I started my self-imposed Facebook hiatus two weeks ago. My goal was to live my life primarily offline. And I partially accomplished that.
The single most effective way that I eliminated the lure of reading and posting status updates was to remove the Facebook app from my iPhone.
I’ve read many studies on how to be more productive at work (don’t judge) and one suggestion that I see time and time again is to turn off your e-mail notifications and set aside a designated time during the day to read and respond to messages. Research shows what most of us already realize: if you bounce back and forth between tasks without concentrating on any one priority, your productivity suffers.
Gloria Mark of the University of California, Irvine, found that a typical office worker gets only 11 minutes between each interruption, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. (see Brain, Interrupted)
Removing myself from Facebook allowed me to narrow my focus on priorities like family, friends, getting enough rest, checking Twitter and watching “The Voice”. Hey, I never promised to be proud of all my results, but I am sharing them with you nevertheless.
I can honestly admit there were only three times during my 14-day hiatus when I felt lost without Facebook:
1. On Boss’s Day. I really wanted to post this update:
“My team gave me a bottle of wine, a Groupon for a massage and pedicure, tip money and a heartfelt handwritten card. I sent my boss an e-mail thanking him for being a good guy. I’m so glad I don’t have people like me reporting to me.”
2. The moment I realized I failed to remove my Facebook Messenger app. The little red number staring back at me from my iPhone indicated three people were trying to reach me. What life-altering news was I missing out on?!
3. When I resisted the urge to post a picture of a couple who were “working out” alongside the path on which I was walking. Let’s just say he flexed a lot and talked a good game (think: narcissistic personal trainer), while she was in full make-up, with her hair done, in a matchy-matchy spandex outfit (think: not me).
Overall, I am very happy with my self-control. I’m so satisfied that I have decided to not reinstall my mobile Facebook app. After all, I learned about Kanye proposing to Kim without it. I stayed on top of Obamacare’s website glitches. I even noticed one of my sons has blue eyes. Come on, that was funny.
It is possible to stay connected without reading everyone’s newsfeeds. I’m treating Facebook like dessert from this point forward – everything in moderation.
Heidi Woodard is a working-mom with three children.
Read her Thursdays on momaha.com
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