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Smart Hacks To Keep You Productive While Using Facebook

Smart Hacks To Keep You Productive While Using Facebook

Facebook, the biggest time drain ever invented, steals so much time from us that when confronted with the amount of time spent, the average users are baffled, asking themselves what they did for all that time.

A while ago, Time Magazine published this calculator to show how much time you spend on Facebook, and I dare you to try it! You won’t like the results. I didn’t.

The average user spends more than 20 minutes each time they visit. You might argue that 20 minutes per visit is not a lot, but if you’re visiting Facebook 2-3 times per day, it adds up.

I love Facebook, I really do. But when confronted with the numbers, I had a choice to make — either I control my time there or I leave it altogether.

Being addicted (like most people), I tried to avoid spending so much time on the website, so I researched various tools and methods. Some were great, but I found that if I didn’t have a system in place, none of them could help me get back my time. Facebook is an Omni-media-channel, fighting my will to resist it on several fronts.

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To deal with such an onslaught, I had to develop a layered strategy that includes tools and habits, all combined to help me win back my time.

Since I’ve begun, I’ve found that building a routine that includes scheduled, moderate Facebook use in controlled environments allows me to fully enjoy the time I spend on the site. I don’t have remorse and I don’t feel that Facebook is a time drain anymore. I now think about it as a recreational one-stop shop.

Here’s how I stay productive while using Facebook.

Tools 

1. Ghost for Chat

One of the major time wasters on Facebook is Facebook Chat. When I log onto Facebook, I don’t always want to talk or to be seen. Sometimes, I’m just there to do a specific task, like read an interesting article from my customized feed (more about that later) or answer a specific message. I don’t always want to get sucked in with other messages.

This chrome app allows me to talk to whomever I’d like without being seen on the chat window and without having that “last seen” time stamp. After ending the chat, I close Facebook and dive back into my work.

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2. Stay Focused

I’m not pro blocking apps. While blocking has an important role in preventing access to those websites that waste our time, it also has a huge role to play in causing our fall from the productivity bandwagon.

This app figured out that cold turkey is not the way to go. It allows you to set a limit for the amount of time you’re going to use Facebook in advance, allowing you to control the impulse of visiting it outside of those hours.

3. Kill News Feed

Some days, you have to stay off Facebook for productivity’s sake — this app is just for that. It ensures that you won’t be able to view the newsfeed by blocking it — a good reminder that you need to get back to work!

Habits 

4. Schedule your Visits

You need to get into the habit of creating a daily schedule, and you need to commit to that schedule. Building recreational Facebook visits into your schedule will make sure that you’ll know when you need to be there, and this will allow you to enjoy it more.

A word of advice: while at work, schedule one visit tops. It takes on average 23.15 minutes to get back on track once you’ve interrupted your workflow.

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5. Commit with a Friend

Yes, it’s a bit big brotherish, but it’s effective nevertheless. The guy who got slapped by someone from Craigslist to get back to work proved that.

When you schedule with someone and message them when you log in and out of Facebook, you’re helping yourself to commit by involving another person. This technique is highly effective when you begin, and I’m still using it today.

This tip goes well with the Ghost for Chat app, as no one else will bother you.

6. Create Dedicated Newsfeeds

Facebook changed its algorithm so you’ll see things that (according to Facebook) you’re more interested in. The problem is that almost everyone sees news and interactions of friends that they interact with on the newsfeed as a result.

By creating a dedicated newsfeed or list, you’re blocking out all the noise and focusing only on what’s relevant for you.

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To see only the friends or pages you’re interested in, go to News Feed on the right corner bar > Edit preferences > Prioritize who to see first or use the Facebook friends organizer tool.

You can also create several lists with Facebook’s list tool.

Create a list

    When I’m on Facebook, depending on my needs, I activate the tools. The habits are a different thing. To make these habits work for you, you’ll need first to commit and spend less time on Facebook.

    This commitment will make sure that you have the mindset required to make this change. It might be difficult to kick start these new habits because you’ve been using Facebook for so long and old habits die hard. But it’s possible, and you should at the very least try.

    If you’re planning your daily schedule on a regular basis, which I highly recommend, this kind of commitment will fit your schedule like a glove. Good luck!

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Lefebvre via images.unsplash.com

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    Last Updated on May 22, 2019

    The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

    The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

    If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

    Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

    Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

    What is the Pomodoro Technique?

    The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

    The process is simple:

    For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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    You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

    Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

    After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

    Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

    How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

    Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

    “You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

    If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

    Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

    The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

    You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

    Successful people who love it

    Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

    Before he started using the technique, he said,

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    “Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

    Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

    “It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

    Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

    Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

    “Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

    Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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    “Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

    Conclusion

    One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

    The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

    If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

    Reference

    [1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
    [2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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