Habits life

Screen Time, Instagram, Etc

June 29, 2021

After my recent ~2.5 month break from it, I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy Instagram. Sometimes. In moderation.

I mostly enjoy keeping up with my favorite planning-related accounts, some of them brands. I like seeing new products and viewing how others use them.

I also like checking in periodically with friends and acquaintances, but honestly most of the people I really care about keeping up with do not use Instagram that much or at all.

I follow some influencers, but mostly get a very icky feeling about influencer culture. As in: once someone as ‘hit it big’ as an influencer they become entirely unrelatable to me. I don’t want to see someone raving about products they received for free.

And if I am not completely purposefully aware of the time I am spending on Instagram, it quickly spirals. I will start to fill every crevice of boredom (and there are many in my life) with a quick l’il scroll. It’s terrible.

Oh and I can’t stand Reels! It makes me livid that the ‘algorithm’ is prioritizing accounts with Reels. (For the uninitiated, Reels are these little movies with words in Insta. TikTok for millennials? There are exceptions, mostly for those who are gifted at acting/comedy, but I find most of them incredibly fake and painful to watch.

But, I am back on Instagram. For now, anyway. My reasons are:

And I finally figured out Linktree (it was not hard, but I was intimidated)

a) As above, I do enjoy some aspects. And I get some ideas and inspiration. At times.

b) I have a blog + a podcast and I would like to see these things grow (not to ridiculous unrelatable levels, but somewhat!)

c) I enjoy sharing visually some of the planning techniques I come up. It’s fun to get feedback from those who really get my obsession with making functional planning layouts!

d) I think I can reach a happy medium if I carefully regulate my consumption. I am back on the “less than 100 minutes/day of phone screen time” crusade (previously named #Operation100), because I find this is a level that works for me. As of now, I am allowing myself one Insta check in per day of no longer than 15 minutes. And I am making a specific place to track this/check it off n my planner! If I find myself regularly straying from that — well, I’m going to get off again. I do find that sustained breaks seem to take away some of the allure and pull, for what it’s worth.

So, there you go! Very curious on others’ thoughts and personal policies on social media.

(PS: I do not use any other social media platform. No Twitter, no Facebook, no Clubhouse. TikTok is tempting bu I know I could get hideously sucked in and I just feel that I do not need further temptations.)


  • Reply Shelly June 29, 2021 at 8:38 am

    Over the months of the pandemic my social media usage has skyrocketed. I follow journalists on Twitter to get news updates but then end up scrolling and reading way too many awful comments. I love instagram for ideas and connecting more but also can get sucked in. I would be interested to know how you manage the 15 minutes? Do you set a timer? I know I would want to just see a few more posts when I’m scrolling. I want to balance better the enjoyment of a small amount of time but not feel like I “missed something interesting or fun”.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 29, 2021 at 9:48 am

      Yes to timer. And knowing that if I go over I’ll mess up my self-imposed screen time limits.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns June 29, 2021 at 9:14 am

    I have a similar feeling about social media and really limit my use. I am on FB because there is a parent group for school and a group for our block that I like to keep up with. But I limit my time on FB/IG to 20 minutes per day and I lock myself out from 4:30-6:30 as that is when I should be focusing on our kids. I could probably extend that to 7:30 now that the toddler is going to bed a bit later. I mostly use IG to see pictures of my niece because my sister posts stories and photos of her, and there are some other accounts I follow, like parenting accounts and Emily Oster. But that’s the extent of my use and I do not post things very often. But I like to take a complete break from all social media 1-2 times/year. I think I”ll make a habit of taking November off in addition to lent. I took it off last year due to the electio and it was a really refreshing break.

    One thing that helps prevent me from mindless scrolling is always having a kindle book in progress. I know you aren’t a fan of ebooks but it could be a solution to fill those little bits of time when you are tempted to look at IG.

  • Reply nicoleandmaggie June 29, 2021 at 9:15 am

    I don’t want to give facebook any of my information, so I don’t have an instagram account, which is sad when people I used to listen to on podcasts or occasionally read blogposts from move entirely to instagram stories (looking at you, young house love, if you’re out there). But I get that a lot of influencing is going on on insta and it’s hard not to be there if you have a brand.

    It seems so tiring to make influencing a full time job– there’s just so many places you have to be to meet your different audiences! Paranoid Gen X people like me, but also hip people on the tik toks.

    • Reply Amy June 29, 2021 at 9:26 am

      I feel the same way. I loathe Instagram (I have an account but no longer update it, need to delete it etc) and don’t want Facebook to have any of my information — I deleted my fb for a reason! But being away from IG places you so out of the loop it’s hard to feel like you’re staying in touch with people or trends. Solidarity from a fellow paranoid Xennial 🙃

  • Reply Ashley June 29, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    My screen time has hit unhealthy levels during the pandemic. In fact, last night I unfollowed a bunch of influencers on Instagram because I could tell that seeing their beautiful home decor pictures has, over time, made me less satisfied with my own home. That’s just not how I want to feel, not when I actually put a lot of effort into making my home a nice place to live. There is so much crass consumption happening on the ‘gram that I find unhealthy, and certainly unobtainable for the average person.

    I started an Insta account to share/archive my garden photos and have stopped doing that because even that’s become less fun. I don’t do reels, either, and my stats show it. I hate the weird TikTok-style videos and find them seriously grating.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 29, 2021 at 2:56 pm

      I should show you our house with old IKEA furnishing and basically no decor – that will make you feel better!!!!! (A beautiful home is just NOT on my priority list. Organized yes! Fancy/pretty/stylish/luxe no.)

    • Reply Alyce June 29, 2021 at 5:03 pm

      Yes, I quit IG a few years back for precisely this reason! It really made me mildly dissatisfied with my home and made me want to consume consume consume even though my house is lovely, and basically exactly the way I want it to be. I was complaining to some girlfriends about how my house didn’t have x,y, or z or needed p or q thing fixed, and my friend (who lives in San Francisco and has no hopes of owning a home there and lives in, as she puts it, a dingy studio apartment that costs more than my mortgage), was raving about how adorable my little bungalow is. I felt like a heel. Nothing good came from following IG, and I haven’t missed it.

  • Reply Elisabeth June 29, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    No social media for me, either! When I deleted my FB account over a decade ago, I really missed it at first, but it was a tiny blip in the long run. Does it limit potential for growing a community for my new blog, absolutely. Does it impact how I interact with friends from college – sure. But I just know the negatives would outweigh the positives for me (time sink + unhealthy comparisons), so I’ve just never given in to the urge to open accounts. When I left social media, Twitter was just starting out and Instagram, influencer culture and Tik Tok were all in the future. It makes me feel so…old.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 30, 2021 at 5:39 am

      Totally makes sense!!!

    • Reply kamalakarthikeyan July 1, 2021 at 10:36 pm

      On board with you here. I have also faced the dilemma of not being able to use FB for growing my blog community, but agree that the negatives will outweigh the positives.
      I use only whatsapp to stay in touch with my friends, and a few school groups. My life is much better without FB, IG, Twitter etc

    • Reply kamalakarthikeyan July 2, 2021 at 5:52 am

      Totally on board with this one. I am also in the same dilemma of not being to able to use FB for promoting my new blog,but the negatives of re-entering the social media outweighs the positives. I am also not kn FB or IG or Twitter or tiktok. Just on whatsapp for one kn one with friends and some school groups.

  • Reply Jen June 29, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    I have definitely gone through phases with social media. For most of the pandemic I put a timer on Instagram that is somewhere between 35-45 mins and that seems good to me. Like Lisa I often have an ebook from the library on my phone (a habit I got into when breast feeding my kids – can totally read one-handed and then only one device to carry on my subway commute to work!)

    I have noticed weird “frenemy” behaviour where sometimes someone that I was enjoying following I am suddenly judging a lot or don’t like what they are posting and I’ve made a big effort to stop following those people. I want to be a supportive person in general and I don’t think insta is the place for debate and discussion or to tell someone I am not into their life choices. Anyone else?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 30, 2021 at 5:38 am

      absolutely yes. I also have gotten better about unfollowing in those cases!!

    • Reply Amy June 30, 2021 at 6:31 am

      Totally relate to this, especially unfollowing people I secretly dislike. That was a big moment of realization for me — “wait! I don’t even like her!”. And a big yes to e-readers as a currently nursing mom!

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