The following is a guest post from Grayson Pope.
You know what it’s like. That overwhelming desire to check Facebook. Maybe you got a new message, or maybe someone wrote on your wall.
So, of course, you check it.
Well, that cost is becoming more and more clear as the numbers develop and our online habits are studied.
In a word, the cost is simple — time. And it may be more time than you think.
That’s why I recently deleted my Facebook app and took back my productivity.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
The statistics on the amount of time people spend on Facebook are staggering:
- Each day, Facebook users worldwide spend 10.5 billion minutes (almost 20,000 years!) on the social network
- Facebook users in the United States spend on average 20 minutes and 46 seconds per day on the site
- On average, users spend 6 hours and 35 minutes per month on the network (this doesn’t even include the time spent accessing Facebook on mobile devices)
- 50 percent of smartphones are connecting to Facebook every hour of every day
What’s not included in the statistics is what I call the “transition time,” which is the time it takes you to shift your focus from Facebook back to what you were doing.
These numbers allude to how pervasive Facebook is in our lives. In fact, we spend most of our time online on the social media giant.
But is it really that big of a deal?
For me it was.
How Facebook Killed My Productivity
Since the smartphone revolution, you always have your phone and you always have your apps.
My Android phone was loaded with the Facebook app like everyone else’s – along with Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest. (I’m a blogger, so I may be connected to more social networks than the average person.)
But I found myself checking one app more than all the others. Yep, Facebook.
It was literally a time warp for me. I would open it up to check something or look at a particular profile, then 20 minutes later it was like I hadn’t even blinked! And that was happening multiple times per day.
I was forgetting portions of meetings, not paying attention to my wife when she was talking, and finding myself far less productive. All for updates that seem increasingly poor in quality.
I decided I couldn’t live this way any longer. Successful people, especially those who are successful online, have discipline in their lives. Social media is the new frontier for that discipline.
So I decided to do an experiment.
What Happened When I Deleted My Facebook App
Over 2 months ago, I upgraded to a new phone. I downloaded all my normal apps except for Facebook. I wanted to see just how much of my productivity was being lost to it.
Turns out it was quite a bit.
I don’t have a way to quantify the results, but I did come to some interesting conclusions.
Before going on, it’s important to note I don’t think Facebook in general is a bad idea. I’m a blogger, as I said earlier, so I use it to build my platform and garner influence. It was the incessant checking that drove me away from the app itself.
After living without Facebook on my phone for over 2 months, these are the benefits I see in it for everyone:
- Life goes on without it. You can actually survive without your Facebook app!
- When limited to the desktop version, you may spend more minutes on it at a time, but you won’t be interrupting face-to-face time with those around you because you’re checking your phone all the time.
- You’ll notice the dissipation of that underlying urge to check your updates. I can’t tell you how nice this is.
- You can be far more productive in a given window when you’re not compelled to check your updates.
It’s been more than 2 months since I’ve had the Facebook app, and I can’t say I miss it. Actually, it’s been one of the best technology decisions I’ve made in a long time.
Question: Do you think I’m crazy? Is using the Facebook app that big of a deal?
About Grayson Pope: Grayson is a Christ-follower, husband, and father, right in the middle of his story. But mostly he’s just a parched soul in search of God’s Living Water. You can follow Grayson on his blog and Twitter.
Photo Credit: Mike Towber (Creative Commons)
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