Even though you missed your opportunity to give it up for Lent, there is still time to experience the benefits of removing Facebook from your phone. For the purpose of this post when I say Facebook, I mean Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media app you’re using habitually or excessively. I deleted Facebook about six months ago, but have recently added it back to promote this blog. More on why can be found here.
Last week I learned that my wife and a coworker had both removed the Facebook app from their phone. Since I don’t think either one of them reads my blog, clearly this is an idea that is catching on.
Facebook is one of the most addictive products ever created. The statistics related to the product are mind blowing. One in every five pages viewed on the Internet is Facebook. Each month 2.3 billion people login to Facebook. The average person spends 20 minutes a day just checking Facebook and 58% of users check it daily. For reference, other web services struggle to reach 10%.
If turning off the notifications isn’t enough to break your habit of mindlessly checking Facebook every time you’re with your phone, you could try moving the icon to the second screen of your apps. When even that is not enough go ahead and delete the app from your phone. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. You’re just removing easy access to these apps. Your friends, shared pictures, and all that you’ve invested in them is still there and saved in the cloud. You can access it anytime on your desktop computer or through a browser on your phone. You will likely find that this extra couple of steps is enough to prevent you from habitually opening the app every time you pick up the phone and losing yet another 20 minutes to digital distractions.
When you first delete Facebook from your phone they’ll try to lure you back in via email. They already know who’s picture you most want to see and who’s comments you always like. The emails will start showing up in your inbox triggering your FOMO, fear of missing out, on seeing your friend’s picture of her latest sloth cake. Amazing as it is, don’t give in.
Unsubscribe from those emails to turn off the habit trigger. The results are worth the effort.
People that have removed social media from their phone report feeling far less stress about FOMO. They no longer see pictures of friends out having fun, having picture perfect holiday meal, or taking the perfect picture of their well-behaved kids.
When you see the world through everyone’s curated highlight reel you feel like you have to live up to unrealistic expectations. Two pictures in a weekend from just two of your 300 friends at a brewery suddenly feels like everybody is having fun going to breweries while you’re stuck attending your kid’s soccer game every Saturday.
The stress of feeling like you have to constantly keep up with everyone’s postings or you’re not a good friend evaporates. Now you control the schedule of when and for how long you use Facebook to catchup with people. Suddenly you have wrestled back control of your time and habits from your phones notifications. Autonomy is what separates control from addiction.
Give it a try. Delete the social media apps from your phone. What have you got to lose? You can always reinstall the app in five minutes if you decide to.
Just don’t forget that you can keep up with this blog by subscribing to the email updates on the website or by visiting www.EndDigitalDistraction.com daily to read the latest updates.