Ever ask yourself, “Why do I waste so much time on…(fill in the blank)?” In this article, we will focus on social media and specifically Facebook.
Facebook has become so expansive with content that it is very easy to get sucked in.
You may log in to quickly check on what your friends are up to. But before you know it, hours are gone. Between status updates, videos, Instagram, online shopping, news, company pages, celebrity pages and more, Zuckerberg has certainly made a large (and very profitable) one-stop social shop.
It’s a conundrum of being in a simultaneously connected yet disconnected life. The results can be pretty harsh if you go too deep into the social media rabbit hole.
So how can you stop wasting so much time on Facebook?
Here are a few steps that can help you spend less time on the most popular social network.
1. Know that the Facebook world is a virtual one but misinterpretations through it can be quite real.
Understand that although you may know some – or maybe all – of the people within your Facebook feed, you are only interacting with them in a digital realm. You have to stop and think that how much of the real world you are missing by scrolling away on a Facebook page.
It can be very hard to get away from that depending on how immersed you may be. But it is worth the effort. The result can feel like a ton of weight is alleviated from your shoulders. You are more in control with your world: your REAL world.
Call your friends once in a while. Or better yet, go spend some time with them.
Online conversations (or using a messenger app to an extent) is completely different than face-to-face interaction. You lose subtle nuances in digital conversations. Worse, you can completely misunderstand what they are saying altogether.
Have you ever asked someone face-to-face if they are okay knowing that something is wrong and they tell you, “I’m fine?”
You know they are not fine at all. You can tell by their facial expressions and tone of voice. That is not the case when you spend time on Facebook chatting. When the phrase “I’m fine” could be interpreted that everything is okay – when they really are in pain.
2. Addiction to social media is not just time-consuming; it can become mentally harmful as well.
What you may not realize as you are reading about your best friend’s wedding, a family member having a baby, or a school buddy who just came home from the army, is that you may be comparing your life to the events of those in your Facebook feed.
DO NOT, under any circumstances, compare your life to the ones you see on Facebook and other social feeds.
It’s a good way to go into a downward spiral. Possibly, even into depression. If this starts to happen, you may subconsciously continue to scroll down your feed in search of something to brighten your spirits. Hours pass by without you realizing it.
Do you feel better afterwards? It can be hard to tell.
It’s very easy for someone to put up a facade behind a screen and tell people everything is fine, even though it can be quite the opposite. Be happy for the joyous events that are happening in your life. Don’t compare it to those around you.
It’s great to celebrate your peers’ achievements – but you should never let it diminish your own.
3. Trim your Facebook friends list to those that you really do care about.
This is a big one and applies to all social media channels. Reading a heavily clogged Facebook friend’s wall can take up way too much time. This is especially true if you’ve clogged up your friends list with people that you really aren’t that close to. It may be a good idea to silence them or unfollow those that appear as spam.
The whole fad of “getting (x) amount of followers on Facebook” or “share for share” on Instagram is ridiculous. While you may have 400+ followers, are you really going to read everyone’s updates? There certainly are people who do, but I hate to think of how much time on Facebook they waste doing so.
I happen to know somebody who has so many friends on their Facebook feed that it takes them literally an hour or even two a day to be caught up! The feed just keeps piling up with no real sign of a break.
Once you are spending hours reading updates just to be caught up with people you barely know in real life or even at all, it is probably time for a purge.
4. Distance yourself from negative people on Facebook.
The attitudes and polarizing posts of negative people on Facebook can be quite harmful. I know it can be a bit difficult to silence some of your friends. But when they continue to post either negative or offensive material, that probably is the best decision (if not to completely unfollow them).
For example: someone on your timeline posts something political (or in most cases, a meme meant to be comical) and you may be inclined to post your opinions on it. If you do, the chances of getting into a charged debate become very high. It can take up a lot of your free time on Facebook (and getting emotionally fired-up as well).
It’s best to just pass through it and don’t let it get to you. If it gets to be too much, silence or unfollow them.
Everyone has their own opinions and can post whatever they want on their Facebook page. It is their page, after all. So why get in a debate when it’s really not necessary? Move along, nothing to get concerned over here.
5. A much simpler step: turn off notifications.
Localytics, a social media marketing research company, recently conducted a study which showed that 88 percent of users will use an app more often when notifications are turned on. Also, Localytics found that users with push notifications turned on are likely to launch an app three times more than those with the option turned off. Notifications = more usage.
While they are extremely convenient because you immediately know about the latest update, you get the habit of checking your phone once that notification pops. Before you know it, you’re sucked in again.
I was once like that myself. But I’ve learned that it’s more alleviating to check it at your own pace and NOT when it’s dictated for you to do so. You are in control of your feeds, not the phone. Plus, your phone’s battery will thank you for it.
In any of these cases, you are wasting away less time on Facebook by turning off notifications. More often than not, Facebook can wait.
6. Delete the Facebook app from your phone
Daisy Jing, a YouTube vlogger and a young entrepreneur who founded and bootstrapped a now multi-million beauty product line named Banish, says: “You need to start spending less time on Facebook because it eats your time. You unconsciously waste your time and give a lot of excuses to still stay on that page. Whether through chat, watching photos/videos, to posting a lot of nonsense things. In the end, you’ll end up not socializing and just stuck with your phone unproductive. The best way to spend less time on Facebook is to uninstall it on your phone. As harsh as it may sound, uninstalling it on your phone and just allowing yourself to access it only on the desktop means less time spent on Facebook. ”
In addition, a study on eMarketer found that smartphone users spend three hours a day on their device.
Other studies have proven that only 7 percent of communication in today’s age is based on verbal words, while the other 93 percent is based on nonverbal communication. Our smart devices are a huge factor in that communication shift. It’s easy to get distracted by Facebook. But it can be just as easy to alleviate its clutches and get back part of your daily life.
I’m not saying to completely unplug from social media. But I hear far too many people complain about how much time they (or others) waste there.
It is a useful and fun tool that can certainly enhance lives and businesses. However, it should be used in moderation. Understanding that there’s a difference between the real and the virtual world is key to keep yourself from being too sucked in.
It’s not that hard to have a bit of restraint, because the real world around you is definitely more important. So why spend soo much time on Facebook?