Confession: I waste a shocking amount of time on social media.
Doing what exactly? I couldn’t tell you.
Throughout each and every day, I find myself on Facebook. It doesn’t matter that my timeline is filled with blurry selfies and numerous baby pics… I’m there.
I’ll then go on to Twitter, where endless scrolling ensues. And then Instagram, to watch countless Stories of other people’s dinners and green juices.
Call it my holy trinity of unproductively, if you will.
Sure, browsing social media on the regular can be fun. But fulfilling? Not exactly…
The fact is, social media is dumbing us all down. Overusing it impacts your short-term memory formation and ability to focus. Damn.
So when I stumbled on David Kadvy’s Medium post, I had somewhat of an awakening.
It turns out that science to your social media addiction is simple and solvable. Hallelujah!
How social media addiction works:
Our bad habits all begin with a trigger, this trigger then leads to an action, which then leads to a reward. And, over time, you build your investment. The cycle repeats and repeats and repeats.
If you take Facebook, for example. At countless stages of the day, you feel the trigger (probably a tingle of anxiety or boredom), which leads you to check Facebook (which is the action). You’ll sometimes get likes or comments (which is the reward), and the photos, posts and friend updates are the investment that keeps you coming back.
So what if you decided to do something to expand your mind every time you felt that trigger, instead? Let’s take reading as an example.
How to solve your social media addition:
- Reduce friction. Ever wondered why you don’t open a book in the same way you browse social media? Well, opening a book feels like a big commitment. It’s easier to go on social media if you only have a few minutes to spare, right? But time is just a concept. You need to give yourself permission to read tiny chunks of books.
- Hijack your trigger. Every time you feel your social media trigger, instead of reaching for your mobile device, grab a book. It’s best if it’s a physical book at first, because a mobile device is too tempting.
- Replace your action. Now, start reading! Even if it’s just a page. Remember, you have to eliminate any friction that makes you think a book is too time-consuming. Because the reality is, reading a book (even a page a day) is an investment in your future. And let’s face it, I’d much rather be learning than seeing another one of Aunt Brenda’s dodgy selfies.
By hijacking your bad habits, you can build a life full of healthier, happier habits. The brain-growing kind of habits. Yes. Please.
Try it for a week and let me know how it goes.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be reading. One page at a time.