I spend too much time on Facebook. There, I said it.
Over the past few weeks I've been aware of myself visiting Facebook 15 to 20 times a day - sometimes more. I have to stop.
Don't get me wrong, Facebook can be great! It's a chance for me to connect with friends all over the world, catch up with people I haven't seen in years and keep up to date with what everyone is doing. However, as someone who works on-line, having such an alluring distraction steal my attention every 20 mins is destroying my productivity and ultimately costing me money! I have a business to run and, for me, it's more important than local weather updates, photos of babies, and duck-facing girls dancing on tables.
From now on, I'd like to limit my Facebook use to once per day. A short 5 minute session is more than enough time for me to scroll through the news-feed to see who's given birth or eloped or washed their car, respond to messages, and update my status so everybody knows what's on my mind.
Steps To Cut Down On Facebook Use...
To cut down on my Facebook use I've come up with a 4 point plan:
- Track my progress for a month
- Sign out when I'm not using Facebook.
- Prevent Facebook from seeking my attention
- Have a reward in sight.
Track My Progress For a Month
This is a great tip I picked up from Matt Cutts' talk: Try something new for 30 days . The idea is simple: 30 Days is about the time it takes to train a new habit (good or bad). I want to replace my old, bad habit of checking Facebook every time I change position in my chair, to a new, awesome habit of working harder and checking Facebook once per day, in the evening.
I've printed off a 30 day calendar and stuck it to my office wall. Each evening before I go to bed, I can check off another day where I've only visited Facebook once. This will not only help me track my progress, it gives me a reason to stick to my goal as day without a cross is an ultimate failure and I'll have to commit Seppuku.
I'll track my progress for the entire month of May.
Sign Out When I'm Not Using Facebook
Since I work in software, I spend a lot of time waiting on screens to load, programs to boot or code to compile. This is prime Facebook-checking time for me and I've mastered opening a new browser tab and hitting Facebook with a fluent, half-second, reflex motion. It's pretty much sub-conscious now. To get around this, I'll log out of Facebook whenever I'm done using it. This will stop me from accidentally browsing subconsciously before I'm able to catch myself.
Prevent Facebook From Seeking My Attention
As an iOS developer, I spend most of my working day with either my iPhone or my iPad in my hands or on my desk in front of me. If I'm logged into Facebook and I receive a new notification my attention is immediately drawn away from what I'm doing to satisfy my curiosity and check what the notification was.
According to some experiments, after being distracted it can take someone 25 minutes to get their attention back to the level it was prior to being distracted. On an average day, Facebook can send me notifications every 30 minutes, meaning the attention I'm paying to my work will almost never be optimal.
From now on, I'm staying singed out of Facebook on all of my mobile devices!
Have a reward in sight
Two techniques to help follow through with accomplishing a goal are 1) making a public declaration that you'll do it, and 2) that you have some sort of reward in sight. I guess writing this blog post covers point 1. As for point 2: Once I'm rehabilitated I'll get more work done throughout the day (so can stop working earlier), I'll be more productive, I'll have more to talk about with my friends when I see them (rather than sending messages back and forth throughout the day) and I'll get over what has becoming a pretty annoying habit - all of which all rewards in themselves.
My month starts now! I'll write a follow-up post in a month or so to document how it went.