We all know that Facebook is a powerful social media platform that helps you stay connected to friends and family. It is also a great tool for those with a business to help you engage clients, increase your brand exposure, and provide you with low cost marketing.
However, you may be guilty of checking things a bit too regularly and staying on a little longer than planned. Here are seven reasons why you should take a social media break, and spend less time on Facebook.
Social Media Break: Why Spend Less Time on Facebook
1. Decision Fatigue
Psychologists believe that as you make more decisions through the day, regardless of their importance (i.e. which Facebook posts to read, to respond or not, what to post), the quality of our decision making and self control deteriorates.
It’s not a coincidence that high achievers (e.g. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg) wear the same style clothes every day, as they reserve their decision-making energy for more important tasks.
2. Loss of Motivation
Once you eventually pull yourself away from the screen after a mammoth session, your brain is fried. You’re not motivated to do the important things you set out to do, as you require time to recuperate and recharge. That’s why you need a social media break.
3. Delayed Goal Achievement
Every minute you spend reading and reviewing Facebook is another minute you have to delay achieving your day’s goals or life’s ambitions. For example: if you want to get that article written by 2PM and you spend another 45 minutes looking at cat videos, then don’t expect your work to be done before 2:45PM.
4. Reduced Life Satisfaction
It can be great and motivating to see others posting their latest successes, travels, or restaurant experiences. However, a growing body of evidence is showing that social networking can reduce your personal life satisfaction. This may be due to unfair comparisons with others in your network, who appear to be more successful than you.
5. Unrealistic Expectations
People rarely – if ever – post their failures and complete flops for the whole world to see. Everyone from Jeff Bezos to Richard Branson has had their fair share of troubles, sometime more than their fair share.
When you only see the successful results that people post, without the required toil, you set yourself up to have unrealistic expectations on how your day, life, or ambitions should pan out.
6. Poorer Health
Computer and smartphone screens are now a well ingrained part of daily life and jobs. There’s no getting away from that. However, why spend even more time looking at an electronic screen during non-working hours?
Study findings show that increased screen time interferes with sleep patterns and may cause eye strain, headaches, and irritability. Keep yourself healthier by taking a social media break.
7. Opportunity Cost
If you are in front of a screen reading Facebook, it means you are NOT in front of a client, future employer, or sales prospect. On the face of it, you may have lost little time – but what opportunities have you also missed by reading and posting to social media?
8. Missed Vacations
For every 10 minutes you spend on Facebook throughout the year, you miss out on over 60 hours of potential working time. That’s over a week and a half for those working a 40-hour work week! Would you rather browse for 10 minutes a day OR take that vacation?
Social Media Break: 4 Hacks To Help Keep You on Track
Given the above, you need to stack the odds of breaking your Facebook habit in your favor. Below are some of the life hacks you can do NOW to get started and keep yourself on track.
Hack #1: Identify the triggers to your browsing to help you break the habit.
What drives you to have a look at your updates? Is it when you are bored? Is it at a certain time during the day? Is it when you’re in a particular place? Once you are conscious of your triggers, you can plan a different routine to replace your browsing.
Hack #2: Replacement habit.
Following from tip #1, you need to be aware of the perceived reward you get from looking at Facebook. In one example above, the browsing eliminates boredom temporarily. Therefore, can you do something else to alleviate the boredom that will have a net positive effect and replace browsing.
Hack #3: Change your environment.
Make it difficult for you to check in on updates by pre-planning your environment. This will make it easier to follow through when your self-control is running low. For example: you can use browser extensions that will limit the time you spend on Facebook or other sites, so you are motivated to use less (e.g. StayFocusd for Google Chrome).
Hack #4: Create competition.
Nothing motivates like competition. Challenge a fried to see who can stay off Facebook the longest, with the loser having to pay for the winner’s night out. Ironically, Facebook can track this for both of you! Or challenge yourself to do a forfeit if any of your friends catch you browsing while they are online themselves.
As you can see, there are many reasons and creative ways for you to, at very least, reduce your Facebook habit. It will be difficult at first; given it is a well-ingrained habit. However, with some focus, a little persistence, and maybe the help of some well-chosen friends, you can take a social media break – and surprise yourself.