How to Stop Social Media Wasting Your Time

These days you’ll see loads of information on the web about the problems caused by social media: unrealistic life expectations, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), cyberbullying, unhealthy sleep patterns and more. 

A group of social media icons on a screen, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest

However, I think the biggest problem is the huge waste of time (and opportunity) due to people spending too much time on their social media accounts.

Woman sitting up against some cushions reading her phone with a mug of coffee in her other hand. There's a coffee pot, a laptop and an open book lying next to her.

I use social media a lot, for personal and business reasons, and I think it’s an important part of modern life, but it’s also important to stay in control.

You can waste a lot of time on social media using your personal account, but I think it could double when you’re logged on to a business social media account, doing “work” too! 

Woman with long blonde hair wearing a red sleeveless top and using a cellphone while sitting in a coffee shop with a cup of coffee on the table in front of her.

Do any of the following scenarios strike a chord with you?

    • “I love to keep up with all of my old school friends.”
    • “I like to upload pictures when I go shopping so my friends can see what I’m buying!”
    • “I take a photo of every meal that I eat.”

Hands holding a cellphone and taking a photo of 4 plates of food.

    • “I am very thorough and spend ages finding the perfect group to join to advertise my business”
    • “I upload lots of photos of my life (home/dog/children) so that my business followers can see that I’m a genuine person”
    • “I like to check to see if anyone has commented on or liked my latest posts.”
    • “I spend ages each day writing reams of content to fill up my social stream”

Mum taking a selfie with two young boys on a beach.

If one or more of these ring true with you, it’s probably time to take action and make social media work for you rather than letting it waste your time.


How to Make Social Media Work for you Rather Than Waste Your Time

There are loads of ways to make social media work for you – it’s important to be deliberate about how you use it and keep its use under control. 

Woman sitting on a bed in front of a window with a laptop in front of her and a camera and cellphone on the bed.

Try not to feel pressurised by what other people are saying or doing on social media – use it to show your own personality, and make it work for you and your business.



Personal Use of Social Media

For the personal side of things, here’s what I think is important when using social media:


1. Use social media to keep in contact with your real friends and let them know what you are up to. However, if you haven’t seen or personally spoken to or interacted with any of your “friends” on your contact list in the last year, it’s probably time to have a clear-out.

Two smiling women taking a selfie on a smartphone.

2. You can limit the time spent on posting to social media by setting a timer, or using an app which records how long you spend on social media – you might be shocked!

If you limit the amount of time you spend conversing with people (say 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening) you’ll find that you’ll waste less time looking at cute cat videos, as you’re too busy talking to people in your allotted social media time!

You could use the Chrome extension called Time Your Web Tracker which will give you a detailed report of all the websites you have looked at for a particular day.

3. How about logging on to social media as a reward for finishing a task you don’t particularly want to do – cleaning the house, going to the gym etc. ?

Dark haired woman wearing a hat, sunglasses and a bright blue top taking a photo on a cellphone.

4. Turn notifications off so that you choose when you look at social media, rather letting it “call” or distract you.

5. Don’t let social media interfere with living your own life – it’s far more important to be with your own family than to track what your old high school friends are doing with their families!


Using Social Media for Business

Here’s are some tips on using social media in your business without allowing it to waste your precious work hours:


1. Set aside an allocated time for going on social media for business purposes eg after you’ve done some work or made phone calls etc. Set an alarm to show when you need to finish your social media time.

2. Plan to do something enjoyable after going on social media, even if its only a 2-minute walk in the garden, so you won’t feel you have to carry on relentlessly responding to social media posts. 

Over the shoulder view of a woman wearing a grey top and using a cellphone. She's sitting at a desk which has a laptop, some folders, a notebook and a cup of coffee on it.

3. If you use a desktop or laptop computer, block your computer from using social media at certain times of the day (there are apps available to do this such as Offtime, BreakFree or Flipd), or have a separate work log-in that is set up with just the apps you need for work, and no social media apps. 

4. Use social media to build relationships. Forget about the networks that don’t resonate with you and don’t allow you to talk to like-minded people.

5. Make sure that the content you write goes on to your own website rather than just on social media – you can summarise the content on your social media posts, but the aim is to have people visit your website as well as see your posts on social media.

Close-up of a smartphone screen showing app icons. In focus are icons for social networks Facebook and Twitter.

6. Check your business contacts and groups and remove or leave the ones which are no longer relevant.  There will be less to check when you sign on and therefore it will take up less of your time.

7. Focus on the most relevant social media networks, the ones where your customers hang out – you don’t have to be on every single social network! Track the clicks through to your website from each network that you are using to see which ones are most effective for you.

Young woman wearing glasses, sitting at a desk with a laptop looking at a cellphone.

I think social media is a great way to keep up with friends and acquaintances, and is also a powerful business tool. By keeping control and making sure it doesn’t take over your life, you can take advantage of all the positive aspects without wasting too much of your time.

Have you got any hints or tips for avoiding social media wasting your time? If so, please share in the comments below.


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Great tips for getting the most from social media without allowing it to waste your time.