how to minimize your time on facebook

social networking sites continue to explode in popularity.  according to nielsen:

  • in december ’09 alone, over 300 million people logged onto facebook.  
  • on average, people spent 5.5 hours on facebook during december 2009 (a 201% increase from december 2008).
  • over 300,000 businesses are now on facebook promoting their goods/services.

depending on your line of work, facebook may be unavoidable.  but even if it is unavoidable, there’s good news: it doesn’t have to run your life.  i have compiled a list of helpful hints to keep facebook from ruining your life.

how to minimize your time on facebook:

  • choose your friends wisely.  if you really want to limit your time on facebook, just limit the number of friends that you accept.  remember, the less friends you accept, the less number of possible interactions that arise. convince yourself that you do not need to accept every friend request that shows up on your page.  just because you went to the same high school with somebody doesn’t mean you need to become their “online friend” today.  besides, apparently, the human mind can only handle 150 friends anyway.
  • skip the applications/games.  if you are on  facebook to connect with friends, then get on facebook to connect with friends.  you don’t need to spend your time joining the mafia, building a farm, or finding out which disney princess you are.  however, if you would like facebook to be your online gaming platform… that is certainly up to you.
  • remove all e-mail notifications. by turning off all notifications to your e-mail or mobile device, you remove facebook’s opportunity to interrupt your daily life at any moment.  you also remove the urge to respond to every notification as it appears.  to change these options, go to account settings and choose the “notifications” tab, there click “off” on all the e-mail notifications you don’t really need.
  • hide unnecessary notifications from your newsfeed.  if you’re not interested in someone’s or an application’s updates specifically, you can hide them from your newsfeed permanently.  just hover over the update’s upper right corner and when you see the button “hide” appear, click to choose “hide this person’s updates” or “hide (whatever app) updates”.  i use this on every application that appears in my newsfeed, on people who update way-too-often, and on people who constantly post negative status reports (i don’t need them bringing me down with them.)
  • don’t facebook chat.  among the most inefficient methods of communication in our world today stand internet chatting, texting, and morse code.  and you don’t even have to initiate a facebook chat to get stuck in the middle of one… should a friend notice you are online.  to go offline even when using facebook, click “chat,” “options,” and “go offline.” 
  • sync your social networking sites.  if you are also a user of youtube, flickr, twitter, or etc., there are many applications/software that will sync them for you so that you do not need to upload/update things twice. 
  • only log-in once/day.  certainly, this works only as well as your personal discipline allows.  if once/day is still chewing up too much of your life, choose any frequency you desire.
  • get drastic and limit your minutes.  if personal discipline isn’t working for you, there are websites that will limit your time for you:, for example.
  • honorable mention: choose your photos wisely, choose your fan pages wisely, and become a friend of the “ignore” button.

these tips can be used for any user of facebook whether you are on for personal or commercial reasons.

oh, and don’t forget to become a fan of becoming minimalist on facebook.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    I’m on Facebook but I have to admit that I log in only once or twice a week. I do find most people’s updates to be pretty mundane and I really get annoyed with the invites to do Mob Wars, or Farmer whatever, or Pillow Fight. I’ve yet to accept any of those requests.

    I do thank you for the tip on limiting notifications. I did not know how to do that and it will certainly come in handy.

    – Charley

  2. says

    i just joined face book, and one of the things i like about it are all the options to ignore things and such. i also like that it has a much cleaner look that myspace. there isn’t a ton of glittery crap and annoying music and videos all over people’s profile pages. i think i will be deleting my myspace account as soon as i get the hang of everything on facebook. the ignore button has already come in handy several time.

  3. says

    @ rebekah – – i love it! thanks for the tip.

    @ iris – thankya for mentioning that about our feed. we’ll take a look at it.
    *update* – give it a shot now and see if you have better luck.

  4. Heather B says

    Useful update. I disagree about Morse code, though: while not useful for most everyday use, it is still efficient in the circumstances for which it was designed (very limited bandwidth, noisy transmission lines, and so forth).

  5. says

    thank you for these tips, and thanks to rebekah for the facebook lite information! i have gone back to using facebook, and am sure with these ideas in mind i will have a better experience this time around.

  6. Christine says

    This article comes at the perfect time! I am in the process of cutting back on my FB usage. I deleted about 100 people off of my page as well. I don’t need to keep in touch with all of them, nor do I really want to! Thank you for this article!

  7. says

    I had a Facebook account for a year and then a few weeks ago, I deleted my account. Too many invites for childish things. I tried to use it for my consulting work but it just didn’t work out. I’m still a Twitter and identica fan, though. identica is especially nice. Built on Open Source technology and much better with privacy.

    Great article! :)

  8. says

    Another issue with Facebook is their privacy policy. Look at it really close before signing up with them. A few weeks ago, there was a great story about the new Facebook privacy policy on NPR. They’re definitely catering to advertisers. The story talked about how difficult the new policy is to understand for most people so they just pick the default settings. That’s a big mistake.

    Just thought I would mention this.

  9. says

    There appears to be a tip missing from this list…

    Don’t join!

    Seriously. I’m not trying to be cheeky.

    I realise that many people will be incredulous at such a suggestion, but it’s true.

  10. says

    @gareth – i guess that would minimalize your time on facebook once and for all. i realize that not every one wants to / needs to join facebook.

    i have found incredible benefits both personally and professionally speaking. in my life, it has become a valuable resource for staying in touch with people i no longer live near. and still for others, depending on their line of work, facebook may have become unavoidable. for them, we offered the list above. but your suggestion has been duly noted.

  11. says

    Thanks for including the how-to about hiding applications in the feed! I didn’t realize FB had evolved that much. Last time I tried it, it would have eliminated all postings by what were otherwise good friends.

  12. Julia says

    Unfortunately, facebook lite has been discontinued. Another minimalist option is to run the mobile version ( in your computer browser. Too extreme for some people, just right for others.

  13. Mason says

    If you’ve got friends that send you invites to a million things maybe you dont have the right friends.

    Im happy with my 91 and I keep in touch with all of them :)

  14. kuhan says

    Hi, thanks i have been an addict until a few of my frenimy was poking fun on me b’cause of it. I was pissed with them then, now am thankful, and ur post ready made a difference now..Hide every status of ppl am not close with

  15. says

    Facebook is a big thing for me. A big no-no I mean. I’ve been deactivated and before I was deactivated I hide all of my “friends” notifications on my feed page. Something about seeing everyone’s lives gives me the creeps (especially people I wasn’t really friends with), not to mention totally wastes my time. One of my least favorite phrases is “I saw it on facebook.”
    To me, it’s just a lair for gossips.

  16. dave peters says

    simple. just get rid of it. nobody needs to know me that well except God
    and he already does. d

  17. Henny says

    I avoided Facebook for years, then decided I wanted to get in touch with long-lost friends. It has been great for that. However, it has become addictive and intrusive to the point of silly (I don’t do the games though), and I have hundreds of friends, some of whom I would barely know if I passed them in the street. Rather than ‘un-friending’ them, I have set strict limits on my privacy, so only a handful of close, trusted friends can see anything more than my basic profile, unless I post on their wall or comment on their photos. It has definitely helped cut down the time I spend on there, and I feel less paranoid about what I am putting out there for weirdos to see, or advertisers to try and use.
    If I go any step further it would probably be to start un-friending people that I don’t really communicate with. Can’t really imagine why I agreed to be friends with some of them in the first place, since we were never friends back in school or whatever! Not that I hate them or anything, but…well, we just aren’t “friends”!

  18. joseph dubonnet says

    I was on facebook for a couple of years and decided to give it up. Haven’t been on it for months and don’t miss it.

  19. says

    Great post. All of my FB friends are people I actually know and like. I log on about once a week. I didn’t start here. I had to whittle my “friends” list down to what it is today and commit to one hour per week at the most on FB. It can be a time sucking demon if you let it and I can’t be bothered with “friends” who just post updates that are essentially materialistic brags.

  20. says

    I just mass “unliked” about 90% of my liked pages. I also widdled my friends list down to only people who I want to talk/interact with on a regular basis. I unsubscribed to a big portion of my friend’s feeds, left groups, etc. The one thing I can’t figure out, is how to get rid of many of the apps, even though I don’t really use them. It has cut down on my facebook time!

  21. Grace says

    I am seriously addicted to Facebook. If I have even just one minute I’m on there scrolling through rubbish. I’m on it so often that I see the same viral things at least fifteen times! I only seem to be able to stop when I have got to a section of Facebook that I have seen before! It’s awful. I need more will power to stay off it. It’s getting ridiculous.

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