You Are Wasting Your Life on Social Media

Here’s the thing about technology. It’s supposed to make us better. And, sure, there are tons of examples of technology doing just that. But social media is a glaring example of technology making us worse.

Think about how often you look at your phone. Do you check it first thing in the morning? Every hour? Every half hour? More? Are you scrolling through a mindless newsfeed while your watching TV or talking with another human? Do you check it during work?

You definitely answered “yes” to one of these questions, if not all of them. And you are wasting a lot of your life.

The human brain evolved to be hyper-aware of big, bright, shiny things. During the early days of man, hyper-awareness was used to identify potential predators and other things to indicate danger. It’s a protection system that’s built into all of us. Our brains are constantly aware of surroundings in order to protect us from potential harm.

Social media companies have gotten really, really good at triggering that part of our brains. Notifications, emails, and texts have replaced lions, tigers, and bears. That’s why when you post a picture on Instagram, for example, you are compelled to constantly check in to see how many likes that picture has received. The “likes” are a modern “shiny thing.”

The problem with constantly checking for the shiny things, when there is no threat or danger, is that we are wiring our brains to be distracted. The more the brain does a specific activity, the more it lays down wiring to ingrain that process into the deeper brain, making it easier to perform the task next time. This is why the more you practice an instrument, the better you get.

Here are some statistics from a study conducted by the University of California-Irvine:

  1. Every single time you get distracted, it takes an average of 25 minutes to refocus.
  2. Distractions take up about 2.5 hours of work productivity every day (or 70 hours per month).

Could you use an extra 70 hours every month? Think about how much more you could accomplish.


7 thoughts on “You Are Wasting Your Life on Social Media

  1. I completely agree that social media does take away from someone’s productivity. There’s nothing wrong with doing things in moderation though. I’m not one to count my likes anymore. I like social media for the convenience and being able to see people I care about enjoying their lives and doing well. It’s a nice way to stay connected to others.


  2. I love social media, and at one time I was a super addict. I have learned moderation over time and now have learned to better disengage. It has made me be a much happier person.

    And this is from someone who uses social media for work, so there is an expectation of engagement at weird hours.


  3. I completely agree with your views about the constant distraction by the social media and the phone or any screen.It a constant battle to have an undivided attention of the people you are engaging with.The mere mention of leaving the phone for a bit and starting the conversation stirs the separation anxiety in them and the irritation sets in. Though I can’t say I’m not a part of it but I try to contain it and not overpower me. By setting the time limit for the screens, no phone on dining areas to ensure some quality family time.


  4. Social media has tapped into the brain’s dopamine release mechanisms to ensure people use those push notifications. Very similar to fishing or gambling. You’re excited when something happens, and you anticipate the next ‘hit’.


  5. This is a struggle I face on a daily. I agree, social media could take up so much of your time and the worst part is – you don’t even notice how long you’ve been scrolling up and down. I used to spend lots of time on my phone before I sleep, then I wake up feeling groggy. I tried changing the pattern. Now I put my phone down, and replace it with a book. Changed my life.


  6. Actually I have removed all social apps from my phone so it isn’t full it sh*t. I use the computer when I truly need to check my Social Media. This has worked very well for me and my phone.


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