A little over 12 months ago I stopped checking Facebook. Yep, after 10+ years as a loyal user it was time for a break. So I removed the app from my phone and stopped logging in from my computers.
Why on Earth would you do that, Ali?
There are several reasons I felt it was time for a break, but generally speaking, two main things pushed me to the brink:
1) Wasted Time/Productivity
For me, using facebook was a MASSIVE waste of time. I added up all the daily interactions using the app/site and realized I was spending A LOT of time on it. What seems like quick/random scrolling adds up when you do it 20 times per day! Add in the constant app/email notifications and you realize just how much time facebook takes from you. I’d be willing to bet it’s 1-2 hours per day for most of you.
Do the math and you’ll see how fast it adds up:
1 x 7 = 7 hours per week (364 hours per year)
2 x 7 = 14 hours per week (728 hours per year)
2) Needed Clarity/Focus
12 months ago I was also in a place with my life/businesses where I needed to really focus and find clarity on some things. Facebook did the exact opposite of that. Every time I logged in I was overwhelmed by noise and distraction. From the endless barage of baby pics (my current stage in life) to the random meme or viral video… the content I was consuming did nothing but fill my mind with junk.
It did not help me focus. It did not put me closer to my goals.
Great, so what results did the break yield?
For starters, leaving facebook was a gradual thing. I did not quit cold turkey. It took time to slowly ween off of it, especially after using it since its inception. I also had occasional check-ins required for some of my business pages (but zero personal use).
Once I “fully” left facebook there were a lot of noticeable side-effects:
I found myself with more time!
All of the sudden, there was nothing to do when I pulled out my phone or dropped a quick deuce. I got some time back! So I used that time to do other things like read and/or meditate.
I also made a lot of progress towards my business goals, and more importantly, got time back to spend with my wife and two children. We have a rule in our house now that removes phones from use after 5pm. Instead of scrolling through facebook feeds we play, sing, laugh and dance together. We do “real things” that don’t involve staring at a small screen.
This is time much better spent.
I found myself with less desire to know what people were doing.
Facebook is extremely good at keeping you “hooked” much like a soap opera. That’s how it’s designed. It gives you immediate info/feedback to satisfy your social craving – i.e. “What is everyone in my social circle doing right now?” If you don’t believe me, go read the book Hooked. You’ll learn all about how and why software companies build social networks. I also happen to be a software engineer, so you can take my word for it 😉
When I left, I slowly realized that I didn’t need this information non stop. The social craving I grew accustomed to was something facebook created in my life! In contrast, I now find my time with family/friends more meaningful than ever because I’m not aware of their every move/action. I can truly ask them, “What’s new in your life?” without having any real clue.
This sense of social interaction feels much better.
I found myself checking my phone less.
In case you aren’t aware, the world is experiencing an epidemic right now. I call it “phone-obia.” It’s a wide-spread disease that’s touched all 7 continents, demographics, races and age groups.
Common symptoms of phone-obia include:
- Pulling your phone out of your purse/pocket every 10 minutes.
- Checking your phone when you’re talking to someone.
- Using your phone to search anything [and everything] someone asks you about.
- Keeping your phone within 1 foot of you at all times.
- And the list goes on…
My case of phone-obia became much less severe when I got rid of facebook. I realized that facebook accounted for roughly 25% of my phone interactions, so using less of facebook resulted in using my phone less.
Using my phone less feels great. I strongly encourage you to do the same.
Ok. So… why the hell are you posting this on Facebook?
Great question! Why would I come back to something after telling you all that?!?
The main reason I’m coming back is to do exactly what I’m doing here – use facebook as a platform to publish content. I intend to blog more for personal and business use. Facebook is still a great way to promote that kind of content.
So look out for a lot more to come on:
- General Life Updates
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Ali is a father, husband and serial entrepreneur with a deep drive to create. He writes, records, codes and builds things to inspire the artist in all of us.