Everyone’s on social media these days. However, some of us take it more seriously than others. And some of us have to take it seriously, because our professional success relies heavily on staying connected. Then there are people who are on their accounts all the time, even when they’re trying to do other things, like hang out with actual people. But are you one of those people whose obsessed with social media? How would you even know?
If you’re worried about how much time you’re wasting on various platforms, here are a few signs that it’s time for a social media detox. (See also: 5 Ways Freelancers Can Promote Their Work Without Social Media)
1. You feel anxious when you’re not scrolling
When you’re not online, do you wish you were? Do you wonder what you’re missing, hope that people aren’t doing anything fun without you, or just feel anxious when you can’t be on social media for a while? This anxiety can be a sign that you need to take a break. You should feel more anxious about missing your real life than you do about your online one. Separating from social media for a period of time can help you realize that the world doesn’t end when you’re not liking posts and battling trolls.
2. The photos you see upset you
Do you regularly see photos of other people’s lives that make you feel sad or envious? Do you wish you had that kind of access to fancy homes, creativity, or style? If you’re constantly comparing yourself to people online and feeling like you fall short, it may be time to unplug. Take the time to remember how good your own life is. (See also: How to Keep Social Media From Ruining Your Vacation)
3. You never put down your phone
Is your phone always in your hand or nearby, even when you’re supposed to be working or having a real-life conversation? If you can’t stop checking social media, it’s time to put the phone down and walk away. Your online social life doesn’t have to interfere with your real one. Delete some of the apps off your phone until they lose their hold over you.
4. You post about your life before you live it
When you’re out living your life, do you stage photos specifically for social media? Are you spending a significant amount of time thinking of pithy statements to tweet? Do you think about what to post, or when, or how, even while you’re in the middle of doing something fun or actively engaged in an activity? If you think about staging your life for Facebook or Instagram before you live it, it’s time to put the phone in your pocket and enjoy what’s in front of you. (See also: 10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30)
5. You check social media without thinking about it
What do you do when you’re bored? Do you automatically go online, just to be sure you haven’t missed anything? If your first line of defense against boredom to check your social media accounts, or the first thing you do while you’re waiting, you may need to take a break and find other, more meaningful ways to spend your time. Set up other things to do when you would usually check your accounts mindlessly, and take back your time, and your life. (See also: 8 Ways Social Media Tricks You Into Spending More)
6. Social media interferes with your productivity
Are you online when you should be doing something important? Do work tasks get put off or not done at all because you’re scrolling and tweeting instead? If social media is interfering with your productivity, or your to-do list never gets done because you’re online, make some changes today. Delete your most addictive apps and download a few task management apps instead to keep you focused. (See also: Organize 8 Key Areas of Your Life With These 17 Smart Apps)
7. You make excuses to check in often
When you’re out with friends or family, do you find yourself making excuses for checking your social accounts? Maybe you tell them that it’s for work, or you go to the bathroom with your phone just so you can check your notifications. If social media has such a strong pull on your life that your loved ones are calling you out and you’re making excuses to stay connected, then it’s high time to disconnect.
8. You’re disengaging from your real life
Do you choose to be online rather than go out with friends? Sure, we all need the occasional evening in, but if you are regularly choosing social media over your friends, or choosing not to go out because you’re afraid you’ll miss something online, it’s time to think about a break. Social media can have a place in your life, but it shouldn’t frequently take the place of real-life interactions. (See also: Are You Letting FOMO Ruin Your Finances?)