A friend of mine wrote up a very interesting experiment of going cold turkey with Facebook.* I recommend you go read it for yourself. To his list of findings I’d like to add some tricks I’ve discovered myself to curb Facebook (and more generally ‘information stream’) usage and found useful:
- One way to get rid of the stream is to simply “hide” everyone’s updates from your main page – a bit cumbersome when you have hundreds of friends, but very effective. However, I’ve found that for me personally that is too hardcore. Sometimes I want the distraction of the Facebook stream. So I use this half-way solution instead: primo, assign all your friends to 1-2 different lists (for a total of 5-10). Secondo, you hide everybody’s updates from your main page. Remember, you can still surf to people’s Facebook page if you really want to know what they’re up to…which is surprisingly less often then your usual Facebook usage would suggest!
- Delete Facebook from your mobile phone. Yes, you can still access it via the browser, but everything you do to make this access less easy results in less checking. Plus it ensures you don’t get push notifications, which suck you back in faster than the speed of light. Which leads us to…
- …switch off Internet on your phone entirely. Make it the default, so you don’t have to think about it. In fact, this will curb WhatsApp and Internet usage in general. Best yet: leave your phone at home sometimes!
- If you have a Mac: install Anti-Social (if not: install your operating’s system equivalent). This program blocks access to a whole range of social and news websites for a period of time you specify, e.g. 8a.m.-5p.m. If you can’t reach your precious streams without rebooting your computer, you’ll think about it (and hopefully decide against it), rather than typing those two ‘fa’ letters and hitting “Return” (which bring you directly to Facebook) and then it’s too late..
- And finally, remove yourself from screens whenever possible. When you’re sitting behind a computer the whole day, it’s difficult to not feel the urge to go to Facebook and the like. Print stuff out if possible (especially PDFs), have a book beside your desk (instead of reading fluffy blog posts and news articles), take a walk when your mind is wandering from your work, etc.