“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
― Michael Altshuler
Do you despise how much time you waste on Facebook? Scrolling through all those irrelevant updates from people and brands you don’t care much about? Do you find it difficult to concentrate at work? During play, even? Do you have trouble being present in the moment when you’re out with friends or family? You’re not alone.
The solution to your Facebook addiction is simple: just delete the stupid app. Go ahead. It won’t hurt one bit. You can always check Facebook from your browser if you need to. Get rid of the app now, and come back to finish this article. I promise you won’t regret it.
Did you delete the app? Great. Even if you didn’t, read on to find out how doing so positively affected my life.
Six months ago, like you today, I impulsively deleted the Facebook app from my phone. The decision has proved to be amazing, as it has literally gifted me back two hours of my time which I now put into more fulfilling activities everyday.
Deleting Facebook has also significantly sharpened focus, and increased attention span which in turn has boosted my general productivity. This is besides the proven fact that you can save 15%+ battery life on your phone by shifting to the Facebook website – a nice fringe benefit.
Before deleting it, I would spend up to five hours on Facebook every single day. This would be spread across dozens of sessions on my phone and laptop, each lasting anywhere from a few seconds to thirty minutes based on numbers from my RescueTime logs. I would fire up the Facebook app to catch up on the latest updates any moment I would have even a few seconds of free time.
This destructive behaviour would happen everywhere – from waiting at traffic lights, waiting for food when out with friends, while making coffee at home, during toilet breaks, during drier moments in video games, books and movies, or whenever I day dreamed. And If I were lucky enough to concentrate on something for more than five minutes, I’d still end up on ol’ Mark Zuckerberg’s site the moment I’d lose just a hint of concentration.
Over time, this became tremendously distressing. I mourned the loss of my once immense attention span. It was frightening to realize I could count myself among people with attention spans of a gold fish. The boy who could once read huge Harry Potter novels in a couple of sittings could no longer enjoy an article without checking Facebook.
How Facebook hooks you, and how you can unhook yourself
Facebook pays the world’s best minds to help it sign up more and more people, and ensure they stay there forever. It’s no wonder the app is so easy to use, and so very easy to waste several hours a day in.
The News Feed algorithm understands what content you like, and intelligently shows something new and relevant every time you open the app. Facebook keep pushing you to add more friends, like new pages, join more groups so there is always new content coming up. You are constantly encouraged to post something new for your friends to see. Then, with real-time push notifications, and app icon badges, Facebook gives you excuses to come back and check new likes, comments, and friend requests where the vicious cycle repeats itself.
Between Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, I have always found Facebook to be the biggest timesuck. This feeling was corroborated by my battery usage stats which showed Facebook as the #1 app in terms of time spent + battery power used.
Go ahead, if you’re on an iPhone, launch the Settings app, tap on Battery, and view the Battery Usage section. You can tap on the clock icon to see how many hours each app was used for. Android users will find a similar menu in Settings > Device > Battery, or Settings > Power > Battery Use.
If you want your precious time and attention back, take steps to reduce usage of your most used social media apps.
In the last six months, I’ve gradually reclaimed my attention span thanks to these habits and hacks:
- Turning off all but the most critical push notifications on my phone and laptop. Only to-do list reminders, and direct messages on WhatsApp, Messenger and email are allowed to interrupt me.
- Keeping my phone on Do Not Disturb mode all the time except when I’m expecting a call. On Android, it is called “Quiet Hours”.
This allows me to check my phone on my own terms.
- Making a habit of regularly reading long-form articles, and books to work my attention span muscle.
- Placing my phone on the other end of the room before going to bed, and before I get to work.
Deleting the Facebook app was the first step. I hope one day I’ll be able to completely stop using it! However, since Facebook is an integral part of my work at PriceOye.pk – a price comparison startup – I feel that’ll take some time to happen. Until then, I’m working on eliminating every other timesucking app: Snapchat, and Instagram – you’re next!