How to make the most of your time online
It’s okay to spend time on social media, but it’s good to check in with how it makes you feel
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
You might feel like you waste a lot of time online or that your internet use is having a negative impact on your life. It’s good to think about the way you use your time online, and whether or not it feels productive.
However, a lot of people need to use the internet day-to-day. It’s become a vital resource for a lot of things including:
- Banking and bills
- Doing work for school or college
- Finding information
- Booking tickets
Ways to make the most of your time online
Try to be conscious of what you do online. Let yourself have some time for scrolling if you enjoy it, but make sure you’re doing other more productive things too.
You can mute notifications in settings. Decide which notifications you want to get and mute the rest. It will be easier to focus on what you actually need to do online when you aren’t getting distracted with notifications popping up.
Make a plan of what you need to get done
You could make a list or just know in your head what you need or want to get done online. Try to avoid social media until you have completed your list if you find you get distracted by it. You could even use an app for that feel-good sensation of ticking off all the things you have achieved.
Be aware of mindlessly scrolling
You might notice that sometimes you scroll through social media and not even remember opening the app. Try to catch yourself doing that. As soon as you realise you’re mindlessly scrolling try to do something more meaningful or put away your phone and do something else relaxing.
You can set time limits on certain apps in your screen time app. If your phone doesn’t have a screen time app you can download one in your app store. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the app, but not enough so that you feel you’re wasting your time.
Do something useful
There are so many things you can do online other than social media. You can learn languages, skills and new ways of thinking using different apps, websites or podcasts. Other things you can do online include:
- Do something creative like produce music or graphic design
- Video chat to friends or family abroad
- Learn a new skill
- Watch something you enjoy
- Read a news app
Clean up your social media
You might feel that you waste a lot of time on social media but don’t actually see a lot. Or you might find that social media is making you feel bad about yourself. Unfollow and mute accounts that you’re not interested in or that make you feel bad. This can make the time you spend on social media more meaningful and valuable to you.
Try not to rely on your phone
If you rely on your phone for certain things like setting alarms, timers, as a calculator, or for doing other tasks, ask yourself if there’s an alternative way to do something. For example, get an alarm clock to wake you up in the morning to reduce the amount of time you spend scrolling after reaching for your phone to switch off the alarm in the morning.
Understand how your online use makes you feel
Check in with yourself every now and again to see how your online use makes you feel. Use a screen time app to see how long you are spending on your phone each day. See how doing different things make you feel and if certain people you follow affect your self esteem.
Talk about your online use with a friend or family member. This might help you reflect on how it’s making you feel and the impact it’s having on your life.
Feeling overwhelmed and want to talk to someone?
- Get anonymous support 24/7 with our text message support service
- Connect with a trained volunteer who will listen to you, and help you to move forward feeling better
- Free-text SPUNOUT to 50808 to begin
- Find out more about our text message support service
If you are a customer of the 48 or An Post network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 086 1800 280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’.