Monday, January 30, 2017

Facebook Intervention

It all started back at the end of December when this little thing popped up on my newsfeed. This innocuous looking video about my year. A nice little trip down memory lane...or so I thought.

Facebook Year in Review Video

You see, I did enjoy my year, and I enjoyed seeing highlights from it. However, my stomach started knotting up when I saw that in a matter of 365 days I had "liked" 9,758 things on Facebook. Yes. NINE THOUSAND things!!!! I quickly picked my jaw up off the floor and popped up the calculator on my phone. Some quick math revealed that I had liked an average of about 27 things each day in the year 2016. Y'all...twenty. seven. things. each. day!!!

I was disgusted with myself. I realized that I had a problem. I thought, "Oh my gosh. I am addicted to Facebook." Then I thought, "No I'm not....let me google addiction...I'm sure I'm not technically addicted." My search turned up the following:



So there it was in plain writing. Sadly I had to admit that definition number two described my behavior perfectly. I began thinking of all the time I had wasted on Facebook throughout the the year. Time that I didn't even realize I was wasting. Yet here were the numbers glaring at me while some nice music played in the background. How much sleep had I lost because I wasted time scrolling on Facebook instead of going to bed? How much stress had I needlessly added to my life by scrolling on Facebook instead of planning for the next day, doing the laundry, doing the dishes? And most importantly and most heartbreaking was had my addiction affected my relationships with my family and with God? How much of my daughter's lives had I missed out on each day while I "liked" those 27 things? Because if I'm being truly honest here...I didn't always wait until they were in bed to scroll through Facebook. How often could I have been more engaged with my husband instead of scrolling through Facebook? How often could I have spent time in prayer and reading God's word instead of scrolling through Facebook?

I realized I wanted to do something to make things different in 2017, but I didn't know what exactly to do. Deleting my Facebook account would be the easy answer, but I knew I didn't want to get off of Facebook completely because I enjoy being able to have a digital scrapbook so to speak, and I enjoy seeing what my friends are up to and sharing in the joys of their lives. I just needed some sort of way to get control over my habit. I was racking my brain for a solution, and I decided to turn off all the notifications on my Facebook App in hopes that it would help. And I vowed to myself that I wouldn't go on Facebook as much. I'll let you guess well that worked.

Eventually through lots of conversations about my problem with lots of different people I came up with a solution. I deleted the Facebook App off of my phone. I still have my account; however, it takes a conscious, concerted, and purposeful effort on my part to log in and look at things on Facebook. I have no more dinging reminders, notifications, or red circles on top of the app icon beckoning me to come and see what kinds of comments people have posted on my pictures or how many likes I have on my status. Not that I don't enjoy seeing the comments or likes, but sadly I don't have the self control it takes to look quickly and leave.

So why does this matter? Why did I waste time to write a blog about it? Because I wanted to share my story in hopes that it might help someone else who doesn't even realize how much Facebook is making them miss out on life. Maybe that someone is you. Maybe not, but I challenge you to take a look at the way you use your time. It might not be Facebook at all. Maybe there is something else in your life that is a "time suck." Is there something that causes you to waste hours and hours of your life while offering very little in return? If so, do something about it. Make a plan and stick to it. I promise you'll be amazed at the difference you see in your life.

This past weekend marks the second week I've been without Facebook on my phone. I've only been on the actual Facebook website twice in two weeks, and it has been such a freeing experience. It's sad to say, but Facebook had such a strong grip on me that I had become a slave to the notifications. I tried turning off all the dings and all of the notifications before I finally the deleted the app, but just seeing the red circle on top of the app icon with the number of notifications I had was drawing me to the app like a moth to a flame. Not feeling that pressure to see what was going on has been great. Really, you should give it a try.

My first step was admitting that I had a problem. Then I came up with a solution. Now I am basking in the joy of my success. These days when I want to post pictures or share things to Facebook I do it through Instagram. I'm not sure why, but Instagram doesn't have the same effect on me that Facebook does. I can take it or leave it. I can go on to post a picture and leave without a problem.  It doesn't suck me in causing me to suddenly look up from my phone and realize that 45 minutes of my life have passed. I do still go on Facebook, but only once a week on the weekend after my girls are asleep. I thought that I'd eagerly anticipate that one day each week when I allow myself to go on Facebook, but I've found that I don't miss it nearly as much as I thought I would. I'd say my personal Facebook intervention was a success.