You're ready to stop wasting time on Facebook!
You don't have to be productive every minute of every day, but do you wonder where your time goes?
Do you spend weeks not making any progress towards your entrepreneur or weight loss goals? Does it feel like you don't have time to grow your business, exercise, or do important things for your work-life balance? Time spent on mildly entertaining social media, especially Facebook, is a great place to check.
If you're ready to stop wasting time on Facebook, we'll review the most common tendencies, look at why you do it, and give you a Gameplan to reclaim an average of 38 minutes per day, so you can spend more time on what's important. You'll be glad to be on your path to leading the healthy, fulfilling life of your dreams!
"Really glad I was on Facebook today."- No one
How much time do we spend on social media?
In 2018, Emarketer said the average daily time spent using social media in the US was 114 minutes- just under two hours. That's a 26-hour paycheck from a part-time job, nearly 29 days - 693 hours- per year. How many years have you been using social media? Is that too much time?
38 minutes per day were on Facebook. 74% of adult users saying they visited Facebook daily, with more than half (51%) saying they visited the platform multiple times a day.
Why do we waste so much time on Facebook?
Ready to spend less time on Facebook? Key steps to changing a behavior are understanding:
- How it functions for you (attention, escape, wanting an object or idea, sensory experience, etc.) and
- What makes it easier/more efficient than other things you can do instead.
You open Facebook unconsciously at this point, so we'll come back to point 1 later.
2. Facebook has world-class designers and engineers making their app rewarding and extremely easy to use.
You use Facebook "for free," but you literally pay attention, which is how they charge companies to serve you ads. You may notice that nearly every 5th post on your newsfeed is sponsored, applying perfectly to businesses' 80:20 principle for effective, unobtrusive advertising.
I use Facebook ads. Some of my clients are people and companies whose whole career is ads based on your browsing and shopping habits. Don't hate the player; just know when you're playing the game.
The psychology behind Facebook
Facebook uses intermittent, inconsistent rewards, aka variable schedules, to get you to stay on the platform as long as possible. Research shows variable schedules result in the most instances of the behavior than any other schedule- meaning you keep opening your app and scrolling. Unfortunately in this case, it also makes habits harder to break.
How Facebook feels so rewarding
Your brain gets a rush of rewarding dopamine every time you do something it perceives will help you survive. Food, sex, and drugs notoriously stimulate this pathway. Allegedly and probably, simulated social connection from social media also stimulates this pathway- so much that psychiatrists are interested in how Facebook is habit-forming.
- Notifications- Right when you open the app, you have a bright red note showing something you're most likely to interact with. More if you get a pop up, vibration or tone on your phone, or even your watch!
- Emotionally engaging content is the most shareable. Your relationships with content creators reward them for things that make you laugh, nostalgic, proud, outraged, and/or feel connected. You also create free content (a casual note with big implications).
- "The Algorithm" shows you things and people you are most likely to interact with based on your previous interactions. It's not the newspaper- engagement and participation keeps you locked in.
- Easy to scroll- You access endless, stimulating information with a swipe of your thumb. No clothes, adventure, risk, money, or motivation needed.
- Customized- You delete people who post nonsense and mark irrelevant ads so you see MORE engaging, easy-to-scroll content you want.
Comment below if you know what I'm talking about! So now you're ready to see...
How much time do you waste on Facebook?
- Open your Facebook app
- Go to the menu (the 3 lines in the top right)
- Scroll down to and open "Settings & Privacy"
- Open "Your Time on Facebook"
Is there something you'd rather do with that time? I'm not a hustle and grind 24/7, #teamnosleep, you-have-to-be-productive-all-the-time coach; breaks are crucial to work-life balance. At the same time, part of my mission is to inspire confident ownership of your path to freedom and fitness.
There is an opportunity cost of time- basically, anything you choose to do in a moment, you are saying no to dozens of other things you could be doing then. For example, each moment you spend road-raging about traffic costs you the opportunity to jam out to your playlist.
What have you been meaning to do, but don't have time for?
- Your most important goals
- Spending more time with family
- Your reading list
- Starting your weight loss journey:
22 minutes of physical activity a day reduces anxiety, boosts sleep, productivity, and thinking, and helps you lose weight. The health.gov guidelines recommend 150 minutes of activity per week.
The thing is, these things take more effort than a couple touches on your phone. It helps to break your goals into smaller pieces. You... might even have to get dressed.
If you want accountability in a sustainable weight loss Gameplan, contact me!
So the question becomes, "Is an added challenge worth the more rewarding result?"
If you're ready to reclaim your time, Maxine Waters, you're wondering
How to stop wasting time on Facebook- 7 tips!
- Move the app to a different part of your phone- a different screen, or uninstall it altogether. More on this later.
- Set a daily time reminder on the "Your Time on Facebook" screen. Pick something realistic that you will actually close the app when it pops up- you'll be surprised if you attempt a dramatic change!
- Change your notifications. Do you need alerts for updates from friends, groups, fundraisers, etc.? Fewer notifications means fewer interruptions from important things
- Get an app like Screen Time that lets you limit your time in specific apps
- Minimize time scrolling the newsfeed. It never ends. With all the things mentioned above, you're virtually guaranteed to find something to entertain you or comment on. Then it's harder to break away.
- Set rules on when you will and will not use Facebook, or any social media
- Tell someone your plans for using Facebook less. Building accountability and finding support help a bunch!
It's nearly impossible to "quit" something; you actually replace behaviors.
You want a go-to replacement action for when you would've ordinarily used Facebook.
If you have a big, daunting goal, break it down into short, simple, actions. The more specific and clear your action, the more likely you are to do it when you have a spare moment.
Next, set up your environment so it's easy to do your replacement action. For example:
You've got 4 books you've been meaning to get around to.
- Estimate how helpful the info from the books will be once you read them.
- Pick one, and set a realistic date to read it by.
- Count how many pages per day you'll have to read to finish it by that date. Estimate how long it will take you to read that many pages each day, or set a daily time goal.
- Keep the book handy- you can get an e-book to read on your phone (put that app where your Facebook app used to be), or an audiobook.
- When you go to open Facebook, open the app and take steps toward your goals instead. Two paragraphs is better than all those days with 0 paragraphs!
Now, we're ready to learn why you waste time on Facebook
Back to key step #1 of changing behaviors- understanding how it functions for you.
Whenever you eventually notice your app isn't where it usually is- STOP!
First, bring your awareness to right now.
What are you doing or about to start? What did you just finish? How do you feel? Where are you?
Perhaps you are waiting in line, or got stuck doing something and decide to take a break. Were you about to start something harder than Facebook? It doesn't take much!
Some of the most common reasons people do anything are seeking attention; escaping perceived pain (including boredom or a challenge); or wanting an object/ experience/ idea. Sometimes, it's a habit that used to be work well, but now doesn't fit your current goals or life.
I found that after doing other things on my phone, I would do a "quick check" to see what's going on. It may have been helpful at some point, but I was glad to stop wasting time on Facebook.
Second, is it a good time to do your go-to replacement action?
If not, pick a replacement that will be effective for what you were looking to Facebook for:
- Bored- engage people and things in your environment. Change your scenery. Go for a quick walk, or look out the window
- Challenged- remind yourself why what you're about to do is important. Stand up, stretch, and/or take a walk for confidence-building energy for your next step.
- Tired- when's the last time you took a break? Taking a stretch/walk break restores circulation and gives you an energizing boost that will be more refreshing than Facebook. Have you been getting enough rest at night?
- Lonely- say an affirmation, "I am ___," or "I [verb]" that makes me feel empowered and successful. There may be a time and place to use social media for validation, but you need the skills to do it yourself. Your essence and value do not depend on what others think of you.
Third, take ownership and actively choose what you do next.
Would doing your replacement action right now be a more valuable use of your time? Think about why you wanted to stop wasting time on Facebook in the first place. Do you truly want to build the habit of opening the app in a different place, when Facebook takes so much of your time?
Overall, it's okay if you choose to use Facebook, as long as it doesn't violate the rules you set for yourself, and you are conscious and in agreement with your choice.
How to know you're spending less time on Facebook
You want to celebrate how effectively you've reclaimed your time! So check the "Your Time on Facebook" page after one week to compare your average over the last 7 days. If you've followed the steps, you'll see an impressive decrease in your Facebook use!
If you haven't seen a change, check your action when your reminder timer pops up. New habits take practice! Try picking more inspiring replacement actions, or breaking your important goals into even smaller pieces.
If you didn't tell or update people about your plans to stop wasting time on Facebook, you may not have had the support you need.
Finally, if you're really struggling to use Facebook and social media less, you're not the only one. It's not just about mental toughness; after all, Facebook addiction is a point of research. Getting a supportive counselor, or using resources for people recovering from addictions can be the push you need to refocus your time towards things you find most important.
Facebook and social media are valuable tools to stay connected with our communities, friends, and family. However, it's important to keep them in perspective as your strive to lead the healthy, fulfilling life of your dreams.