I’ve finally found an approach to limiting my social media usage which actually works! The thing is, I like social media. I actually find the time I spend on here to be useful and rewarding (most of the time), so I don’t want to block it completely.
(Link to this post as a Twitter Thread.)
I also find it can help me focus if I can take regular social media work-breaks throughout the day. The problem is just that is is easy to get sucked in. The apps are designed to hold your attention and not let it go. This is what I need to fight.
There are a number of tools designed to tackle this problem, including Apple’s “Screen Time,” but most of them try to limit the total amount of time you spend on social media throughout the entire day. That just isn’t very useful.
If you use up your daily allowance too quickly early in the day it means that every time you check your social media you have to entirely bypass the block. Soon enough you train yourself to simply ignore the block altogether.
The (free) browser extension LeechBlock NG has a feature I love which can get around this problem. Instead of blocking the TOTAL time for the day, you can limit the amount of time spent on social media every HOUR. This is perfect for me.
Knowing that the timer will reset each hour makes it much easier to log off of social media and get back to work. And you can even program in an override function, so you can have an extra minute or two to finish writing something before logging out.
I’m surprised that Apple and others don’t offer a similar option. I’ve tried a dozen similar apps and never seen anything like it before. I wish it worked on the phone too… but I mostly work on my laptop, so that’s where I need something like this most.