Digital procrastination is an enemy of productivity, because although you *feel* like you're doing something useful, most of the time, you're not. As Jonathan Fields says in a Psychology Today article, "...when you spiral through every known mode of communication hundreds of times a day, you may be busy as hell, but you damn sure aren't productive. At least nowhere near the level you could be. You've just created the illusion of productivity." You can look up from hours of clicking/reading/posting online, and think--wow! Where did the afternoon go?
I decided to try this after realizing how much time I wasted. (See my time chart in A is for Analyze.) Although experts recommend not starting your day with email and social media, it made me feel vaguely uneasy that I was missing something important if I didn't. So now I do a quick check in the morning, some updates at lunch, and a bit more time as needed (including answering longer emails) at the end of the day when my real work is done. I tracked this over a week in March (to compare to my week in January) and it freed up about twenty minutes a day! (A short term experiment, but still.)
2. Set a timer for social media breaks.
I haven't tried this (yet) because I realized it wasn't the length of time I spent, but the frequency of checking social media and email that was the problem. I might only spend 3-4 minutes at a time, but I was doing it a gazillion times a day. A timer can certainly help raise awareness as the minutes "click" by.
3. Try a software program.
If you like technology tools, you can use a program like Freedom to change your habits. Freedom is "Internet blocking productivity software." For $10, you can "turn Freedom on, tell Freedom how long you'd like to focus, and you're offline and able to work. If you need to cheat and get back online, you can reboot." That's certainly one way to break a social media habit!