Have you ever consciously asked yourself…
- How much time per week do you spend on Facebook?
- What percentage of the content on Facebook is really relevant to your life – meaning it makes you happy, is informative or brings you interesting updates from people you care about?
- How happy does checking Facebook make you?
When asking myself these questions, I realized that I actually wasn’t enjoying Facebook all that much even though I was spending significant time there. Especially, Facebook was my quick fix when I should be doing something important but instead unconsciously decided to procrastinate. Minutes of distraction only one click away.
What value do you really get from Facebook?
Sure, there are those updates from friends that you enjoy and that you are happy to “hear from”. Every once in a while there are interesting posts and pieces of news. And some people invite you to events exclusively on Facebook.
But think about all the rest… Ads. Irrelevant updates from irrelevant people. Irrelevant events that irrelevant people go to. Boring stories. Asian insurance commercials that someone posts as “life-changing” or “you wouldn’t believe what happens to this guy”. Pictures that make you envious and unhappy. Cat videos that suck you into procrastination.
And still your news feed is endless so you can spend forever scrolling down, always hoping that you will find something relevant that you can kill time with.
So I decided to change that.
Tools to control your Facebook usage (ascending order of aggressiveness)
Check out these tools to regain control of how much and how often you use Facebook. They are sorted by how determined you are to restrict your usage.
Install Rescue time
Rescue Time is a time management software to understand your habits and monitor where you are spending your time at the computer. It runs in the background and gives you detailed reports of your behavior every week. Try it for a week and you will see how much time you actually spend on Facebook! Great to know even though it probably won’t induce you to spend less time there.
Deactivate all email notifications
Do you get tons of email notifications from Facebook for all your groups, pages, people you follow, posts you have commented on, etc.? It’s okay to have them when you are on Facebook, but you really shouldn’t get them to your email!
Go to settings > notifications > How you get notifications > Email. Switch off pretty much everything that you get via email. Via email, I only receive when I was tagged somewhere so that I can quickly react if I am not happy with what my friends are doing.
Restrict time on Facebook (and other distracting websites)
StayFocusd (Chrome, free) restricts the time you can spend on distracting websites such as Facebook. For example, set 5 minutes per day that you allow yourself distracted. Afterwards, all the evil websites that you define will be blocked for the rest of the day. It really does make you conscious about how much time you spend on Facebook!
Block Facebook or disconnect from the internet entirely
There are a number of tools to help you disconnect from the internet entirely or block your social media time-wasters so that you can do your most productive work. Some of them are free to try but need to be bought eventually:
- Selfcontrol (Mac, free),
- Anti-Social (Win/Mac, free to try)
- Macfreedom (Mac, free to try),
- Cold Turkey (Win/Mac, basic version free)
Install News Feed Eradicator
Go on a newsfeed diet with News Feed Eradicator (Chrome). Your feed is replaced by an inspirational quote, but you can still check your profile, notifications, groups, events, etc. This one has saved me countless hours already!
Delete Facebook app from your smartphone
If deleting your Facebook app sounds ‘scary’ to you, that is a sign you should definitely do it! There is really nothing to lose because you can re-install it anytime… When you uninstall the app, it forces you to open Facebook in a browser on your phone. It’s still possible but way more inconvenient. That’s why you should do it – increase the hurdle to get sucked into Facebook without even realizing it. When you have to take additional steps to go there you actually start noticing how often you want to open Facebook without even thinking about it.
Let your spouse change your Facebook password
If nothing else helps, it’s time to become more radical. Let your spouse or a good friend change your Facebook password. That way, you don’t have to delete everything but you actually do not have access for a period of time that you agree on with the respective person. If you still want to go on Facebook you have to start begging… and no-one likes to do that.
Delete Facebook account
The last resort. Enough said.
My current set up
I have News Feed Eradicator enabled and frequently catch myself staring at the empty news feed in my browser. I then check the notifications if there is anything relevant and usually I am gone within 30 seconds. I have the Facebook app uninstalled on my iPhone. But when I feel the urge to see what’s going on in the world, I open Facebook on my smartphone browser. It’s a little bit tedious, not as elegant as the app and you have to login much more often. But that’s the whole point. I spend way less time on Facebook, I’m happier when I do it, and I still don’t miss relevant updates and events.
Why don’t you give it a try?
To an effective day,