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Balancing Social Media and Productivity: Setting App Limits on Your Phone

Let's face it—social media is a double-edged sword. As someone who runs a business heavily reliant on social media, I know firsthand how essential these platforms are for marketing, engagement, and staying connected with my audience. However, it's all too easy to fall into the time-sink trap, scrolling endlessly and losing precious hours of the day.


Artist scrolling on her phone


I've found myself caught in this cycle more times than I'd like to admit. It's a real conundrum: social media is crucial for my business, yet it can also be a significant distraction. That's why I've started using a simple but effective tool on my iPhone to help manage my social media usage—App Limits in Screen Time. For those of you with Android devices, there's a similar feature available through Digital Wellbeing. Here's how you can set app limits on both iPhone and Android to help balance your productivity and social media use.


Setting App Limits on Your iPhone


  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time.

  2. Tap App Limits, then tap Add Limit.

  3. Select one or more app categories.

  • For example, you might choose the Social Networking category to limit apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

  1. To set limits for individual apps, tap the category name to see all the apps in that category, then select the apps you want to limit.

  • If you select multiple categories or apps, the time limit you set applies to all of them.

  1. Tap Next at the top right, then set the amount of time allowed.

  2. To set an amount of time for each day, tap Customize Days, then set limits for specific days.

  3. When you finish setting limits, tap Add.


It's a straightforward process, but there's a caveat. When you reach your limit, your iPhone will give you the option to ignore the limit for 1 more minute, 15 minutes or for the rest of the day. This feature requires a bit of discipline to adhere to the limits you've set, but the benefits of staying mindful of your social media usage are worth the effort. For more information, go to the iPhone User Guide.


Setting App Limits on Your Android Phone


  1. Open your device's Settings app.

  2. Tap Digital Wellbeing & parental controls.

  3. Tap the chart.

  4. Next to the app you want to limit, tap Set timer.

  5. Choose how much time you can spend in that app. Then, tap OK.


While I personally use an iPhone, I verified these steps on my husband's Android phone. Though I don't have hands-on experience with it, the process appears straightforward and effective. Find out more on the Android Help Page.


Since integrating these app limits, I've become more mindful of my social media use, reducing aimless scrolling and making more productive choices overall.


Balancing social media with productivity doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing approach. With tools like App Limits and Digital Wellbeing, you can create a healthier relationship with your devices and take control of your time, using functionality your phone already has. Give it a try and see how it works for you—your future self will thank you!

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