How I tackled social media distractions while learning how to code

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Since I was laid off at my job back in March 2020 during the pandemic, I’ve had trouble setting a routine on finding time to learn full stack web development while managing my illustration posts on social media. There were moments where I felt overwhelmed in trying to be an active social media user while focusing on my tech skill sets. I found myself becoming agitated with the noise and the constant need to keep checking my phone for updates. In some instances, I end up mindlessly scrolling through the feed and forget to do my course work. As a result, I feel the guilt that I’m not productive enough.

I’ve learned for the past couple of months that it’s okay to take a step back on social media and focus on my own growth. Allowing myself to be human and understanding that mistakes are meant for learning and not punishment. Even when learning how to code again, it takes time and understanding.

Here’s what helped me minimise social media distractions and my sanity while I’m learning how to code:

I deleted my social media apps on the phone

With the introduction of the Screen Time feature on the iOS devices, I’m able to see the amount of screen time I’ve accumulated when actively participating in social media platforms. The percentages would range anywhere between 50 - 80% of the time, which was enough to tell me that I wasted my time on the platforms instead of learning.

Deleting the social media apps on my phone was a liberating feeling. Turning off the notifications alone on the apps weren’t enough. For me, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t present on my smartphone.

I also made sure I avoid signing into my social media accounts on the browser. Removing the saved credentials on the device also helped me with my efforts on maintaining a digital minimalist lifestyle.

I replace the social apps with books and a digital journal

If I were to maximise my productivity and creativity, I wanted to make sure when I pick up my phone, it’ll be for writing down my ideas for my blog and taking down notes on learning web development. By the way, this entire blog post was written on the Day One app (which I’ve been using for years for my personal gratitude journals). When it comes to relaxation, I usually have Spotify playing while reading books on my smartphone.

I allow myself one hour per day to answer and respond to notifications on my social media accounts & emails.

Since the social media apps have been deleted on my phone, I ended up installing them on my iPad since I treat the device for work purposes. I rarely use the iPad, which was perfect for this situation. Usually, I like to answer during the day time as I reserve my crafting and coding work in the afternoon without disruption. Once I answer my emails and social media responses, I turn off the device and put it away in my office room. If it was anything important, I usually encourage others to email me directly as I don’t want to constantly sift through the DMs while trying to do my work.

I plan out my posts in a month’s advance

This one took a couple of trial and errors in terms of finding the sweet spot on my posting times. For me, posting two - three times a week in the morning was ideal to keep my account active without having to be in front of my smartphone at the last minute. I usually do my edits on the computer and have them scheduled for posting via Buffer. I reserve a day (usually on a Saturday or Sunday) to plan my content so that way I can allocate my time and energy when learning to code.

I treat social media as an extension, not a necessity.

I’ll be honest - if all of the social media companies were to disappear one day, I would not feel sad if my social media profiles were deleted. To me, social media is just an extension. It’s good to have it as a means of networking, finding jobs and promoting content. Those are the boundaries I have set when using social media. Other than that, I avoid going down the rabbit hole on frantically trying to promote my content on social media when I could be using the same energy in learning new frameworks and skill sets.

I hope my tips helped! If this article resonates with you, feel free to share my post. Let me know what tips and tricks you’ve used to minimise social media distractions while learning how to code.

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