Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tips for limiting your time on Facebook

I have an ongoing battle with Facebook.  I have blogged about it before, set boundaries and failed.  I might be like that friend who says she's going on a diet again, but I need encouragement, not criticism!  I wanted to summarize my issues {as previously blogged with edits} and then go over some tips to help others streamline their time on this ever popular but big time waster that is known as Facebook.
{Disclosure:  I am fully aware that not everyone who is on Facebook has this struggle, but in talking to friends, I know for sure that I am not alone!  This is for those of you who are looking for ideas to curb your time online!}

FACEBOOK CONSTANTLY ON MY BRAIN
I wake up with Facebook on my mind.  I check throughout the day.  And it's the last thing I do before I go to bed.  And each day I tell myself I won't be on the computer as much and I'll get XYZ done but then I use it as a reward (as Lysa mentioned she did with food in her book "Made to Crave").  
I can even fool myself and go days without using it but then I give in to my cravings.  

I JUSTIFY IT  
I use it as an escape when the kids are misbehaving.  
I use it as comfort when Jay is away.  
(Just like some people do with food.)
And I make excuses that it's ok!

BUT THIS IS ABOUT MORE THAN THE AMOUNT OF TIME I'M ONLINE 
  • I confess that I get defensive when people post political or anti-Christian stuff.  Most of it is misleading and misrepresents how I am truly living my life and I can't stand being misjudged, never mind offending the God whom I serve.
  • I get annoyed by the clutter on the newsfeed.  I don't want to see what people are commenting and liking on other profiles as nosy as I can be.  ;o)
  • I despise cursing or indecent pics on there.  I have children over my shoulder and don't want them to see things that are inappropriate.  
  • I worry about my own reputation.  It's hard to balance the good and the bad.  I don't want to vent my frustrations and sound like I complain too much and I don't want to be seen as someone who brags.  I put too much thought into what I post sometimes.
  • People get my updates and feel connected to me but I have no clue what's going on with them.  Thus creating one-sided relationships.
  • I'm afraid that if I don't comment on friends' statuses or pics, they will think I don't care.  This sounds irrational but I really struggle with this!
  • I sometimes get envious seeing people with their family because I miss mine.

SELF-DISCIPLINE
Lysa says:  "I'm not on a diet.  I'm on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness." (p.158)  She learned to consume proper portions to enable her body to function properly.  I feel the same way.  I'm not intending to do a Facebook diet and quit for awhile.  I'm making realistic changes that can be a new way of life.  I'm literally having mild anxiety over this because it's shameful and I don't even want to confess how great my need to do this is.  But I know I have to.  God has brought this issue before me in the past and I just excused it away.  I want to live life better and more intentionally.



MY "RULES" FOR FACEBOOK DIDN'T WORK LAST YEAR
Last year {Jan 2013} I blogged my struggles and said that I was trying to find a healthy balance.   What I was doing back then did not work and was not sustainable because I enjoy reading people's updates and looking at photos.  It's hard to NOT ever go on!  Slowly through 2013, I started slipping again and didn't even realize how much time I was wasting again.  I was finally pulled out of my funk after reading the book Women Living Well in October.  I prayed about how to best use Facebook.  And the answer I came up with is that:

I CAN NOT HAVE THE TIMELINE BE A PART OF MY DAILY LIFE

Again, it's just not the time online, it's about how I feel too!  So I came up with FACEBOOK FRIDAY... the day I read the timeline/newsfeed, catch up on friend's photos and can comment away to my heart's content.  This new strategy is really working well for me!  Through the rest of the week, I do use the inbox and groups because that's how I connect with the ladies in my bible study.

Everyone has a different story so I wanted to share an overview of some different tips to help streamline my time online.  I hope this might be useful!



TIP #1
Delete the app off your phone!  When it was on my phone, I found myself randomly clicking and surfing without even realizing it!  This is especially important when I am out and about.  I want to be aware of the people around me and not have my head down making me look unapproachable or uninterested in others.

TIP #2
On my home computer, I have bookmarked the Facebook Groups section so that is my landing page and I avoid the newsfeed/timeline.

TIP #3
Use LISTS to categorize the people you know!  I moved around a lot so I put people in lists based on where I met them.  My hometown, Toronto, Ottawa, military friends, local friends, etc.  My two most important lists are CLOSE FRIENDS and FAMILY.  When you post a status update, you can limit who can see it!  This is especially good for photos and videos.


TIP #4
Not only can you limit who sees your stuff, you can limit whose newsfeed/timeline you read too!  If you click on the lists on the left, the newsfeed/timeline for that list will appear.  You can then edit who is in that list by the menu on the top right: "Manage list".

TIP #5
And to further edit, you can decide what you want to see in that feed!  {You can only do that in lists, not on your "home page" newsfeed/timeline of Facebook that includes all your friends.}  

I prefer status updates and photos so avoid wasting time scrolling through things that I don't want to see, like games or their comments on other people's stuff.  


TIP #6
Since I am not reading the timeline through the week, a helpful feature is turning the notification on for someone when I don't want to miss their posts.  You have to click on the friend's profile and then select the menu option from there.  {I have used this feature in the past but it's not on right now.  Only rare and special occasions so I can stay off the timeline/newsfeed but stay up-to-date on a special situation like when someone is expecting a baby or someone is in surgery!}


TIP #7
You can turn notifications on and off for whole lists too.  Let the updates come to you, rather than you constantly checking Facebook.

TIP #8
When it's Facebook Friday, I can change what I see on my homepage timeline from "top stories" to "most recent".  I just learned of this and was getting annoyed that I was seeing the same things over and over.  It was because they weren't chronological so this might help you too!

TIP #9
Again on Facebook Friday, I love to leave lots of comments for friends.  Just yesterday a friend posted this amazing spice rack her husband built!  I commented on it but I don't need a notification every time her other friends comment on it. I manually went in and selected "stop notifications" so I don't constantly get lured back to Facebook.  I often do this to photos and statuses I comment on.


TIP #10
I get all my Facebook notifications by email.  From my Yahoo inbox, I click on the top item and open it.  I have it set so that when I hit delete, the next email opens.  I can easily read my messages without even going to Facebook.  This is how I see stuff I am tagged in through the week!  You can even reply if needed straight from email!  This is a great tool if you are too tempted and want to avoid logging into Facebook directly!

TIP #11
To get through cutting back, I emailed my sister any time I had status update or photo to share.  She was my go to person and really supported me.  You need to have someone hold you accountable and be there when you are adjusting, lonely or just craving that time online!  Replace it with a real life person!

TIP #12
I love to blog and share updates on Facebook.  To avoid the timeline, I use my Twitter account.  It links directly to Facebook!  But be careful not to replace Facebook with another online social site!  I use Twitter only for local news and to follow a handful of my favorite and encouraging bloggers.

TIP #13
Write out your "to do" list so when you find you have "time to kill", look at that and do something on it!  I have photo projects and journaling to do so that's what I've been finally getting around to working on!

I hope some of these things will encourage someone!  I pray that more people would examine their lives and see if this is a struggle they too have!  Life is a gift and our days are numbered.  I want to live mine well and without regret!!

Please feel free to pass this one if you find it helpful!
Thanks for swinging by!


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