People constantly talk about how stressed and busy they are, but let's be honest – how much time do you actually waste just scrolling through social media every day?
For many of us the answer is a lot – in fact, a recent study by The Open University found that 45% of people think social media is one of their biggest time wasting activities.
Of course, it's important to have down time, and after a busy day running around at work or looking after the family, no one's going to begrudge you time off with a book or your favourite TV show. But being sucked in by social media can often feel like a complete waste of your precious hours, leaving you feeling guilty that you haven't used your time more productively.
So how to can you reduce the amount of time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest? Here are our top tips…
1. Turn off notifications
Checking a single mobile phone notification from one of your social media accounts can often turn into 15 minutes browsing, so it's a good idea to turn them off completely.
'It's very easy to become distracted and drawn back to your phone by constant messages and social media alerts' says Pat Atkins, Director of Student Support at The Open University. 'Turn off non-urgent notifications so you only accept calls and texts, or try putting your phone in a different room – that way you can hear calls and texts but ignore all the notifications.'
2. Don't use your mobile phone as your alarm
'These days many people use their mobile phones as their morning alarm, which means the phone is right next to the bed' says independent sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley. 'This makes the temptation to check your phone very high, which has a negative effect on sleep as it stimulates your brain.'
So by simply buying a new alarm clock you could save yourself precious minutes and improve your kip!
3. Find out how much time you're wasting
If you're the kind of person that needs a good statistic to make you change your ways, then try downloading an app that measures how much time you spend staring at the screen every day. QualityTime for Android and Moment for iOS will both provide you with information on your screen time, as well as allowing you to set alerts to warn you when you're using your phone too much, which will inevitably lead to a decrease of useless social media scrolling.
4. Have tech-free periods during the day
'The best way to break the cycle of mindless social media browsing is to keep in mind what you want to get out of it' says Pat. 'Once you have responded to messages or checked out your friends' latest updates, switch off and have a tech break'.
If it's your phone you use to scroll through social feeds, try putting it in airplane mode for set periods of time. On a computer, you can buy the Stop Procrastinating software which will disconnect you from certain websites for a chosen amount of time – it might even curb your online shopping habit as well as your social media one!