Instagram can help you spread awareness of important social issues, build businesses from your phone, and stay close to loved ones. However, the downside of Instagram is that many users feel drained, anxious, and even jealous when using the app.
Do you feel like Instagram stops you from finishing meaningful tasks, but also feel like there are too many benefits to delete your account? If so, we have some good news for you. Rather than leave, you should consider these tips for building a healthier relationship with Instagram and becoming less distracted while online.
1. Mute People You Don’t Want to Unfollow
There are plenty of ways social media can bring people together, but sometimes loved ones act differently online than in real life—and you may not like their personality on social media.
If you feel like unfollowing your friends and relatives would cause needless drama, you can mute them instead. Muting a user will stop their posts from appearing in your feed, but don’t worry, Instagram won’t tell them.
To mute an account, go on their profile and click the arrow next to the Following tab. After that, choose Mute > Mute Posts.
If you want to change this later, go back to their profile and select Unmute. You can still see someone’s posts after muting them but will need to search for their name manually and go onto their profile.
2. Mute Stories From (Almost) Everyone
One problem with Instagram is that it can lead to social media envy. Seeing other people’s seemingly perfect lives can affect productivity by demotivating you and damaging your confidence.
Do you spend hours watching videos of friends’ holidays or browsing pictures of their fancy shopping trips? You can change that by muting all of your followers’ stories, except for those who provide genuine value to your life.
You can mute a person’s stories on your home feed by holding on to their icon at the top of the page. When the options list shows up, select Mute > Mute Stories.
You can also go to their profile, click on Following and choose Mute > Mute Stories.
When you mute a user’s stories, these will be hidden behind the accounts you still want to see.
3. Have a Clear Reason for Logging In
Do you find yourself going on Instagram just because it’s a habit? If so, having a clear reason to sign in is a way to fix this.
When you next pick up your phone to open the app, stop and ask why you want to log onto Instagram. If you can’t answer this question, put your phone down and work on something more productive instead.
Think about scheduling your time on Instagram in advance, too. If you want to scroll aimlessly and joke with your friends, that’s OK. Put 10 minutes aside in your calendar each evening, and focus on nothing other than that when the time comes.
When scheduling your time on Instagram, make a note of every account you’ll check and whose messages you’ll respond to. If you know that you can catch up with your followers later, you’ll be less likely to check your phone more than is necessary throughout the rest of the day.
4. Toggle Your Instagram Notifications
If clicking on push notifications causes you to spend too much time on Instagram, turn them off. But if you open the app because you’ve turned off notifications and want to stay updated on everything, switch them on.
To change your notifications, go to your personal profile tab in the bottom-right of your screen. In the top-right, you will see three lines; select these and go to Settings > Notifications.
You’ll see various options on the next page. Go into each category and choose On or Off, depending on what works best for you. If you find that neither works, you can also try deleting the app and downloading again every time you need to use it.
5. Search Instead of Scrolling
Do you feel like scrolling on your home feed doesn’t update you about the people you care about? Save time and energy by searching for the accounts you care about instead.
On the second-from-left magnifying glass tab at the bottom of the app, tap on the search bar at the top. Type in the name of the user you want to see and click on their profile. From there, you can engage with their newest updates and send them a message if you want.
6. Avoid Using Certain Features
Unless you’ve opened Instagram specifically to use one of these tools, stay away from IGTV, Reels, Shopping, and Highlights.
Instagram’s additional features are designed to keep you looking for novelty, which is why you might find yourself scrolling for 20 minutes without noticing.
If you choose to use any of these, be clear about the type of content you’re looking for and why.
7. Set Physical Boundaries
Both Apple and Android smartphones have screen timers that can put a barrier between you and Instagram. If you have an iPhone, turn on Screen Time in your settings and go to App Limits > Add Limit. Tap the Instagram icon and set how long you want to spend on the platform each day. You will automatically be locked out of the app once you reach this limit.
You can alternatively turn on Downtime, which will block all apps for a certain time period unless you allow them. To access this, choose Downtime instead of App Limits in your phone settings.
8. Make Your Feed Boring
If the pink and orange colors of Instagram keep luring you into the app, you can make your news feed less appealing by taking colors away from your phone.
To do this, go to Settings > Accessibility. When you’re there, turn Color Filters on. The first option is Grayscale; choose this, and all saturation will be taken out of your phone screen.
When you go onto Instagram, everyone’s posts and stories will be presented in black-and-white and therefore look less interesting.
Improve Your Relationship With Instagram
Your relationship with Instagram is in your hands, and you don’t need to cut the app out of your life if you don’t want to. The most important thing is that you know exactly why you want to use Instagram and optimize your account to meet those needs.
Your phone also has various tools that can save you from excessive scrolling, allowing you to focus on the more important things in your life instead.