Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Tik Tok or YouTube Shorts, watching dancing and lip syncing videos? And before you know it, a few hours have passed. It become almost an automatic reaction for you to pick up your phone and scroll through these short form content whenever there is free time in between.
When we spend too much time on social media, our productivity take a hit. It affects our attention span and make us mentally tired to do anything that does not seemed to be interesting.
If you find yourself spending too much time on social media, you can break the cycle by replacing it with something else that is potentially fulfilling. If the addiction is very bad, you would need something abrupt to break the cycle such as going out with a good friend, the kind of friend that would put the phone aside and spend time talking to you. You also need to plan something to do after you come back from the outing.
Let’s say you want to do some painting or crafting, you would need to get the items ready so that you do not procastinate….because it is always much easier to whip out the phone than to set everything up. Once you start on your ‘pet project’, social media would gradually lose its allure.
For me, it has always been content creation…. be it blogging, updating my Pinterest account or making YouTube videos.
Last year, after deleting my Facebook app from my phone, I was able to free up time to make some content which I post on my YouTube channel. I do not have Instagram nor Tik Tok app installed so thankfully I do not find myself scrolling for hours in these apps.
Enter… YouTube Shorts
Geez, how do I begin. These things really sneak up on us. It started with the YouTubers that I follow talking about benefits of posting Shorts. First, I was watching on the Shorts that they post. Then as I swipe through, other short form videos started appearing. Before I know it, I find myself scrolling through the less than 1 minute videos.
Initially, the content served were content that I like….. point form on life improvement topics, some nice talks by figures such as Dr Jordan Peterson. So in between my caregiving roles, especially when it is late at night but I have to wait for my mom’s feed (she is on tube feeding) to finish or wait to feed her, I would just see what the Shorts feed have.
But nowadays, it seemed that Shorts become just another TikTok….. with the dancing and lip syncing videos. I really don’t know about you but I find the continuous show of these kind of videos to be really annoying.
How I cut down my time on YouTube
It is not only issue with YouTube Shorts become like TikTok with mindless dancing videos, but the algo have started to recommend videos that either I’ve watched before or do not interest me at all. Even though there are so many videos to scroll through, there is literally nothing I wanted to watch.
Thankfully because of this, it become easy for me to adopt my time tested strategy to cut down my time spent on social media. I’ve learned this long time ago when I was addicted to drama series and was able to cut down my time by creating content across my sites. Last year I deleted my Facebook apps and use the time to make YouTube videos and restart my Pinterest account.
So I started making content again…. mostly YouTube Shorts, It is surprising at the number of Shorts I was able to make when I am not using the time to watch videos. I was able to make these Shorts and schedule them. The kinda of Shorts I make are based on real life experiences and stories which I feel would add more value to the type of content I am seeing.
Here is a playlist in case you want to take a look:
With practice and consistency, our skills improve and we learn to be more efficient in what we do
This is what makes spending time on a hobby fulfilling. Because we find that we tend to get better and faster in creating when we keep doing it again and again. When I first started with blogging, making Pinterest pins or videos, they each took a long time. Now, each of these task is taking less time, effort and mental energy.
When we find improvement in something we are doing, it gives a feeling of accomplishment. Something that we do not get with merely consuming social media. In fact, if we spend time scrolling through our phones, it creates a lot of negative feeling, discontentment and even depression when we feel that our lives are not like what we see in the filtered and photoshopped images that creators wanted us to believe.
Because the amount of free time I have is limited, if I choose to make content, I would not be able to use it to consume content. And after a few weeks, I find myself being less interested to spend time watching YouTube because I’ve broken that cycle of habit.
Now, I am also slowing donw from content creation and spending more time on contemptation and quiet practice to nourish my mind.
Therefore, if you wish to get out of the rut of social media addiction, you can do it too by replacing with something else like content creation.
Both would require time that once spent, we cannot get back. The difference is, passive content consumption especially dopamine triggering videos has been found to damage our brain, attention span and mental health. Whereas, if we spend that time on a hobby or building up a new skill, the time would not go to waste.