Friday, January 25, 2013

Facebook- Controlling It, Not Letting It Control You

 Limiting Facebook and Following a Schedule - Part One
As 2013 approached I realized I was in an ideal spot to instill some good habits in my life.  Everyone likes the idea of a fresh start.  That is why New Year's resolutions are so popular.  But I didn't want to say I wanted to change something on a whim and forget about it by February.  So I wrote down a list of habits I would like to make permanent in my life.  I wrote down twelve things and determined to work on one for each month.  And each habit would build on the next one.  So when each month ends, the habit I was working on would continue.

Why did I choose to limit Facebook?  Well, I am addicted to the stupid thing.  I go through withdrawals if I don't check it.  And I have even found myself "thinking in Facebook".  Which means, something interesting happens in my life and I consider how I would phrase the description of it on Facebook.  Sad, I know.
And I am spending time on Facebook that would be better spent taking care of the supposed priorities in my life. 
As the end of January gets closer I find myself a bit discouraged.  I had determined to only use Facebook in the evenings. I haven't been following that very well. So I sat down to analyze why I'm having trouble. Maybe this will help some of you who are also finding yourself distracted.  Not just by Facebook, but being online in general.

1. A phone is a phone is a phone...
We updated our phones this year and to my disappointment, ended up with smart phones.  Now, I love some aspects of the smart phone.  Like sharing pictures with family more easily.  But I do not love that I am now able to carry my distraction around with me.
So in order to combat this problem I have taken to plugging my phone into the charger, but not plugging the charger into the wall unless it actually needs to charge.  This reminds me to leave my phone where it's at unless I need it for a valid purpose.
I tried uninstalling the Facebook app too, but I like to share pictures with family on it so that didn't work out too well.

How's It Working?:
Better than I was but not as good as I want to be.  I still manage to end up with my phone in my hand or pocket and then without thinking about it I end up going on to just "check real quick".  I'm trying to make myself stop and analyze what I'm doing but some habits take time :)

2. Accountability
Let those around you know what you are up to so they can call you out when they see you sneaking onto Facebook outside of your specified times.  My husband knows and I did post a little blurb on my personal Facebook page at the beginning of the year (ironic, yes?).

How's It Working?:
I think I have kept it to myself a little more than is helpful.  If I really want some accountability I think I outright need to talk to my husband and others who can help in the formation of this habit.  I need to request that they actually say/write something to me to help encourage what I'm trying to do here. 

3. Identify the Times You Get Distracted 
-I use Facebook as a mental screen saver.  As in, I'm tired and don't want to think so I'm going to browse Facebook.

What to do?:
I can knit mug cozies!
I don't like to just sit and do nothing.  Even when I watch television, I want to be doing something. So I decided when I feel like I just need a moment to gather myself I will sit down and work on knitting or read a book.  So I stashed my knitting basket next to my favorite chair and gathered books that I am trying to read and placed them strategically around the house.  That way I actually accomplish something while I'm taking a break. What activities can you work on that are relaxing?

-I use Facebook as a time filler.  I may be between tasks or maybe not very motivated to do a certain task (dishes anyone?) so I go check Facebook for a minute until I figure out what I should be doing.  Sometimes I even tell myself I'll go read the FlyLady page to help myself get motivated.  I'm very good at deceiving myself... Pretty soon a large chunk of time has been wasted and I'm running even more behind.

What to do?:
I give myself mini-challenges instead.  Little tasks that can be accomplished quickly and make a noticeable difference.  Like clearing off the smallest counter in the kitchen.  Or picking up the baby toys in the living room.  These take approximately two minutes or less to do and help me get back in the groove of completing what's on my list.
Speaking of lists, I printed off a Housekeeping Schedule from The Time Warp Wife.  She has detailed info for cleaning on her website but the printable list is very simple and to the point.  And it closely matches how our house works.  So if I feel like I'm not sure what to do next I just go to the Daily Upkeep list or remind myself what task I am supposed to accomplish that day.  It's ridiculously simple but has been very helpful in making me more efficient with my time.

- I "read" Facebook instead of books.
I tend to use Facebook as a means of entertainment but unlike with a book there isn't really a good stopping point.  There is that idea that there might be something new or I should check just one more thing.  And I end up reading it for longer than I should.  So I now have a book handy to read while nursing the baby and uh.. in the bathroom.  (You know you've done it too.)

How's It Working?:
I can go outside!
I am definitely seeing improvements and will continue on with this plan.

4. Log Your Time
I started a log of how much time I spent on Facebook but I gave up mid-morning because it was so discouraging.  It wasn't a crazy amount of time but it just represented time that could have been spent creating something or time spent with family or just outside getting some fresh air.  The reality of how much time can be wasted was very sobering.  

How's It Working?:
It was helpful and eye opening.  It also made me think that when my children are grown and they think back on what sort of mom I was or what things remind them of me, I don't want them to picture me attached to my phone or computer.  That image is a very helpful reminder.

How about you?  Do you think Facebook is a problem?  How do you handle computer time?
I'll be sharing any tips and how our new schedule is working next time.

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