Habits, Productivity

Cutting Back

 So far, so good on my #75 Easy challenge (more on that here). Day 2/75 complete and on to Day 3 today. The biggest key is not waiting to get started on the various to-do items. In the past, I would wait until almost noon to start drinking my water, or wouldn’t walk OR exercise until later in the day….just a recipe for life getting in the way.

It is best to just “eat the frog” as they say and start knocking things out early in the day. (That was a pretty good book, by the way. I read it a couple years ago. Especially useful for procrastinators!)


I actually have one other newer daily goal that isn’t officially part of the challenge, but I’m sort of tacking it on. A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to spend less time on social media. As we ALL probably know, it’s a major time suck. I kept feeling distracted and pulled to look at my phone at all random times of the day. This has been an issue for way too long. It just feels…yucky.

But…I do truly like some aspects of social media. Particularly, since almost everyone I know in real life is on Facebook, I always have this sense that I’m “catching up” or “checking in” on what’s going on with everyone. Also, the boys’ sports teams post updates, photos, etc. on there, as does school, other local events and of course, extended family updates (like pictures of my cousin’s newborn baby!!).

This all makes me hesitant to completely cut it out. Life is so busy as is and I already feel out of touch a lot of the time. I guess Facebook gives me a way to at least maintain SOME connection with people that otherwise would just totally disappear from my life. Sad, but true. On Instagram, I mostly just like finding new ideas, books, podcast recs…things along those lines. 

So, since completely cutting it out didn’t feel right (and apparently there is scientific evidence that using Facebook will help you to live longer), I decided on the following:

Originally, I set the time limits for Facebook and IG for 40 minutes a day (total, between the two). When the time runs out, my phone blocks my access. (Yes, I could override this, and I have in the past, but I currently feel very committed to this. I’m considering it part of my challenge.)

I’ve been using the 40 minute total limit for several weeks now, and many days it has still been feeling like too much. I will check in multiple times a day on one account or another, and actually find myself thinking, “Jeez, I still have time left??” I took that as a sign that I was ready to cut back a little more, so I lowered the limit to 30 minutes. 

This feels like a decent amount of time that allows me a few moments of random “scrolling” throughout the day if I want, enough time for if I want to post something, and still enough to, say, read an article or browse something I found.

 I also find that as I use it less, I’m less attracted to it and don’t even really feel the urge to look at it much. Knowing that I have limited time to use it, I just don’t reach for it as often. Some days, if I have used it more in the morning for some reason, and my time runs out by 3 pm, I actually feel a sense of relief, knowing it just won’t be an option until the next day. Maybe sounds weird???! But just being honest.

Perhaps this whole concept makes me sounds a bit pathetic, for “needing” to set actual physical limits on my phone for this. Or maybe 30 minutes on social media per day still sounds like a ridiculously large amount to you. I don’t know. All I know is that it seems to be helping me feel less distracted, and it definitely decreases all of the negative garbage I am forced to consume. 

Yesterday’s phone summary. I really don’t care about my “total usage” much, since in my case, the only places I feel I would truly waste time would be on Facebook or Instagram. Everything else generally has a purpose. Apparently I was on Messages a lot yesterday, but the phone tracks any time the screen is open. I had a couple of longer back and forth text exchanges with people while I was doing other things, so this doesn’t bother me at all.

Daily Gratitude:
I am grateful for the kids being back in school. As I watched them get on the bus yesterday, I sent up a huge prayer that this can somehow continue. It has been so amazing for all of us.

3 thoughts on “Cutting Back”

  1. Glad to see if you're seeing the benefits of less social media. Cal Newport in his podcast or book says that we often feel that we want to maintain some sort of connection with our "friends" through social media, but the truth is that the ones that really matter you'll prefer to have real connection. It's so true. I feel more connected with friends or colleague that matter to me more that I don't "follow" them actively because when i think about them, I'll either call them or text them to check them up, or organise a zoom call. Human real interaction is what brings people together and real communication happens. I deleted those apps from my phone but allow me to check online whenever I want it. but i keep "forgetting" to check them actually as other things seem more fulfilling to do.Hope your challenge is going well. I realised that I actually already do all those, so not real challenge for me except not eating with devise, which i'm tracking in my journal. Hope I can cross 31 out of 31 in October.


  2. That's an interesting perspective, about connections with people. I can understand that and I agree, in some cases. I definitely agree that there are MANY people in my FB friend list that my life would be perfectly fine never seeing from again. The truth is, many of those people I would NEVER seek out to connect with personally- people I knew from years ago, etc. Even some people that I know in real life today, I am often friends with online but probably wouldn't feel comfortable (or want…) to say, go out for coffee with. Some people are still interesting people though, and I guess I like following along with their lives a little bit.The big area I would disagree though is with family. I don't have super close relationships with most of my cousins, to the point that we call and talk on the phone. But I still care about them. Seeing photos of their lives online or being able to "like" their photos or post a quick comment feels like that nice middle ground, where I'm not totally removed from their lives, but we don't have to really spend a lot of time trying to connect. Because the truth is, we probably just wouldn't, really. I guess I don't feel ready to completely disconnect from big groups of people in my life- same goes for extended family on my husband's side in Mexico. He has a million aunts/uncles and I think they truly enjoy little glimpses of our lives, our vacations, etc- but again, we would see them maybe once every 1-2 years normally, if that. So this provides a little "link" in other times.


  3. I didn't realize you could set a limit by apps, I only knew about the 'social media' limit which includes things like text and whatsapp (the ap I use to keep in touch w/ my best friend in Canada). I don't think of those as 'social media' so I'm glad you showed me this other way to limit ap usage. I have been using the social media limit since around when they released that feature and it's very helpful! I also lock myself out of social media from 4;30-6:30 as this is when I should be focusing on our son, not looking at my phone! But I don't want to leave my phone somewhere else so it's best to be locked out from things I shouldn't use but still be able to take picture of him/respond to texts/etc. I know we shouldn't need to be locked out of things, but these phones are so darn addictive! We watched a Netflix documentary called "The Social Dilemma" over the weekend. It made me wish I could delete facebook, but there is a daycare family group on there so I would miss out on that and like you, it's how I keep in touch w/ family/see what friends are up to. But setting strict limits seems like the right balance between staying connected but not over using the aps!


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