How to Keep FOMO From Turning You into a Social Media Addict

social media on iphoneHow much time do you think you spend on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., a day? Thirty minutes? Forty-five? An hour? Keep going, sister. Because the correct answer is 1.72 hours.


Soooo much time, right? That's like a massage and a mani-pedi. A hot yoga class, and a shower and time to blow out your hair.

Not only can social media drop you into a rabbit hole of time -- "Wait a second, I was just pinning taco recipes. When did it get to be time to actually make dinner?" -- but it's also stressful. There's always something to see or respond to or explore and/or ignore.

Social media apps "are kind of like great parties, where lots of interesting people are discussing lots of interesting things, all the time," agrees Maura Thomas, founder of RegainYourTime and the author of Personal Productivity Secrets. "The party is fabulous, but sometimes you have to be okay with leaving and doing other things for a while."

Like, um, making dinner, instead of pinning dinner recipes.

"The lure of social media, and one of the things that makes it such a challenge to controlling your attention, is the fear of what you might be missing when you're not engaging in it," Thomas explains.

But in order to regain some time in your life, you have to accept that you will miss things, but they'll probably be there waiting for you when you get back to the party, she notes.

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No one's saying you need to delete your Facebook account. (Whew.) But getting a little more distance -- so you feel like you're in control of your social media and not the other way around -- is probably wise.

For starters, understand that social media's success depends on your FOMO. Because of its real-time component, and the fact that it provides a constant stream of information, social media truly feeds on your anxiety to keep up, says Thomas. But your attention can be swallowed up, too. Remember that 1.72 hour stat?

Try these four tricks to rein it in:

1. Axe the alerts. Start to loosen social media's intrusion on your real life by getting rid of push notifications that alert you to new Facebook or Twitter notifications. They're "endlessly distracting," Thomas says.

2. Quit playing games. You might also consider saying buh-bye to games like FarmVille 2 or Candy Crush Saga. Of course they're fun, but "they just eat up too much time with nothing good received in return," Thomas says.

3. Pick and choose times to engage. Instead of checking social media constantly throughout the day, consider keeping up during (truly) idle moments -- say, when you're early for school pickup or waiting in a long line for coffee. Instead of feeling like these moments are wasting your time, you'll look forward to them as opportunities to watch Walking Dead bloopers, like a friend's FB update, or -- okay, go ahead -- play Candy Crush.

4. No need for knee-jerk. "Recognize that social media channels do not require or demand constant monitoring or instant feedback," says Thomas. "Don't mistake 'immediate' for 'important.'"

Now, go ahead, and share this on social media.


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