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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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    Haim Pekel

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

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

    The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

    Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

    The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

    Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

    In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

    When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

    Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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    1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

    When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

    As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

    That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

    The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

    What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

    Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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    There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

    So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

    2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

    When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

    No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

    3. Move Your Body

    A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

    It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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    So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

    4. Connect With Another Person

    Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

    One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

    Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

    5. Use Your Imagination

    When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

    That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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    And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

    Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

    Final Thoughts

    Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

    Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

    More on the Importance of Taking a Break

    Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

    Reference

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