Goodbye, Facebook

bye bye facebook

I’ve had a longstanding tradition of ditching all social networks when the last two weeks of classes come by. In fact, I’ve gone so far as to install browser extensions that let me block websites completely; so I’m not tempted to try and visit while I’m working. While this may initially seem like something crazy to attempt, it actually has helped me to increase focus, study time and energy – at a time that I need it most. If you’re interested in doing something like this, here’s what I do.

Block the sites

Let’s face it, we’re creatures of habit. Writer Grace Boyle puts it succinctly:

We are creatures of habit. We find comfort in regularity. When something out of the ordinary comes along, forces us to dig deep and make a U-Turn instead of keep going straight, it’s jarring.

We don’t like change. Nonetheless, change is what’s required for us to achieve our goals of better focus and better grades. We’re not alone, however, and we have some tools that can help us achieves our goals, in the form of browser extensions. These extensions add functionality or, in our case, remove it. This particular extension, Mindful Browsing lets you block websites with a single click and makes you wait a specified amount of time before allowing you to enter again. I’ve found that the wait, even at just a couple minutes, really helps persuade me back to work.

mindful browsing

Now, Mindful Browsing is just available for Safari on the Mac, but I also highly recommend Temporary Site Blocker for Chrome and Site Blocker for Firefox.

Commit

It should go without saying, but I’m going to say it: you need to really commit to cutting out your social activity if you want to succeed. As someone who has done it several times already, I can promise the results will be good and you don’t really miss as much as you think.

Mobile

But what about when you’re away from your computer? We need to take the battle to your phone as well. During the last two weeks of classes, I delete Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and YouTube apps from my phone. I don’t actually lose any data, all my information is in the cloud, and I’m given a freedom you have to experience to understand. My phone changes from a device that occupies each spare moment I have to one that’s a useful communication and scheduling tool.

Do the work

Now that you’ve cut out the big items competing for your time, you can actually get to work. Even though checking Twitter may have only taken up 10 minutes of your time, you essentially start over your mental process when it’s back to whatever you were doing. By giving yourself the opportunity of uninterrupted time blocks to work, you’ll find you’re much more efficient and get much more done.

You can email me with questions at dregerkq@mountunion.edu

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