Full confession: I am addicted to Facebook. I have spent a depressing amount of hours in the past few years scrolling Facebook. Since I don’t post on my own page a ton, it may not be immediately apparent to others that I have a problem with Facebook addiction, but I do.
About a year ago I decided to download an app called Quality Time that told me exactly how much time I was spending on my phone doing various things. I found the numbers slightly horrifying, but eventually, I simply ignored them because that was easier than changing my behavior.
I have been thinking a lot about productivity lately. It has been challenging to get much accomplished, so I have been reading a few books on how to get more done. One thing that (annoyingly) kept coming up over and over again is the amount of time wasted on social media.
I decided something needed to give as I have been working to get this blog started and learning everything that goes along with that as well as keeping up with my kiddos and personal life.
I don’t have time to mindlessly scroll and accomplish my goals. My goals win, so I needed to find a way to work on my Facebook addiction.
I wasn’t ready to give up cold turkey. I do believe there is value in social media when used appropriately. However, I was not being intentional with my time and was mind-numbingly checking out as I ran down rabbit trails.
You know, when you click on the friend of a friend’s profile and spend way too much time reading about someone you will likely never meet and for no real apparent reason…oh wait, that’s just me?
It pains me to think of all I could have accomplished or learned had I been spending that time differently. But, there is no changing the past. There is only moving forward.
This time around I tried a different approach. First I downloaded a new app called Stay Focused. It currently appears to be for Android only, but I hear that the new iPhone update includes Screen Time which is similar.
Stay Focused is free and has quite a few different functions and allows you to set your own limits. You can set it just for certain apps or certain days. There is quite a bit of flexibility with it.
Initially, I set a 10 min limit on Facebook per day. After testing that for a week, I decided to move it up to 15 minutes as it felt a bit more reasonable.
Another part of my approach this time was searching for accountability. I invited a couple of friends to join along with me in the challenge of cutting back and setting limits.
My thinking was it could help others who were also struggling with wasting too much time and create a common bond as we shared our experiences with it.
After using the app and limiting my Facebook usage for the past few months, I have noticed the following things:
- More intentional with my time on Facebook
- I don’t feel guilty for all the time I have wasted
- I do ‘miss’ things (info, announcements, invites, etc) and have lived to tell about it
I’ve found it interesting how differently I use my time when I have a self-imposed limit. I no longer sign into Facebook only half aware that I am doing it because it is so habitual. I have a plan before I sign on.
I’m either researching something or posting a question or item for sale in one of my groups. I spend very little time scrolling through my feed. I don’t go down rabbit trails anymore because that wastes my precious time. I’m quick to close out of Facebook when I am done with my task.
I will say that imposing these limits has caused me to miss things I wouldn’t have previously. I don’t always see the event invites right away and may miss some announcements or information posted.
But you know what? Life goes on. For the important things, people find other ways to communicate with me if I don’t respond on Facebook right away.
Also, it turns out people can also tell me things in real life to my face and that works fine too. Real-life responses may even be preferable to emojis.
Starting this experiment has been interesting. What started as an experiment is now a new habit I plan to stick to. I do plan to continue with the app and my 15 minute limit per day.
It’s possible that I may add other apps to the list as well if I notice they start taking up too much of my time. I am more focused on working toward my goals. Additionally, I feel more present with my friends and family as I’m less distracted.
Is Facebook addiction something you have struggled with? I have seen quite a few friends go on hiatus to experiment too. I’d love for you to share in the comments if you have tried something that has worked well for you :).
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