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Smart Hacks To Keep You Productive While Using Facebook

Smart Hacks To Keep You Productive While Using Facebook
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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.

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    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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    Haim Pekel

    Haim Pekel is an entrepreneur and shares tips on productivity and entrepreneurship at Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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