If you are the kind of person to occasionally stop and think about your daily routine, chances are that you have realized that social media (particularly Facebook) has got you addicted to some extent. We spend a considerable part of our day going through our Facebook feed multiple times, reading status updates from half-forgotten classmates or relatives you wouldn’t want to sit next to at a wedding. The impulse to check that latest Facebook notification can overpower you at office or during a study session. If you are looking to combat your addiction, there is a rather simple trick to it; switch from Facebook app to Facebook web on your smartphone.
Avoiding Facebook completely is easier said than done, but you don’t have to take such a drastic measure straightaway. The simple solution is to just delete the Facebook app from your smartphone. You can still use FB from your computer or the browser on your phone even if that doesn’t seem a lot different from the app. This seemingly minor change can help you stay away from Facebook for longer periods of time, and give you lots of free time. In addition to that, the Facebook app isn’t good for your phone’s battery life and switching to using it on web helps with that as well.
The worst thing Facebook addiction does to you is eating up your attention span. As someone who has regularly used Facebook for up to 4 hours each day, I can confirm that Facebook has the capability to keep you coming back for more than 20 times daily, and each session can last from anywhere between a few minutes to over an hour. Facebook makes it increasingly difficult to even focus on things you love, like reading or playing video games. You can very well imagine the damage it does to more productive endeavors, or your work routine.
How does Facebook get you addicted?
It is by design rather than chance that Facebook has such a dedicated and loyal user-base. The insanely popular social networking site has a world class marketing team, strategists, and even psychologists working for it. The app and site both are made to keep people using it for hours. The app especially is extremely easy to use and has a rather uncomplicated set of features.
It took FB some time to perfect the newsfeed, but it is now nearly there. Using Artificial Intelligence, your newsfeed is tailored for you based on your interests and past activities. Lately, people have started getting prompted by Facebook to post about the location they are in, or about a cricket / football match that is going on right now. This increases user engagement, which is the ultimate goal of having an ever-aware newsfeed. Every time you post a new update, or comment on a friend’s update, you start receiving notifications, which leads you back to the app and the newsfeed, and the sessions keep piling up.
You might think that I am being unfair to Facebook, as there are a lot of other social sites and apps that follow the same pattern. However, you aren’t likely to spend hours on Snapchat or Instagram. Most people simply open these apps for a few minutes and then carry on with their day. Twitter is closer to Facebook in user engagement, but Facebook’s influence on a Pakistani audience is far greater, and hence it is a bigger problem.
3 simple tricks to restore attention span
As soon as the charm of my new Oppo phone started wearing off earlier this year, I realized there is much more to life than the same, old Facebook and Candy Crush apps. Even after I uninstalled some news apps and a few games, I couldn’t stop myself from coming back to Facebook repeatedly. When I wasn’t on Facebook, one notification or another was always there lure me back to the phone. I knew I had to do something about it, and get my attention span back. These are the 3 seemingly simple steps you can take to amend matters.
- Get rid of as many push notifications as you can. Of course, you will have to keep getting notified of incoming calls, SMS, or direct messages landing in your inbox on any messenger (Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook). This serves the purpose of regaining control over your routine of checking your phone. It is up to you to decide which app is really important for you, but make sure the number of apps allowed to send you push notifications doesn’t exceed 5.
- Keep your phone as far away from yourself as possible, whenever possible. This applies to your workplace, dining table, and especially in bed. If your phone is at the far side of the room and you hear the notification ding, your inner procrastinator is likely to stop you from going over and checking it.
- Frequently use the Quiet Hours or Do Not Disturb mode (depending on whether you have an Android or an iPhone). Even if you have a lot of notifications disabled, using this mode is still helpful in avoiding distractions from the unusual suspects.
I am sure that incorporating the above steps into your smartphone usage habits, and uninstalling Facebook, will allow you to have a more productive time and you will notice a positive impact on your personal and professional life within a month.
Awais Imran is an Internet entrepreneur by profession, and a writer by passion. He enjoys sharing insights on personal growth, design and entrepreneurship.