Under the Influence: How Social Media Steals Your Time, Focus, and Money

Social media is commonly known to take up the majority of our days, whether we really know it or not. When many of us have a couple of minutes to spare, we find ourselves scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform. And oddly enough, most of us don’t know the impacts it could have on our lives.

Even just scrolling through social media a few times a day could amount to hours each week. Hours spent on looking at other peoples’ lives and what they may or may not have compared to you. For ambitious workers, you may find yourself following others you’d like to be in the future to help motivate you. Virtual mentors can be a great idea to kick your butt into gear, but there can be a fine line in-between the mental factors that could come into play. 

Social media normally highlights the good times vs. the bad. If you’re having a bad day, you most likely won’t find yourself posting on social media. And if you do, it may not reflect the state that you’re truly in at that time. Constantly putting in the time and effort into social media could deter you from your biggest goals. Think, if you put down your phone to work on your biggest goal or project, you could finish sooner rather than later. To learn more about social media and the effects it may have on your life, keep reading. 

40% of Americans Have Made a Purchase Influenced by Social Media

While you scroll through social media, you see what others have over you. Not to mention, the countless adds that are designed perfectly for you. With artificial intelligence, digital platforms may know you more than you know. Have you ever Googled something to find targeted ads around that subject show up on your social media feeds shortly after? This doesn’t always happen by accident. And most of the time, it gets you to buy. 

Buying into social media accounts could hinder your time, focus, and your budget. I couldn’t tell you how many times I got distracted on social media looking at merchandise I wanted to get outside of my budget. You see an item you want on someone you follow, then you go down the rabbit hole of researching that item or seeing if you’re able to stretch your budget for that item. If you have, you’re absolutely not alone. But, these actions can derail your focus, leaving you farther from your goals than ever before. 

Clothing and Accessories Have the Most Influence

Oddly enough, clothing and accessories are the biggest derailers when it comes to social media spending habits. It comes to no surprise considering the amount of us that follow fashionistas that share their top-secret tips and tricks to looking good on a budget. Once the story swip-up Instagram option came to play, making purchases off social media was made that much easier to do. 

Even among the social media influencers, 42 percent of those shop directly on Instagram. As the majority of us are hopping on bandwagons, this may play a part in it. The second you see something you like on someone via social media, you and various others jump on the bandwagon. While this can be interesting, it could be stripping you from your creativity and your own personal style.

Nearly 20% of Users Judge Others for Sharing Their Purchases Online

In more shocking news, some users of social media judge those that share their biggest purchases on social media. Even more shocking, the younger generations are more judgemental than others. And, men are the most judgemental towards those who share their monetary achievements online. It may be due to the fact that men are generally known to care less about monetary items.

4 Tips to Combatting Social Media Habits

Now, it may be harder than you think to quit social media after having it for so many years. But, it can be done through some research, practice, and time. Surprisingly, there are many different apps and companies like Apple that are on our side. Apple has features on their phones that help track your social media habits, block notifications, and help you find your perfect social media balance if you’re open to it. 

To keep track of your habits and work towards breaking away from your phone, check out Mint’s top tips below. For some easy takeaways, check out our infographic on the influences of social media and your spending habits. 

Set Social Media Timers

On most phones, like Apple products, there are settings that stop you from using social media more than you’d like to. For instance, on an Apple phone, you’re able to go into your settings and set a time limit for each app. If you’d like to avoid spending more than 30 minutes on social media each day, set a timer on all your social media apps. Once your time limit is up, you’ll be locked out of your social media. No frat, if you really need to get back on social media past that time limit, you’re able to pass through, but your phone will have you physically accept you’re going over your limit for the day. 

Even though this can be a tough goodbye each day, setting timers will allow you to notice how much time you’re spending on your phone. You may be able to turn off the screen and spend that time focusing on your biggest dreams. Whether that is creating passive income projects, increasing your salary potential, or getting back to studying for your degree. Every minute counts, and you may want to spend it on your goals rather than looking at what others are achieving over social media. 

Earn Your Time

If you’re really wanting to pass your time limit each day, earn your time. Every time you finish up a project, huge task, or chore you’ve been putting off, you’re able to check out social media for a few minutes. As always, hold yourself accountable for the time you spend and where else you could be spending that time. For example, if your to-do list is packed full this week, break it down into days. Once you’ve completed your list for the day, you may have earned an extra 15-20 minutes on your favorite social media account. If you didn’t complete everything you wanted to, you may want to spend that time getting things checked off your list first. 

As most social media accounts are used for business as well, account for that. If you have to post something or look for inspiration on these accounts, you may choose not to count that time towards your daily social media usage. If that’s the case, you may push past your timed limit without any guilt. But always take into account the time you use and what that time could be used for otherwise.  

Turn Off Your Notifications

The secret trick — turning off your notifications. You may be making strides at work or on a big project, but the second you hear that ping, you’re instantly distracted. To avoid those distractions, go into your phone settings and turn off notifications on your biggest attention stealers. For me personally, I have turned off my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest notifications. Not to mention, I put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” every day I am at work. There’s nothing worse than breaking your workflow from a notification from something that deters you for the next hour or more. 

Take it a step further and set technology off times. For instance, setting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” during your working hours, workout time frame, or even the time you spend with your family. Most of the time, the notifications that are being pushed your way are updates that can wait a few hours. 

Meet People In Real Life 

Even though this may seem rather irrelevant during a time like this, there are some additional options. Even though there aren’t as many in-person events, there are many virtual networking events. As you start to get comfortable with your community, attend different virtual (or in-person) events to exercise your ability to communicate effectively face to face (whether that be through the computer or actual event). There’s nothing better than meeting others in your community and fostering genuine connections. 

To take it a step further, promise yourself to attend at least one event each month. Once you start to get comfortable, you may be able to push that number up to about 3 or 4 a month. As your connections grow you may feel more inclined to attend more events with your new-found friends. Not to mention the potential opportunities you could benefit from amongst your new group of friends. 

During this time where some of us are lacking social connections, it can be hard to break away from your phone. Yet, doing so could push you past your biggest goals and spend more time on the things that count. For instance, your business, career, relationships, health, and budget are just a few areas that many could benefit from just by putting down the phone. 

Author Bio:

Kayla Montgomery is a digital content marketer who helps Mint create helpful and compelling stories worth sharing. Her background in digital marketing and creative writing has led her to cover unique topics ranging from business to lifestyle. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, writing for her own blog, traveling, and exploring all the in’s and out’s Austin, TX has to offer. To learn more, connect with Kayla on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kayla-s-montgomery/

Under the Influence: 40% of Americans Have Purchased Something Seen on Social Media

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