Too Much Social Media: Tips for Staying Sane and Productive

With each day, I see more evidence that social media has become a major distraction and that it may be negatively effecting the quality of our lives. Anxiety, confusion, depression, and a general lack of focus are plaguing many social media users. Television used to be the major distraction, but now Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have become a daily obsession for many people.

iphonebackI am guilty of being too easily distracted by social media apps. Almost every day the first thing I grab is my cell phone. The second thing I usually do is open Twitter and check the trending topics. So basically, the first thing I see when I awaken to a brand new day is the chaos and confusion that’s going on in the world at the moment.

Sometimes there’s a horrific story of something that happened the night before. Other times the news stories are completely focused on the latest atrocity committed by the person currently occupying the oval office. The rest of it is mostly chitter-chatter and topics that can make you feel like you’re losing a few IQ points with each scroll.

In my book You Matter I mentioned the need to take social media breaks. I think there is great value in “unplugging” and taking regular breaks from the chaos of social media. Here are a few tips for how to better manage your social media usage.

Understand that Too Much Information Isn’t Useful

Imagine going to college for four years and trying to get 20 different degrees at once. There’s no way that you will be able to retain enough information from all 20 of those subjects to become enlightened on any of them. That’s basically what happens when you allow yourself to be overwhelmed with too much information on social media apps. Choose one or two points of focus and become educated/enlightened/an expert on those subjects.

Choose an App, Just One App

There are so many social media apps available now, including dating apps, that it can be very overwhelming keeping up with them all. Choose one social media account to focus on and stick with that. Here are a few insights about the most common apps from my personal experience:

· Facebook is for people who like to connect with the people they already know.

· Twitter is for people who are more cerebral and like to express their quiet thoughts.

· Instagram is for exhibitionists (think “show and tell”) who want to be noticed.

· Snapchat seems to be more appealing to young teens who are looking for a distraction.

Create Lists and Segmented Timelines

As mentioned earlier, social media is chaotic because you’re bombarded with so many different topics at once. One minute you’re reading a story about a loving llama and the next thing you know you’re presented with a news story about a violent attack abroad. It’s no wonder so many people struggle with anxiety.

Create lists or segments of people who will provide you with the topics that you want to read on your timeline. Search for specific hashtags of interest (#GirlTalk or #PoliticsChat) instead of looking at general trending topics. I’m not that familiar with social media sites outside of Twitter, but I know they have a way of limiting what shows up on your timeline.

Set a Timer

If hours go by and you’re still on Facebook or Instagram scrolling through pictures, you have to start setting some limits for yourself. It’s unlikely that you’re being as productive as possible in your day if you spend hours looking at posts by other people. So set a 10 or 15-minute timer on your phone right before you open your favorite social media app. That is enough time to get a quick update about what’s going on in the world so that you can then get back to your world.

Make Your Password Impossible to Remember

Taking extended social media breaks are necessary, but it can be easier said than done. If you find yourself spending too much time on a particular app, fix it so that it’s easier to resist temptation. Create a long and complicated password that you’ll never remember. Reset the password on your social media account and then log off. Now, when you feel tempted to pop into Twitter to see what’s trending you’ll be forced to go through the whole password reset process again.

Getting off of social media and getting back to real life may not be that easy since we’ve largely become addicted to our cellphones over the past decade. But we at least have to start having a conversation about this. Recognize how social media addiction may be affecting your life. Take steps to balance out your day and better manage the information that you’re consuming.

 

Lynn Gilliard is the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU. Her latest book You Matter encourages women to know and understand their worth.

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Learning to Relax ……..

Sometimes I have to pause for a moment and think, “why the heck am I rushing right now?” I designed my life so that I work from home and set my own schedule, but still I find myself constantly feeling as if I’m under some kind of pressure to do everything and do it fast.

Oftentimes I have three or four things going on at any one time, which is why I often feel overwhelmed. What I’ve found us that the things to do don’t stop until I choose to stop doing them. Sometimes I have to force myself to just RELAX.

We Learn How to Worry and Live in a Continuing State of Tension from a Young Age…

When you’re in first grade, you’re taught that if you don’t draw inside the lines there may be a problem.

By the time you’re in sixth grade you’re taught that if you don’t have a group of friends there’s a problem.

By the time you’re in 10th grade you’re told that if you don’t fill out 50 college applications your future is in jeopardy.

When you’re a high school senior you’re pressured to find a prom date or else you’ll miss a once in a lifetime chance.

In college you’re pressured to be the best at everything and compete with your peers fiercely.

At your first job you’re expected to work your way up the corporate ladder.

And women, let’s not even talk about the pressure of being 29 years old and not married or not even having a boyfriend (“girl, your biological clock is ticking!”).

It’s clear that an inability to truly relax is built into many of us over the course of many years. When you’ve been taught so long to stress, worry and be concerned about every little thing that’s going on in your world, it seems almost impossible to just enjoy the present.

Relaxing Starts in Your Mind
The real reason why so many people find it so difficult to relax is that they haven’t mastered how to relax their minds. No matter how comfortable your body may be in a seat, if your mind is active and stressed you can’t get the rest that you truly need.

Here’s an example. I’m going to give you a simple command:

Sit down and relax every muscle in your body, from your toes to your forehead. Relax them completely.

A moment ago you probably didn’t even realize that there were parts of your body that were on “alert” either flexing or tensing. But when something told your mind to relax, you actually did.

Try this at night when you’re trying to fall asleep quickly and think of a place where you’d like to be. You may be surprised by how quickly you drift off into a nice dream.

Set Aside 1 Hour Each Day Just for You
When your schedule is full of things to do, including work projects, chores and daily routines, it’s essential that you take at least an hour each day to truly relax. Set aside a clear cut block of time in your day to do exactly what makes you happy, whether it’s a power nap, watching your favorite program or taking a walk in the mall. Be unapologetic about this time that’s just for you.

As I say in my new book YOU MATTER, you do not have to answer every time that you’re called. So turn off your phone ringer. Put on some soothing music. Take this time to reflect and let ideas in. Relaxation has healing properties and can give you extra energy to finish your day strong.

Relaxation Is Healing
Here comes a cliche that I think we all take for granted from time to time: “stop and smell the roses.” You don’t have to run and gun every moment of your day. Take time for yourself. Take care of yourself. You matter.

Love Lynn

Lynn is the author of several motivational books, including You Matter: 11 Ways that You Matter Even When the Worlds Seems to Tell You Otherwise.

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Do You Want to Be a Weed or a Plant?

When I’m out tending to my garden all types of ideas and revelations come to me. One issue that I find to be most time consuming is the act of pulling weeds.

I have no idea where these weeds come from. They just sort of appear out of nowhere. In some cases they pop up overnight. Weeds sometimes grow when there’s no sun or water. Some varieties spread their seeds liberally as a way of trying to "take over." They are almost like parasites, taking resources (sun, fertilizer, water, nutrients in the soil) but never really giving much back to the world.

On the other hand you have plants. Plants get their name because they were specifically seeded by a farmer or gardener. They are needed and wanted. They take resources but they also give something back to the world, in the form of healthy food, beautiful smells or colorful flowers.

So the thought that came to my mind on this particular day was how some people are like weeds and others are beautiful plants. What type of people do you have around you? And which one would you want to be?

Weeds…
Weeds spread and propagate on their own. No one (except agricultural experts) really knows where they come from. They blow with the wind and land where they may. When they do settle into a spot, they dig in and get comfortable, not caring who the land belongs to or if they’re welcome. They just grow and grow, take and take, without much of a purpose or benefit to the landscape. Some theorize that they help protect soul by covering the ground, but they don’t seem to care if that ground is already occupied with plants or grass. They can impede the growth of plants. I liken them to an unwelcome distant relative coming into someone’s living room and putting their muddy boots up on the brand new couch.

Plants
Plants, like vegetables or flowers, have a clear purpose for being. They flourish and grow so that they can be a blessing to others. They stand tall and confidently, basking in the sunlight. They feed people with healthy nutrition (and bees with nectar).

Yes, plants are used up, and they will eventually wither away, but they leave behind valuable seeds that regrow and flourish year after year. The fruit and seeds that they produce are valued and cherished indefinitely into the future. They help people become and feel healthy, and have even been known to heal diseases. People will pay a pretty penny for a good piece of fruit or a beautiful flower.

So do you get the analogy? Unlike vegetation, we humans are blessed with the choice to be more like a weed or like a plant. We can be a blessing to the world instead of being a burden.

We have the choice to take the seed that God planted in each of us and let it flourish, so that it can be a blessing to the world.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.