Back around November 2016, I started taking an e-course by Ruth Soukup, called “Productivity Guide for Bloggers”. I was ready to start taking control of my time and finally get more done!
In the very first chapter, she talked about distractions and how it’s so easy to get caught up in all the little dings your phone makes when you get a new notification, whether it’s from Facebook, email, or whatever else. Her challenge to us in that first chapter was to turn off all notifications on our phone, to stop those distractions in the first place.
That was simple enough; I went to my settings and turned off everything, besides phone calls and texts.
Then she told us to unfollow everyone on our personal Facebook list.
Facebook is how I keep in touch with my friends. It was my favorite social network; I like to see how everyone is doing, to watch their kids grow, and stay up-to-date with all the happenings of life.
But then I realized that unfollowing was not the same as unfriending.
When you unfollow someone on Facebook, you stay friends but their status updates won’t show up in your news feed anymore; you have to manually visit their profile to see what they post.
It still gave me anxiety to think about it; what’ll I do if I can’t see what my friends are doing?
Ruth gave it the term FOMO- Fear Of Missing Out. And it’s real, people. Have you tried going a day, or even a few hours, without checking your Facebook feed? Once you get back, you find yourself scrolling for miles just to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
And I was guilty of that, even as far as checking my phone every 10 minutes or so just to see what was new.
But that was sucking away my time. The early morning hours, which were supposed to be spent writing posts and doing blog work, were now filled with looking through pictures of cute babies and strongly-worded political posts.
I had my phone near me at all times, checking my feed while playing with Allison and essentially ignoring her as I got caught up in the news. I was tired of my time being taken away from me, so I took the plunge.
I went through my list, and one at a time, I unfollowed every person on my friends list, and every page that I Liked, except for 2 or 3 blogging pages. I put my family on the Close Friends list, so that every time they posted, I would just get the little notification. And my news feed suddenly looked very empty.
After a few days, though, I immediately noticed some changes in my life, and now I know I won’t ever go back to the way things were. Here’s what happened:
I stopped mindlessly browsing
You know what I’m talking about. You sit down to check something and notice you have a Facebook app notification, so you look at it, but then something on your newsfeed catches your eye.
And then you get stuck, scrolling down and down because every other update is just so interesting, and suddenly you look up and realize 20 minutes have passed and you have no idea how it happened.
That was so me, and it really bothered me but didn’t know how to(and didn’t want to) fix it. Now that I’ve unfollowed everyone, I can’t mindlessly browse if there’s nothing on my newsfeed to distract me!
I stopped feeling negative
I noticed that sometimes, after a mindless browsing session, I got a little depressed or angry, because I read Facebook posts I didn’t like. Someone posted a politically-charged rant, or a link to a “news” story that has zero facts.
And don’t even get me started on the comments on some of those. Never, ever read the comments. I’ve always said that you’ll know the true character of someone by reading what they put in comments on Facebook.
Instead of reading them and fueling the anger it gave me, I just stopped following those people and the problem went away. There was a major difference in my mood; I feel much happier now that I don’t have to worry about what I might see on my newsfeed.
I became more productive
Do you realize how much more time you have when you don’t browse Facebook? Ten minutes here, five minutes there… it’s like you magically gain an hour in your day!
I feel like now I can do blog work without distraction, and have found other productive ways to spend my time- like reading educational articles and things to better myself. I don’t really learn anything on Facebook- except that people can be mean, and that what you see in those happy pictures isn’t always what it seems.
I hope my Facebook friends don’t read this and get offended. It has nothing to do with not wanting to see my friends anymore, and I really do care. If I want to see how a friend is doing, I manually go to the person’s profile page and check the first few updates.
I love them all, I really do; I was just too easily distracted and needed to do something to better myself and my family in the long run.
And to be honest? I don’t miss scrolling through my feed anymore. I thought it would be harder, but it’s no big deal now.
What Happens When You Un-follow Someone on Facebook?
If you feel like your productivity is suffering and you need a change, try un-following your friends and pages. It’s not permanent, and no one will know you did it. Here’s how:
- On the top of the screen, click the down arrow on the right side, the dropdown menu, and click on “News Feed Preferences”.
- On the next screen, click on “Unfollow people to hide their posts”, and then you can pick and choose who you want to unfollow.
- When you click on a page or person, “Unfollowed” will show up in blue text, and if you click again, you’ll begin following them again.
Can a Facebook friend see if you unfollow them?
If you unfollow a friend on Facebook, they won’t be able to tell. All that happens is that their posts no longer show up in your Facebook news feed.
Remember, unfollowing is NOT unfriending! If you unfollow someone on Facebook, you’ll still be their friend; you just won’t see any of their posts in your newsfeed.
Have any of you already unfollowed most or all of your friends to be more productive? I’d love to hear your story and how it’s helped you too. Just post a comment below!