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Facebook is so compelling. It’s easy to understand why we love Facebook. Maybe we’re even a little bit addicted. But it’s a balancing act. There’s a fine line between enjoying it for what it is and being obsessed with it.
Even if we’re not obsessed, we are probably spending more time on Facebook than we would like.
It is indeed a time suck.
So, how do you break the Facebook habit?
I love chocolate. Sometimes I eat it all day in place of meals. If it’s anywhere in the house, forget it. I will think about it and just need to eat it. Candy, ice cream, brownies… I love them all. I realized it’s kind of like that with me and Facebook. Sometimes it’s better if I don’t even get started.
It sure is hard to break the Facebook habit, isn’t it? Have you tried?
Break the Facebook habit
I started paying attention to how often I logged onto Facebook.
While it was five minutes here and 10 minutes there, I was still on Facebook 60 – 70 minutes a day.
I started the bad habit of just going to check one thing or to say Happy Birthday, Facebook Friend and then 40 minutes later I would surface and realize I’d just used up all my free time or procrastinated doing something tangible.
Facebook had become such a convenient and easy escape, especially for us stressed out moms.
It had become my go-to instead of researching something for work or answering a time-consuming email.
I decided to take serious action.
How to limit time spent on Facebook
1. Check in to read the first 10 Facebook posts.
This is a great way to curb a Facebook obsession.
Check your Notifications, assuming you have just a few, then go to your News Feed and only read the first 10 posts.
This will take just a few minutes.
You can be in the know about whatever your friends in Facebookland are up to.
Follow up on a cliffhanger post, click Like a few times, log off, and get back to your own life.
2. Take the Facebook app off your phone.
When you have the Facebook app on your phone, it’s easy to pop on for a few minutes here and there, several times a day.
Remove the app and see what happens.
You will have to type in your email and password each time. It’s definitely less convenient.
Try it for a few days. It will help keep you off Facebook.
When you have an extra five minutes waiting in the car pick up or waiting at the grocery store, you can check email or look something up something online instead. (Heaven forbid we do something other than use our smartphones, right?! It’s so hard!)
3. Set your phone alarm for 30 minutes.
Think of a reasonable amount of time to keep with with friends and family.
For me, that’s a strict 30 minutes a day.
That’s all I allow myself to use Facebook.
For this to really work, you need to literally time yourself with an alarm.
And if you don’t use all of your Facebook allotment in one go, you can save it for later in the day.
Giving yourself 30 minutes a day enables you to pop onto Facebook six times a day to see the latest news, but then you must cap yourself at five minutes each time.
This worked really well for me, except I still felt like Facebook was interrupting my life, especially if I posted something to my Wall. I would become distracted with checking back to see if I had any Likes and to answer Comments.
4. Do the math.
Before you try to break the Facebook habit, find out exactly how much time you are spending on Facebook.
Do some calculations:
How many minutes do you spend on Facebook each day?
How many times a day do you log on? Do you spend that time in chunks, say, first thing in the morning or right before you to bed? Or do you tend to go on and off multiple times a day?
Is Facebook your unwind time or is it interrupting your life and taking you away from actually living?
Really look at these numbers. Be honest.
If you spend just 30 minutes a day on it, 15 in the morning and 15 at night as an example, that’s just 3.5 hours a week. That’s the equivalent of a long lunch with a friend.
For many, it could be considered “me” time. It’s a great way to keep up with scores of people at once without having lengthy phone call and email exchanges. You may well find it is worth it.
30 minutes/day x 365 = 10,950 minutes = 182.5 hours = 7.6 full days without sleeping = an entire week of each year on Facebook
Now imagine you were on Facebook for an hour a day.
60 minutes/day x 365 = 21,900 minutes = 365 hours = 15.2 full days without sleeping = a half of a month on Facebook
Now that is something to think about.
And really, an hour a day on Facebook is a lot less time than most people spend on it.
Sure, we might have days when we’re on Facebook a lot, but if it averages out to an hour or so — or whatever number you are comfortable with — it may be fine for you.
What could you accomplish if you weren’t on Facebook so much?
It’s important to note: What else could you do with all of that time?
What short-term and long-term goals do you have?
Some of my easier goals have been to create digital photo albums for each child for each year.
I want to research a family vacation.
I’ve had a decades-old idea of writing a children’s book series.
Instead of secretary-spreading on Facebook, maybe I should take a walk and get healthier.
Looking around my home, I want to frame my children’s artwork and de-clutter. I have at least 20 friends I would love to call but who has the time?
There’s a lot I could do if I had two weeks worth or time, or even one week’s worth, given back to me.
So basically, think: Could I channel all of that time spent on Facebook into something else more tangible?
5. Next, think deep.
Sit and really think about what you are gaining from being on Facebook so much. Answer these questions:
- Is it an escape from whatever you should be doing?
- How do you feel when you are on Facebook?
- Do you find yourself following a certain person or people to see what they are doing each day?
- Is it fun and light-hearted for the most part?
- Do you find yourself seeing posts and getting upset? These could be people who annoy you or topics that bother you.
- Is your Facebook time taking away from your “presence” and involvement in real life, look-around-you-THIS-is-real-life moments?
- Is Facebook getting in the way of time with your children or work?
- Do you feel like if you don’t post, it looks like nothing good is happening in your life?
- What is the true cost of Facebook? How is it impacting your life?
6. Change your behavior slowly.
People have different Facebook habits. But like with anything, moderation is key.
To ultimately break my Facebook habit, I found it best to completely stop going on it for a few days in a row.
It was like a little game: How long could I stay off Facebook?
I did find it got easier when I stayed away completely.
Sometimes I make it 2 -3 days but then as soon as I do log on, I keep wanting to go back to check on conversations and to just procrastinate other things I should be doing.
For some Facebook users, it’s easier to take small efforts to make permanent changes.
Think about your personality and what might work best for you. If minimizing your time doesn’t work, plan to spend every other day off of Facebook.
7. Remember your goals.
If you don’t have any exciting goals, plans or dreams, make some!
Having something else to focus on will help you when you are starting to limit your time on Facebook.
Start planning a way to save or earn money for a dream vacation. Exercise. Read a book. Call someone who wouldn’t expect it. Surprise someone with a card or letter.
This works especially well when you have a plan in place. Think in advance about some things to do before going online so that when you have a few minutes, you will know what to do.
Remember: Even spending a few minutes less each day on Facebook will make a difference.
Breaking the Facebook habit
Some call it a Facebook addiction, but I consider it to be a Facebook habit.
Not only does it sound better, but it’s a more accurate description for most of us.
When we think of an addiction, it often involves something we need to avoid completely, like alcohol or drugs.
A habit is something that hasn’t taken over our lives, but we’d like to manage it better.
It would be difficult to avoid social media altogether, so taking steps to be more aware of how we use it, is a great way to minimize our time on it.
Facebook is amazing and truly a blessing in so many ways.
There is no way I could keep in touch with my 50 closest friends, let alone the hundreds of other friends and family members I probably wouldn’t ever have a lunch with or call on the phone, but I do wish them the best and enjoy seeing and supporting their journeys.
It’s just so important to be in the present with what is around you, especially when it comes to your kids. Enjoy them while you can.
You will have PLENTY of time for posting on Facebook when they are grown. (We can still brag about our kids when they are older!)
On social media too much? Let’s figure out a way to control our Facebook habit. Goodness knows, Facebook is here to stay.
What tricks have you used to stay off Facebook for a day or longer? How do you curb your social media habit?