Productivity: The Low-Facebook Diet

“Social media is an amazing tool, but it's really the face-to-face interaction that makes a long-term impact.”
–Felicia Day, American actress

Weeks ago, I wrote a post on getting rid of time wasters such as social media (see post here). I had suggested that if we truly intend on redeeming our time, we’re going to need to identify the time wasters and seek to significantly reduce them. This is so that we can increase productivity and use the extra time for things like advancing God’s kingdom or getting proper rest. As I move towards identifying and reducing my personal time wasters, I’ve found Facebook to be a formidable opponent. It’s one of the hardest things to let go of. Stubborn as a lazy cat. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

About a month ago, I created a game plan for a low-Facebook diet and I’ve been experimenting on it for a few weeks now. Here’s what the plan looks like.

Don’t check Facebook first thing in the morning. One of the challenges with Facebook is that it’s so easily accessible. And there’s a simple reason why: smartphones. Our smartphones are always with us. Always. It’s so easy to wake up, pick up our phones, open Facebook, and begin looking at all the things that happened in the world while we slept. I could spend up to half an hour reading articles or browsing photos or viewing funny cat videos. As part of the plan, I’ve decided not to check Facebook first thing in the morning. Instead, I head right away to doing the things that will jump start my morning routine. Things like brushing my teeth. Taking a shower. Eating breakfast. Morning devotions.

Set a time and duration for using Facebook. I personally believe there’s some value to social media. I often discover interesting things in the world and it’s important for me in my line of work to be updated with current events. I also find that some articles are worth reading for additional information and inspiration. And it’s nice to see updates from family and friends. So I don’t think I will actually get rid of Facebook completely. But I do set a time and duration for checking Facebook. I usually open Facebook around noon and only after I’ve completed one major task for the day. And I stay on for just about 10 minutes which is enough time for me to discover what’s happening in the world (by reading the news headlines), find out that Jenny gave birth to her eleventh child, and read one article that really piqued my interest. I end my Facebook time after about 10 minutes. I repeat this procedure one more time at around 4:00 PM and only after I’ve completed a second major task for the day.

Turn off Wi-Fi while working on the computer. I’ve been using this trick for a while now and it’s been tremendous for helping me stay focused on a task that involves the use of my laptop. I simply turn off the Wi-Fi settings on my computer. And I commit to not turning it on until I’ve finished the task at hand. Alternatively, there are programs out there that can automatically shut down your browser after a certain amount of time and will require you to reboot your computer before you can use it again.

Get used to notifications. One of the annoying things about the Facebook app on my smartphone is all the notifications informing me of new activity happening. The obsessive-compulsive nature in me wants to get rid of every notification by opening Facebook and seeing what all the fuss is about. Nowadays, I just get used to seeing the notifications there and I simply refuse to open the app. Alternatively, you can turn off Facebook notifications in your smartphone settings or if you’re up to the challenge, you might get rid of the Facebook app altogether. It’s something I will seriously consider if I relapse into Facebook addiction.

So here are the things that I’ve found helpful in reducing my Facebook usage and in increasing my productivity. Do you happen to have a tip to share about reducing Facebook?