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Social scrub your phone: spend less time scrolling and more time living!
Here’s a very 21st century question…
Have you ever taken the time to do a complete refresh of your phone, including social media? If you’ve never considered this but you’re intrigued by the potential of a ‘cleaner smartphone’ and less screentime, keep reading…
Popularly referred to as ‘scrubbing socials’, this process can be a great way to take back control of your device so it’s not controlling you, your time, or your focus. While there are many benefits to keeping a powerful computer in your pocket – our smartphones park our memories, notes and even inspiration – they can also hold a lot of dead weight.
So, whether it’s the start of a new year, or you’re doing a mid-year spring clean of your pantry
, home, and phone, the question is… do you really want to be focusing on the same content you pored over during lockdown?
Taking back control of your phone
If you’ve decided it’s time to change your exercise habits, start a new hobby or eat a healthier diet, taking back control of your phone is another way you can refresh your life – and revitalise your goals.
“Scrubbing your socials can be a powerful way to simplify your phone and enjoy more distraction-free time in your day.”
It’s about enjoying the benefits of your phone without feeling like it controls you or takes your focus away from living life.
By scrubbing your socials, you can:
- reduce external noise, which can help you feel more calm
- get back more time for family, friends, work and play
- stay more focused on things that matter most to you
- feel more in control of your choices.
Here are some ideas to help you live with intention and lead yourself in the direction of your dreams. And yes, this can be easier when you take back control of your device.
Let’s start with ‘scrubbing your socials’
The term may sound unusual, but it can be a powerful way to simplify your screen time and enjoy more freedom.
Scrubbing your socials involves becoming more discerning about what you see and hear on social media. During the ‘scrub’, you intentionally decide what you’ll consume. It’s a simple step, but one that can potentially change your outlook on life.
Social media apps are designed to be addictive. That’s why you need to make sure you’re enjoying the experience and not feeling drained after a morning – or evening – of scrolling through your socials. Ask yourself… do you feel down, irritable or anxious after you’ve been on the apps for while? If you answered yes to this question, it’s time to take a fresh look at the content you’re consuming.
Which apps are draining your energy – as well as battery life?
Using apps can be draining if the content you’re consuming doesn’t align with your values.
A quick 3-step guide to scrubbing your socials
You may know someone who’s admitted that they dislike social media and want to ‘go off socials’. Maybe this person is you! But for a lot of us, it’s not easy to quit social media for an extended period.
The apps are designed to keep you online. To avoid the merry-go-round of on-again, off-again, you might like to set aside a couple of hours to get the most out of cleaning up your socials. Just be mindful it can be an emotional process, because you may discover some uncomfortable truths. For instance, does your cousin annoy you with their Facebook rants? And can you really unfriend them without backlash?
Notice how you feel when you see a post.
Does it make you feel inspired, uplifted, loving, excited, happy? Or does the person or account responsible constantly publish content that feels draining, annoying or frustrating?
If you answered yes to the latter, perhaps it’s time to remove this person or account from your scrolling experience, but not necessarily from your life – particularly if they’re family or a close friend.
Only you can decide if it feels good to you.
Given the amount of time we spend on our phones, if you only allow content that feels good (like your favourite hobbies, artists or even astrophysicists!), you’ll always see content that has a positive impact on you.
And if you’ve realised it’s time to press ‘unfollow’, but you’re feeling guilty about making the move, there’s a way around this. Just try muting the person or account. If you still can’t do that, maybe it’s time to think about why it’s difficult to make better choices for yourself.
Decide what relationship you want to have with social media going forward.
Scrubbing your socials is a great opportunity to set some intentions for yourself. Do you want to cut down the time you spend on a specific platform? Or reduce the time you spend on your device in general? Your iPhone lets you set time limits for social networking, and so do the mobile apps for Facebook and Instagram. They can send a reminder which doesn’t ‘cut you off’, but can help you become more mindful about how long you’ve been scrolling. Alternatively, you could try having a ‘social-free’ day each week.
What else needs ‘scrubbing’?
Giving your socials a good scrub is just the start of refreshing your smartphone and reviving your downtime! Here are a few other areas you might want to edit.
You can tackle these after you’ve reviewed your socials. Take a look at who you subscribe to and ask yourself, ‘Are they still inspiring, educational, enjoyable?’ If the answer is no, it’s time to delete or unsubscribe – and be ruthless because podcasts can often take up significant storage space on your phone.
Just like the books gathering dust on your bookshelf, if you’re done reading them, it’s unlikely you’ll pick them up again – so remove them from your phone (and your shelf!). You can archive them if you’d prefer. And remember, you can always download the book again if you’d like to read it another time.
Editing your favourite photos can be just as emotional as reviewing your apps It can also be very time consuming. Do you really need 25 shots of your child’s or puppy’s birthday? All you really need is one amazing shot from a special moment.
There are even functions and apps to help you with this. iPhones have an in-built ‘duplicate detector’ which can help you cut down a bunch of similar photos to keep just your favourite. You can also get some quick storage space ‘wins’ by cleaning out your screenshots folder or downloading a photo organisation app.
It's good to be ruthless if you can. Remember you can even permanently delete – which will free up storage space. And if you master photo
“Social media apps are designed to be addictive, so be selective and choose those that make you feel good (rather than drained) while scrolling.”
Change your home screen to complete the spring clean!
Having a beautiful or inspiring home screen is a great way to create a brighter outlook or even help you stay on track to achieve a goal. You already know how many times you pick up your phone each day. Imagine if what you saw each time was uplifting, positive and encouraging!
The home screen is a prime piece of ‘real estate’ on your smartphone, so consider how you can use it to create positive and joyful feelings.
Spring clean your smartphone to free up your time – and life
Giving your phone a ‘social scrub’ can be a cleansing experience especially if you intentionally choose what you will – and won’t – consume. This is about creating distraction-free time so you’re more productive and empowered and less likely to encounter negative or noisy content that doesn’t add value to your life.
When you decide what genuinely makes you feel good as you’re scrolling, you’re ready to be intentional about ‘unfriending or muting’ people and accounts. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to scrub your podcasts, audio books and pictures too. And while it may not always be an easy or quick process, it’s a worthwhile exercise that can have a positive impact on your focus, time and approach to life in the long term.
All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified healthcare professional.
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