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Thinking that Facebook is Wasting Your Time? You Can Change that!

Thinking that Facebook is Wasting Your Time? You Can Change that!

Like Twitter, Instagram and many other social media platforms of its ilk, Facebook is often vilified for being a major source of procrastination and fostering time-wasting behaviors. And let’s be honest – it’s not entirely untrue! How many hours have we wasted, shamelessly spying on our friends’ and relatives’ lives (oh, is that just me, then?) or falling down the mesmerising rabbit hole that is Farm Ville? You know the drill: you open a browser, innocently intending to double-check the date of that hot event you were invited to, and bam – that’s it, four hours of your life, gone! It’s okay – you’re not alone and happily, there are ways of not only minimizing Facebook’s inherent time-suck effect, but also (and this is the exciting part) using this popular social media network as a means to educate yourself, get inspired and meet incredible people. Read on to discover 5 tips that will change the way you use Facebookforever!

1. Minimize.

Often, the reason why we waste so much time on Facebook is simply because we follow too many people and subscribe to too many Pages! With an average of 250 Facebook friends per U.S. female and an average of 1,500 posts eligible to appear in a user’s feed every day (data from Digital Media Ramblings), it isn’t hard to see why so many of us get sucked into the black hole of social media procrastination. The simplest solution to this predicament is to cut down on the number of people in your friends’ list and unsuscribe from the Pages that don’t add value to your Facebook experience. Consider this: how many of your Facebook friends do you actually speak with on a regular basis? Whose status updates do you find yourself repeatedly ignoring? Which posts do you systematically scroll past when they pop up in your Timeline? Ask yourself: is it worth keeping these people and Pages around if you don’t enjoy what they have to offer anymore? If the answer to that question is no, then cut them out!

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2. Filter.

Ever wanted to filter out an overzealous friend or relative’s Facebook noise without hurting their feelings by unfriending them? You can! All it takes is a simple, three-step process: 1) locate a post from this person in your Timeline and click the little arrow in the top-right corner. This will cause a drop-down menu to appear. 2) Click “I don’t want to see this.” When you do this, that specific post will be hidden from your Timeline. 3) If you want to take it further and radically diminish the number of posts from that person, click “See less from [name of the person]”. This will ensure that you see fewer posts from that person, without removing them from your friends’ list! Bonus: You can do this with Groups and Pages, too! All you need to do is follow exactly the same three steps.

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3. Learn.

Now that we’ve learned how to minimize distractions and noise on our Timelines, it’s time to look at some of the positive aspects of the social network! As we primarily use Facebook for staying in touch with our friends and relatives and keeping abreast of the latest developments in each other’s lives, we don’t necessarily realize that Facebook is a brilliant learning tool, too. Indeed, whether you’re trying to learn a new languagebeef up your professional skills or simply be more inspired and motivated on a daily basis, chances are there’s a Page for that! Simply search for your topic of interest in the Search bar at the top of the homepage and follow the Pages that are relevant to you. Bonus: Now that you have either unfollowed or filtered the notifications of the people and Pages you’re no longer interested in, the content from the Pages you do want to see will be much more prominent on your Timeline!

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4. Mingle.

You can learn and get inspired on Facebook, but guess what? You can also meet interesting people and network with them!  Just as there is a Page for your every learning need, there is likely also a Group, too. Consider this: if you’re a solo entrepreneur, it can be difficult to find like-minded people in your entourage and mingle with others who get what you’re going through. Joining a Facebook Group where people like you hang out is a brilliant way to get advice and support on issues that might trouble you, or simply make new friends! Bonus: If you’re an online business owner, Facebook Groups are a great place to get feedback on your products or services and to find prospective clients! Think about it: these are all people who share the same issues and predicaments. They likely also operate in the same industry as you. Therefore, they are probably the best equipped to give you advice on what you’re offering, and who knows – they might be so into it that they want a piece of it, too!

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5. Share.

Whether you have ideas of your own that you think would be helpful to others, or a business that you would like to get more eyeballs on, Facebook is a brilliant option for sharing your views or your products with the world! If you’re operating on a non-profit basis, create a Page that your friends, relatives and fans can follow to get the latest news that you want to send out. This makes life easier for both you and for them: for you, because it saves you the trouble of having to contact people separately about a given topic or event; for them, because all the people who follow your Page can get the information they need in one place. Easy! If you’re a business owner and are willing to spend a little time and money, Facebook can be an excellent way to promote your products and build a solid online reputation. The social network’s advertising system is extremely well thought-out, and will enable you to get your posts out to the right audience for a reasonable price. Having a company Page will also give your clients and fans a rendez-vous point to keep up to date on your latest news. In short: Facebook can work hard for you, if you let it: simply filter out the content that doesn’t interest you and follow the Pages and Groups that are useful to you! Don’t be afraid to take advantage of its many perks for your personal life and your business.

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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)

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.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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