Fighting Against Facebook Notifications
I’m generally quite alright with missing Facebook notifications. I’ve turned off Facebook notifications on my phone since last year and I did not feel that I had missed out much.
However, I still check Facebook quite regularly because I want to see how my friends are doing. Sometimes, I would then spend a considerable amount of time scrolling through Facebook until I realise “Oh no, I’m spending too much time here!”
I’m usually not bothered by how many likes or comments my Facebook posts generate because they rarely get more than 5–10 likes and comments combined. So I seldom go back to Facebook to check how people liked and commented on my posts.
However, when a post becomes really popular with more than 100 likes, several comments and multiple shares (like this and this), I would check back very regularly. And since I’m on Facebook, I would also “clear” my notifications and see how my friends are doing. I would end up wasting quite some time there.
As I want to use my time more productively, I tried several strategies to cut down my time spent on Facebook.
In this post, I would share the strategies I tried and whether they have been effective for me. If you want to reduce the time spent on Facebook too, you might like these 5 strategies:
1. Put Facebook app on the last page on my phone and in a folder labelled “Time Wasters” (Not very effective)
I learnt this from Spike Morelli’s blog post, Productivity smartphone hack: the untapped power of the present moment.
By putting the app on the last page and in a folder, I am creating a passive barrier by making it harder to check Facebook. I have to swipe left twice from my home page, tap on the folder and tap on the app before I get to use it.
By making it harder or more troublesome to use the app, I should be using the app less.
When Google wanted to reduce the number of M&Ms consumed in the office, they “kept the chocolates hidden in opaque containers but prominently displayed dried figs, pistachios and other healthful snacks in glass jars”. They made it hard for the employees to reach the chocolates.
The results: In the New York office alone, employees consumed 3.1 million fewer calories from M&Ms over seven weeks.
Labelling the folder as “Time Wasters” is another attempt to make me use Facebook less. As Spike explained in his blog post,
There’s a lot of research on the psychology of language that studies how we are affected by words and I’m leveraging some of that here by creating a negative association between certain apps that are opposite to my goal: being productive.
My verdict: This strategy has not been effective for me. Perhaps it is because the passive barrier is not huge enough and I do not look at the name of the folders when I want to open an app.
However, it worked for Spike so it is worth a try!
2. Log out of Facebook app (Effective)
To increase the size of the passive barrier, I decided to make it hard to access my Facebook news feed. I logged out of my Facebook app.
It becomes really troublesome when I want to check my newsfeed on my phone. After all swipes and tabs I have to make, I would see this:
I would still have to type in my username and password. Furthermore, my password is pretty long and complicated, so it becomes a real hassle!
My verdict: This strategy is effective!
(I have not logged out of the app for a long time and I forgot about this strategy. Fortunately, I’m reminded of it when I typed this post. I just logged out of the app! ☺)
1. Log out of Facebook website (Effective)
This is similar to logging out of the Facebook app.
Whenever I visit www.facebook.com, I’ll see this:
My verdict: This strategy has been effective in stopping me from checking Facebook regularly. The thought of having to type my username and password makes me not want to check Facebook that often.
2. News Feed Eradicator (Super effective)
If I somehow overcome the barrier and log in to Facebook on a browser, I’ll see this:
If I did not remember wrongly, I learnt this trick from Noah Kagan.
It is called News Feed Eradicator for Facebook. Thanks to this, I’ve not scrolled through my newsfeed on the browser for a long time! The only thing that would interest me when I log in would be new notifications. This prevents me from spending too much time on Facebook on my laptop.
I tried turning off the notifications because it is very tempting to click on the red number at the top right-hand corner. Unfortunately, Facebook does not allow turning off of notifications.
My verdict: This is super effective in preventing me from scrolling through my news feed, which can be very time wasting!
1. Use Goofy for Mac (Effective)
Many of my friends contact me through Facebook Messenger so I would need to log in to my Facebook account on my laptop once in a while. Whenever I log in, I would also check out the notifications because I can’t ignore the red notification counter. I would end up spending some time there.
This is alright if I’m using my phone because Facebook has a separate Messenger mobile app and I would not see any notifications there, apart from new messages.
Fortunately, I discovered this product on Product Hunt!
It is a standalone Facebook messages page, like the Messenger mobile app, but on desktop.
There’s no red notification counter so I would not be distracted to check the notifications and would save my precious productive time ☺
Sorry, this application is only available on Mac at the moment. For Windows, there is Facebook Messenger Chrome extension. I’ve not used it before so I cannot judge if it is good.
[Updated on 12/4/15] You can now access your Facebook messages on a browser at https://www.messenger.com/. It is the web version of Facebook Messenger.
My verdict: This application is effective in indirectly reducing my time on Facebook! I can use the application to communicate with my friends without being distracted by the notifications.
In summary, here are the 5 strategies and my assessment:
- Put Facebook app on the last page on my phone and in a folder labelled “Time Wasters” (Not very effective)
- Log out of Facebook app (Effective)
- Log out of Facebook website (Effective)
- News Feed Eradicator (Super effective)
- Use Goofy for Mac (Effective)
If you plan to try any of these strategies, let me know how it goes! If you have any strategies that you use to reduce your time spent on Facebook, please share with me at @alfred_lua! ☺
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(This is my 26th blog post of my 30in30 challenge — 30 blog posts in 30 days. Through this challenge, I hope to feel comfortable and more confident with writing and become better at writing.)