How to Get Rid of Your Facebook Addiction — Cold Turkey

Stop scrolling through your news feed and read some tips on how to break your Facebook addiction.

Dream Day

Today is what I call a dream day– a day that I do not work. It will start with me taking my daughter to visit my mother who lives about 100 miles away. We will just chill and my mom will probably cook too much food. Then tonight, my wife and I plan to have a Walking Dead marathon. We are really into that series right now, so that will be the perfect ending to my dream day.

I am actually cheating on my dream day by doing this, but I was really inspired to share quickly with you a conversation I had yesterday about Facebook addiction, and give you a couple of strategies for dealing with this issue.

Facebook Fluff and Stuff

I was speaking with a man yesterday who is a very successful entrepreneur, one of the biggest in his field. In the midst of our conversation, he said something that really caught my attention. “I’m really addicted to Facebook,” he said casually, then moved on to talk about other things. Later, as we were discussing life and productivity, it occurred to me that his life is very full, but it is not a life filled with life. Instead, like so many people, his life is full of work, fluff, and other stuff…like Facebook.

“I have never shared this with anybody,” he tells me — and here I am telling the whole world. He told me that every night he gets up to go to the restroom around 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, and while he is using the bathroom he checks his Facebook timeline; he is scrolling through Facebook in the middle of the night while using the bathroom. He seemed a little ashamed, but I was not shocked at all. I believe many people do this. Maybe not while they are using the bathroom, but every single minute they have available they use to check their news feed.

He went on to tell me that he feels lazy. I found this interesting because he is an extremely busy man. He is always connected — checking his business pages, checking in with people on Facebook — so I believe this feeling of laziness may possibly mean he does not feel like he is being productive.

Working with entrepreneurs, as I do, I am aware that a lot of them have addictive personalities. It may be food, alcohol, drugs, sex, or anything; or it may be Facebook.

I completely relate to this feeling, because I used to be addicted to it as well. I was always checking in, scrolling and scrolling through my timeline, and not even really aware of it. It was just part of what I did when I was waiting or had off time. I would check my iPhone, check my email, and check my Facebook.

“I used to be addicted to it as well. I was always checking in, scrolling and scrolling through my timeline, and not even really aware of it. It was just part of what I did when I was waiting or had off time.”

From a business perspective, I think Facebook is a great marketing platform. It allows you to share your ideas with the world and communicate with customers. But on a personal level, I hate it because I began to notice that all the time I was spending on it made me feel bad, like physically inside my body, made me feel like I wasn’t as nice of a person when I was on it.

I believe other people may feel that way as well. In fact, I had a woman share with me once that Facebook made her very lonely. She said that she was on it all the time, but did not really understand the significance of it and that made her really sad and depressed. So lonely, in fact, that she said she was considering ‘other options’ with her life — if you get my meaning.

For me, when I was on Facebook all the time, it just was not working for me. I had this intuition, a distinct feeling, that it was not a good thing for me to be on Facebook. I was completely aware of all the greater priorities in my life. My wife, my daughter, great friends, a super work team, hobbies, customers, going to the gym, reading, learning and going to seminars, traveling — a lot of fun stuff — about ten things I am able to think of that quickly that I enjoy, and browsing Facebook is not on the list.

I knew I had to do something and I did. The solutions that I found to the Facebook problem are what I feel are important to share with you — important enough to cheat on my dream day, by the way.

When I made the decision to stop using Facebook, I was not really using it for marketing, so that made it easier. At first, I thought I would just cut back, just log out, and avoid using the Internet, that type of thing. Take it from me, that does not work. Cold turkey is the solution. You have to just stop.

Cold Turkey, Baby

So how do you go cold turkey, especially if you use your Facebook for business purposes? Step one, have a friend or colleague change your password and only give tell you your password on agreed upon times. Choose someone you trust and someone who will have your best interests at heart. Pick a person who will not give in and tell you your password if you change your mind. If you really need your Facebook for your customers or for other important things, then have a discussion up-front with your password friend and decide how many hours a week you need to check in. Set it up in advance so that there is no question, no misunderstanding, and no backing out. This way, you can still have access to it, but not waste your time or hours and hours of your life. If you need an hour, you take an hour, then, have them change your password again. Sometimes, I will even use a co-worker’s computer because it keeps me aware of the fact that I need to make it quick because I am keeping them from their work.

“…it made a huge difference in how I felt. I had much more presence and felt more at ease. It saved me hours a day and increased my level of productivity.”

Yes, it might be difficult the first few days of going cold turkey, but listen when I tell you, I was so much happier when I quit. For the first few weeks, I would get my password and check it once a week or so. Eventually, I was completely off for three or four months and I realized I wasn’t missing anything at all. In fact, it made a huge difference in how I felt. I had much more presence and felt more at ease. It saved me hours a day and increased my level of productivity.

facebook hurt thumb_29663443_640Make it Hurt

The second strategy I recommend for overcoming your Facebook addiction is to have a painful password. To make it more difficult, ask your password manager to assign a password that is hard to type or read. For example, I used to have my password be something to remind me of my daughter, Danni. So to make it hurt, my password would be a version of my daughter’s name. Then I decided to take it to another level. I told my team member, “Okay, make it more painful.” So it may be ‘this is less time with Danni’ or ‘this is more important than Danni’ or something like that. If you are struggling with your addiction having a password that hurts can be very helpful.

Marketing with Facebook

Around the time I stopped using Facebook, we actually started using it more for business purposes. Even without actively participating in Facebook, I got four or five thousand friends. It is a huge source of traffic engagement. I believe we are the most proactive business page in Holland, and I know that we are the most valuable page in Holland.

I see the huge potential for using Facebook to share your ideas with the world. As a marketing platform, I really, really like it, but — and it’s a big “but”, a J-Lo butt — I don’t like to be on Facebook. Without logging in, I can still see my page, comments, and what people like. One of my team members is responsible for posting things and keeping it updated. I use it all the time to post interactive content, ask questions, give my brain farts, brain waves, or share videos. It can be very interactive without me ever logging on. I do not even have to respond on Facebook, and because my team posts things regularly, people don’t even notice. Plus, I use Twitter or my website for responding
to people.

Speaking of Twitter, I would love to hear from you. Send me a tweet at twitter.com/eelcodeboer.com or @eelcodeboer or go to my website eel.co and subscribe to my podcasts. I have a great following in Holland, but I also just started my podcast in English in the last two weeks, so I would love to hear from those people as well. It would really make my day if you are not from Holland and you send me a tweet and say, ‘Hey, what’s up? I’m from Hungary or Sweden or America’ or wherever. That would be amazing!

Now I am off to enjoy my dream day.


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  • 1 April 2015
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