Have you felt like you just can't get off of Facebook, and the hours just fly by without you getting much done?
You're not alone, millions of people experience Facebook addiction.
It almost ridiculous that something seemingly so innocuous could have such a powerful draw, but Facebook addiction can be a major contributor to procrastination.
The momentary rush we get from opening Facebook and seeing those little red notification icons on the top corner of the page has a drug like effect.
"Do I have any notices? I'll just logon and check"¦"
If you're like me, then you'll know that stopping this impulsive behavior is not easy. The obvious and most permanent solution is to deactivate your account, but many people also use Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends who live far away.
The next best solution: Employ the activation energy principle.
Activation energy is a concept I first heard about in a book called "The Happiness Advantage." The author Shawn Achor, presents a story about learning to play his guitar:
"…those 20 seconds of extra effort it took to walk to the closet and pull out the guitar had proved to be a major deterrent. I had tried to overcome this barrier with willpower, but after only four days, my reserves were completely dried up. If I couldn't use self-control to ingrain the habit, at least not for an extended period, I now wondered: What if I could eliminate the amount of activation energy it took to get started?
Clearly, it was time for another experiment. I took the guitar out of the closet, bought a $2 guitar stand, and set it up in the middle of my living room. Nothing had changed except that now instead of being 20 seconds away, the guitar was in immediate reach."¦
What I had done here, essentially, was put the desired behaviour on the path of least resistance, so it actually took less energy and effort to pick up and practice the guitar than to avoid it. I like to refer to this as the 20-Second Rule, because lowering the barrier to change by just 20 seconds was all it took to help me form a new life habit."
Activation energy is the extra energy or time it takes to do something.
In Shawn's example, the extra energy came from having to go to his closet and get the guitar out. This is a barrier, even though extremely small, but significant enough to stop someone from doing what they want to do.
In the case of Facebook addiction you can harness the power of activation energy and use it to your advantage. Instead of removing small barriers, you'll want to create barriers to make it more time consuming or difficult to indulge in this bad habit.
These are all simple methods you can use right now to disconnect your brain from Facebook so you can focus more on things that matter.
If you're always logged in then it's is far too easy and tempting to avoid. It only takes a second after all, so the trick is to expand that second by logging out. Do it right now and you'll notice how much less enticing Facebook is since you will have to log back in every time.
2. Delete your login information
The next deterrent that will add more activation energy to get into Facebook is deleting your login information. This hassle will make it that much more unappealing to randomly browse your news feed for no good reason.
3. Remove Icons
Just like logging out, removing icons will make it a little more time consuming to get back in. Remove icons on your desktop and mobile.
4. Turn off notifications
You won't have that problem if you log off, but turn off your notifications too so Facebook won't beckon you with beeps and emails.
5. Remove the Facebook app from your phone
Nothing is more distracting than having Facebook everywhere you go. It can be bad enough while at home or your office, but if you're tempted to check messages anytime you have a free moment you probably will.
6. Download a newsfeed blocker
Not exactly part of the activation energy theme, but too good not to mention. "Kill News Feed", a free app on Google's Chrome web store, has worked the best for me by-far because even when I login I don't get sucked into scrolling through my news feed.
If you use activation energy to your advantage you can kill your impulses to go on Facebook without having to delete your account or use willpower to stop yourself.
Implement these strategies and you will start experiencing a much more productive day almost instantly.