If the statistics are correct, you probably spend roughly 45 minutes on social media every day, whether as a way to procrastinate work, as an antidote for boredom, or merely as a compulsive habit. And according to research, keeping up with people you probably haven’t seen or spoken to in years doesn’t do anything for your feelings of self-worth or contentment with life.

What, exactly, will you be missing out on if you stop checking social media every day? Or, put another way: What could you gain by getting those minutes back? Here are some ideas on how to do it.

Use a website blocker

Cold Turkey offers a free website and application blocker for Windows or Mac which will bar access to the websites or applications you tell it to. If limiting the time you spend on a certain site -- and not completely staying off it -- is what you want, you can set a daily time limit. It also will let you block the entire internet, or whitelist only the websites you need to use. MinutesPlease is another one to check out if you want to spend less time somewhere online. It opens the site you choose in a new tab and starts a timer. Once the time you’ve designated is up, the tab closes.

Turn off notifications

On your phone, go to Settings >> Notifications and scroll down to the list of apps on your phone. Find Facebook or whatever social media app you want to spend less time using and slide the button off where it says “Allow Notifications.” With this disabled your phone won’t be making noises, vibrating or sending you messages trying to entice you to check in.

Pick up a book every time you have the urge to check social media

London-based writer Simon Doherty did it and after a month had read five books and three magazines and found that his “social media twitch” was almost completely gone. It wasn’t without some degree of hardship, considering that Facebook, in particular, will note your absence and do everything it can to lure you back in. He writes:

Day Eight: Facebook had emailed me five times to tell me I had 135 notifications. It felt like inappropriate behavior from an ex-partner, maybe grounds for a restraining order? My cursor hovered over the login; I yearned to see who had sent me friend requests. My mind started to suggest I could have just one look, and then restart the experiment tomorrow, but I resisted, shut my laptop, and picked up Slouching Towards Bethlehem.

Be smart and know that Facebook only wants to profit from you by serving you targeted ads you’ll click on. Stay off it and you won't really be missing out on anything.

Published on: Mar 5, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.