stuff, gone through my emails, and have my day mapped out. I tend to check it around noon when I’m making lunch then stay off it again until later in the afternoon. (Twitter’s a hard one because it’s useful for my freelance work and I do genuinely enjoy it as a platform… so the amount I’m on it varies day to day).

3—I don’t check Instagram until the end of my workday. I tend to check it right before the gym or right when I get home before I jump in the shower. That seems to give me a sense of a time limit and prevents a half hour of mindless scrolling. Sometimes I’ll check Instagram around noon to post something or respond to a comment, but not before that. Although my brain would love to argue otherwise there is absolutely no reason I need to be on Instagram before noon. Not even one. I’ll check it a couple times before bed and that also tends to be when I post content, including any Stories from the day.

4—I don’t watch any YouTube until after I’m home from the gym, showered, and have had dinner. So that tends to be 7 or 8 pm. I’ll watch something while I’m editing photos or knitting or working on a project. But most weeknights I don’t watch any YouTube/TV (more on that, later).

5—I don’t have Facebook. I deleted my Facebook account (at least for now) because I was getting all of ~zero value from it. I mean, as fun as it is to get riled up about algorithms and advertising…

Basically, my mornings are sacred, daytime is for getting shit done (I’ll put my phone on airplane mode for the blocks of time I’m Seriously Working), and evening is when the bulk of my content consuming/sharing tends to happen. But only if it fits around the things I’ve singled out as priorities.

Boundaries, you guys.

2017 has been a big fat lesson in Boundaries.


Tools for surviving social media use…? I don’t know… but it feels like the right choice given my current caffeine level (which is dangerously low). Taken along Dundas West in Toronto last week.

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