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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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    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

    Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

    “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

    In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

    New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

    There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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    So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

    What is the productivity paradox?

    There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

    In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

    He wrote in his conclusion:

    “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

    Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

    How do we measure productivity anyway?

    And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

    In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

    But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

    In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

    But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

    Possible causes of the productivity paradox

    Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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    • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
    • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
    • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
    • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

    There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

    According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

    Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

    The paradox and the recession

    The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

    “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

    This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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    According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

    Looking forward

    A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

    “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

    Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

    “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

    On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

    Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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