Three Instant Ways (<2 min) to Make Facebook a Productive Place

Facebook is ridiculously engaging. That’s why they run all those tests – to hook you.

But you have work to do. Or at least I do. So I don’t want to spend all my time on Facebook. And if I am spending time on Facebook, I want it to be valuable.

So I did three things that made sure every second I spent on Facebook would be a net positive effect on my life.

No One Productivity Hack Will Save You

First off, even though this article is about ‘productivity hacks’ – quick things you can implement to see change – no productivity hack can save you from yourself.

You’ve probably noticed there are a lot of productivity blogs – or at least productivity tips interspersed throughout other blogs. It’s not because people want to help you be more productive. It’s because they want organic and social traffic. Trust me, I’ve written posts like that (for that reason) before.

And I’ve tried a ton of productivity tactics. I do short two week experiments and attempt to quantify any meaningful correlation in performance. Most productivity hacks, alone, don’t move the needle much.

Some of the ones I’ve tried that everyone else seems to revere are:

Some of these allowed for marginal increases in productivity, but nothing revolutionary. Certainly nothing on the level of “this ONE trick” articles. And of course, everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another.

This is all to say that just because you aren’t scrolling through your newsfeed anymore doesn’t mean you’ll be a more effective person. You can block a website, but your clever mind will find a way around it (or at least find another way to waste time).

In the end, you need to be an effective person. That, or chug a crazy amount of coffee.

Now, the Facebook stuff.

Three Steps To a More Productive Facebook

I was trying to solve two problems:

  • I wanted to spend less time on Facebook
  • I wanted the time I spent on Facebook to be inherently valuable

It’s hard to define ‘valuable’ because of the subjectivity involved. But since Facebook began for me as a social connection tool, I wanted all my time spent there to be talking to friends, participating in groups, or otherwise engagement in dialogue. Everything except the newsfeed basically.

People that scroll through their Facebook newsfeed a lot tend to experience more:

Shit is also addicting. It works by the rule of triggers and variable rewards (i.e. you can’t predict when you’ll find that dopamine producing content, but you will find it, and therefore seek it in your newsfeed):

triggeractionreward

I was also very aware that a lot of the time I spent on Facebook was on mobile. When in line or whatever idle time I had, it was so easy to pop open that app, especially when I had notifications turned on (terrible idea).

So with those points in mind, I recommend three actions:

  1. Downloaded News Feed Eradicator.
  2. Delete your mobile Facebook app.
  3. Change Facebook’s default language to one you’re trying to learn.

That’s it. Super easy.

News Feed Eradicator is a Chrome extension that replaces your news feed with an inspirational quote. No more mindless browsing. Now you can consciously check out difference Facebook groups or chat with friends.

Like this:

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-1-26-31-pm

So far so good…until you check your phone (the extension doesn’t work on the app). Which brings me to my second action: Delete the Facebook app from your phone.

deletefacebook

Oh, and make your Safari settings Incognito by default. That way your browser won’t remember your login info, so you’ll have to enter it manually every time.

We’re basically doing reverse conversion optimization here – we’re adding friction everywhere so it makes us less likely to spend time on FB.

Finally, change your language to Spanish – or whatever language you think would improve your life if you knew it.

There are multiple benefits. First, of course, you learn the language better. Second, and maybe more importantly, it makes Facebook more annoying to use. If you have to think about every sentence and every word, it adds a whole lot of friction.

Conclusion

Three things:

  • Download News Feed Eradicator
  • Delete your Facebook App (and make Incognito browsing your default so your browser doesn’t remember your login)
  • Change Facebook’s default language to one you’re trying to learn.

Easy. Now go do work (or browse Reddit until you’re forced to clamp down on that habit with a productivity hack as well).

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