How to avoid wasting time on Facebook

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He thinks that Facebook is just another way for blowing “off work you should be doing.” I think he may be partially right. I have spent so much time in the past week playing addictive games on Facebook, that productivity has decreased significantly. I have been working long hours but much of that is due to the fact that so many hours have been wasted on Facebook.

While Facebook is probably the best social network for maintaining relationships, I am starting to see a value behind a site like LinkedIn. Holding true to the KISS model (keep it simple stupid), LinkedIn provides me with little distraction items. On the other hand, I log in to Facebook and am immediately sucked in by my hundreds of friends who are constantly updating their profiles. Then to get a break from my quick update on friendly news, I click on one of the games that I have installed on my account.

What’s funny though is that most of the time people seem to be spending on Facebook (let alone the internet) are on tools that allow them to waste time. Perhaps this is why Facebook will continue to be successful. Are you spending most of your time on Facebook on addictive games or are you actually being productive?

How to Avoid Wasting Time on Facebook


1. Ignore requests. When someone sends you a request, you may not be able to see the full details of the request. You may wonder if it’s important, or interesting. But if you really just want to check out the networks and not get completely into the more frivolous activities (playing vampires and werewolves, for example) then don’t feel you have to respond to those requests. They do take time.

* Leave a note (in your status, on your “wall…”) that explains you often won’t reply to most requests.
* Remember, a lot of Facebook applications send requests to all friends by default, so your friends may not really be expecting you to respond.
* On your “confirm requests” page, you don’t have to click “ignore” on every request. Scan the page, see if there’s anything of value – e.g. any old friends you’re happy to hear from – and after you’ve approved them, click “Ignore all” near the top right.
2. Stop the constant emails:

* Click settings (top right) and choose Account settings, then the Notifications. Switch most of the options to “off”. You may have to click Show more at the bottom to select for all applications, and you may need to do this again when you add new applications.
* Alternatively, use an email filter so you don’t get distracted by frequent emails from Facebook. Just go to the site regularly enough to catch stuff that you are interested in. Check the requests and notifications on the site itself – if you’re a few days late it generally won’t matter.

o Simple filter example: filter out anything from E.g. if you use Gmail, make a filter and for “From:” enter, and in the next step choose “Skip the Inbox (Archive it)”.
o You might make an exception for emails for certain types of notifications, e.g. with the text added you as a friend on Facebook, if you don’t want to risk missing friend requests. E.g. in Gmail, when you’re setting up the filter, for “Doesn’t have:” enter “added you as a friend on Facebook”. (You can add more than one phrase using OR and putting quotes around each complete phrase.)
3. Avoid games and third-party applications (apps). Playing games, decorating your profile, and rating your friends will suck up your time before you know it.

4. Go offline chat. You’re about to log out of Facebook, then a good pal of yours sends you an IM. You’ll stay on to chat for a while, and before you know it you decide to look at some pictures, explore some groups, and there goes another hour. To avoid getting IMed, click on the Chat button in the bottom right corner and choose “Go Offline.” This way no friends can IM you. Lots of time can be wasted on Facebook if you’re waiting for a friend to reply to a message you sent. So don’t feel the need to stay logged on after sending a friend a message or a Wall post, either. You’ll reply next time you go on.

5. Bring a timer with you to the computer. Whether it’s the timer on your watch, or an actual kitchen timer that “dings” when the time is up, make it a habit to start the clock as soon as you get on Facebook, and get off as soon as your time is up. Fifteen minutes might be a healthy amount of time to spend on a Facebook session.
* If you use Firefox, you can use the LeechBlock add-on to track your time spent on and kick you off after a period of time you specify.
* Also, instead of habitually going on Facebook as part of your routine, set incentives for yourself before going on. This is a good idea if you find yourself ending up on Facebook when you’re supposed to be working. Like “I’ll allow myself to go on for 15 minutes after I finish this assignment” or “I’ll look at those new pictures after I finish this chore.” Also consider having a temporary, password-protected internet filter for on while you’re working. Give the password to a trusted family member or roommate, and ask them to activate it before you begin and deactivate it after you’re finished.
6. If all else fails, quit Facebook.


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