How to spend less time on social media [and be more present]

how to spend less time on social media and be more present

Are you ready to spend less time on social media? We’ll cover the many health and wellness benefits to limiting your social media usage and how to get started. Spending less time on your phone will become therapeutic.

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We were all in the same room but everyone was in their own world. 

I was scrolling through Facebook, my husband was laughing at Tik Tok videos, and our daughter was spinning in circles until she fell on the floor because she was so excited Blue’s Clues was on. 

That’s when I realized how much social media was interfering with our lives. 

Have you ever gone out to eat with someone and they’re looking at their phone the whole time? 

It’s sad that although social media helps bring us together it also makes us more distant. 

If you’ve been wanting to limit your social media usage but you’re still on the fence, here are a few reasons to keep in mind. 

The Scary Truth About Social Media

Social media is designed to keep us using the apps for long periods. Every year the amount of time we spend on social media per day is increasing. 

According to Statista, in 2019 we spent 144 minutes (almost 2.5 hours) per DAY on social media. 

Which is a large increase from the 90 minutes per day in 2012 and the 128 minutes per day in 2016.

And then we wonder why we haven’t gotten anything done.

Social media is engineered to be addictive. But it also:

  • Wastes your time
  • Depletes your energy
  • Makes you less focused 
  • Makes you less present
  • Affects your mood

Have you ever scrolled through Facebook and felt drained? Or you’re having a great day until you get on Instagram and find out your coworkers went to lunch and didn’t invite you? 

It’s time to stop letting social media have so much control over your time and energy. But how much time on social media is a healthy balance? Let’s dive into that. 

Related: The best time-saving hacks for overwhelmed moms


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What is a good time limit for social media?

Depending on your lifestyle the amount of time you spend on social media will vary. 

If you’re an influencer you’ll be on social media more than a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids under 5 because that’s part of your job. 

As a work from home mom who uses social media as part of my business, I’m still able to limit my usage to less than 1 hour per day. 

Anytime I get on social media I know exactly what I’m getting on to do and once that’s finished I’m back off.

The Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology published a study in 2018 suggesting that limiting your social media usage to 30 minutes per day leads to less depression and loneliness. 

So if you’re ready to limit your social media usage, here are 9 ways to get started. 

9 must-know ways to limit your social media 

Limiting your social media usage may be difficult because it’s an addiction, but stay consistent. The time you get back to spend with your friends, family, and learning about yourself is worth it. 

1. Track your social media usage

The best way to know if you’re spending less time on social media is to track your time. 

Luckily, this has been simplified with the screen time setting built into your iPhone. 

Here’s how to check yours:

Step 1: Go to settings

Step 2: Tap screen time 

Step 3: Observe your phone usage

Step 4: Scroll down to “most used”

This shows you your most-used apps and how much time you spend per app. At the top of the screen, you can choose to look per week or per day. It also lets you know if your screen time has increased or decreased. 

Knowing exact numbers is more reliable and encouraging than assuming that you’ve spent less time on social media. 

2. Use app limits 

The second step I took to limit my social media usage was to use app limits. I limit my time to 1 hour per day for all of my social media apps combined (Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest).

Here’s how to set app limits on your iPhone:

Step 1: Go to settings

Step 2: Scroll down to screen time 

Step 3: Tap app limits

Step 4: Tap add limit

Step 5: Check “social networking” and click next

Depending on what social media apps you use your list will be different so make sure it has the apps you want to limit included.

Step 6: Set the time limit and tap add

At the end of your app limit, an hourglass will show up on the screen telling you you’ve reached your limit for the day. 

You have the option to ignore the limit but that would defeat the purpose. 

When your daily limit is up it’s like finishing a Netflix series. You have no idea what to do with your life 😂 

This is when time blocking comes in handy. Go through your list of things you’ve been wanting to get done but “just haven’t had the time.”

3. Delete social media apps

Every Friday I delete my social media apps off my phone so I’m not tempted to look at them. 

If something comes up where I have to check my social media, I can only use my laptop. 

This takes more self-discipline but if you’re serious about being more present with your family then it won’t be as bad because the reward is 1,000x better. 

4. Check social media at certain times

Instead of being on your social media apps at random times throughout the day, try setting specific times for you to check. 

This could be:

  • 20 minutes at 8am
  • 20 minutes at 2pm
  • 20 minutes at 9pm 

Have a specific time frame and set a timer so you don’t go past your time limit. 

Having designated social media time frames will help you be more intentional about how you’re spending your time while on the app. 


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5. Turn off notifications

Seeing a notification that you were tagged in a picture on Facebook makes you want to stop what you’re doing and look at the picture immediately. 

According to the Netflix movie The Social Dilemma, those notifications are intentional. 

Social media apps are keeping track of what we interact with so they can keep us on the app longer. They know what types of notifications will make you open the app.

And those big red badge icons beside the app is also a way for them to make you open the app. If you see that you have 7 Facebook notifications you’ll naturally be interested to find out what they are.

So turn off your phone notifications for social media apps and any other apps that are a time suck for you. 

Related: Time management tips for moms: How to be more efficient

6. No phones during meals

It’s so common to see people out eating and everyone’s on their phones instead of talking to each other. 

Set a boundary for yourself that you won’t use your phone during meal times and if the person you’re having a meal with is using their phone you’ll leave the table. 

This will teach you and the people you associate with to be more present and grateful for your time together. 

7. Don’t carry your phone with you everywhere

Being intentional about not carrying your phone around with you 24/7 will help you use it less. 

We’ve been spoiled by instant gratification so as soon as we wonder “why do dogs eat grass” we grab our phone and head to Google. 

Under the screen time setting, you’ll also be able to see how many times you picked up your phone and what app you used. 

Bonus tip: Try using the downtime feature on your iPhone to limit how many times you subconsciously pick up your phone throughout the day. 

8. Use the Grayscale setting

Seeing all of the bright colors on your phone entices you to click. Use the grayscale feature to make your phone less exciting. 

Step 1: Go to settings 

Step 2: Scroll down to “Accessibility”

Step 3: Tap “Display & Text Size”

Step 4: Scroll down to “Color Filters”

Step 5: Turn color filters ON

9. Block distractions

Since many of us use our phones for school or work it’s important to stay focused on the task but it’s so easy to get distracted. 

I like using the Focus app to help me block out distractions whether I’m on my iPad or iPhone. 


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Quick recap…

Social media is designed to keep us on the apps for long periods. It takes away from the quality time you could be enjoying with your family and can turn your happiness into sadness or irritation. 

This is an addiction that’ll require you to be more intentional about your behavior. Most of the time we’re scrolling through Facebook or Twitter out of habit without even realizing we’ve opened the app. 

Using the strategies I’ve outlined above will help you spend less time on social media so you can be more productive and present. 

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