While you’re glued to your screen, unwilling to miss the next update from your social network, life is passing by. You fail to turn up to your yoga class, you are only half-present for your children and you miss out on precious sleep. Does this sound like you? Here’s how you can stop Facebook from taking over your life.
If you think it’s time to beat your Facebook addiction, the first thing to do is to commit. Think of all the ways that Facebook is affecting your life in a negative way and feel the pain. Imagine the wonderful things you can do with all the extra time you’re going to reclaim and how amazing you will feel. There’s no harm in exaggerating here, the more you engage your emotions, the more motivated you will be to make a change.
Then make a decision what will be a good alternative to your current habits. Taking a break from Facebook for a set period of time? Checking it once a day? Once a week? Never?
Step 2: Announce your commitment publicly
Let Facebook work for you. Tell your friends what you’re doing and ask them to support you. Just the power of public commitment will make you think twice before you engage on Facebook and if you don’t do what you said you were going to do, your friends will call you out.
Step 3: Take action
Sometimes willpower and no action (staying away from Facebook) is sufficient. Other steps you could take are: cancel your mobile internet, uninstall the Facebook app from your phone, unsubscribe from email notifications, use apps to block Facebook, deactivate your account. I let my mobile data plan expire while I was on an overseas holiday and I never renewed it when I got back. Now I can’t go on Facebook and I can’t send work-related emails when I’m at the playground with my kids, which has made me use my time much more efficiently when I’m in front of the computer at home.
If all this sounds too scary, here’s a word of comfort: it gets easier. No one’s dream is to sit in front of a screen and read Facebook updates. As you persist, you’ll find that you have more appreciation and more energy for the things that really matter.