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Facebook, we have a problem

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I’ve been off Facebook for only 36 hours and already I can see a monumental difference in the way I’m working, thinking, living. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but it’s true. I feel more like my old self, much more efficient, focused, forward-moving.

I realize I can’t lay all of those issues at the feet of Facebook. The problem is not Facebook per se but my reaction to Facebook or my relationship with Facebook or my addiction to Facebook. For the past two mornings of Life Without Facebook (LWF), I have actually completed work and sent it off to clients BEFORE Chiara even got on the bus. That’s how I used to work in the old days. I mean, I used to write entire books in three short months not so long ago. But lately, since I’ve gone from casual Facebook user to obsessed Facebook user, I find half the morning gone before I can see my way clear of must-watch Youtube videos, silly memes I need to share, snarky comments I need to make, and don’t even get me started on Pinterest. I could lose DAYS over on Pinterest.

So part of me says, “That’s it. I’m done. No more Facebook.” And yet, and yet, and yet, I just can’t do that. Because so many people I love live just down the street from me on Facebook, and it’s often a beautiful day in the neighborhood. I am oh so happy when I bump into my Facebook friends as I go about my day. I miss seeing all of you over there. Really. I’m not even into two full days of LWF, and I already feel a bit of an ache for some of you and your silly-but-satisfying banter, and the photos of your kids going by in my newsfeed, and the private messages that pop up out of nowhere and brighten my day.

As someone who works alone every day all day in a basement with no natural light and two crazy cats, Facebook is my water cooler and, often, my sanity. If you work from home, you know exactly what I mean. I can often go an entire day without talking to anyone until the kids get home, and so Facebook is my cafeteria table, my cubicle, my table at Murphy’s after a long day on deadline (that’s for all you CNY alums). I don’t want to give it up completely because it would make my very quiet days too quiet, too dull. Some of you can make me laugh out loud without even trying. That’s a good thing. Why would I want to give that up?

So the answer, as is often the case with so much of life, is balance. Can I create a healthy relationship with Facebook, one where I get to see all of you over the course of a day without falling into the mindless scrolling that eats up valuable time from my work day? The answer is yes, of course. Because I am disciplined. You don’t get to work from home for 20 years with no boss standing over you and write six books in the midst of raising three kids without some serious discipline. That I know without question. I just need to figure out what that looks like for me in a landscape that includes Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Bitstrip…

As I said yesterday, I’ll be back sooner rather than later. (My author page continues to run NSS posts, so you may see things generated by that page on Facebook, despite my absence.)┬áMaybe I’ll be back even sooner than I’d originally planned, depending on how much I get done today. And then I’ll watch and see how re-entry affects my productivity. Which is no different than what I would do if I worked in a real office and was spending too much time hanging over the wall of my neighbor’s cubicle or taking one too many trips down to the vending machine for a much-needed break in the guise of a Twix bar.

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  1. I had been on Facebook since ’07. During those years I took hiatuses from FB when I felt I was too wrapped up in it or when certain people were getting on my nerves too often or as a Lenten sacrifice. But for 2014 I downloaded my Facebook data and deleted the account. I don’t know whether or not I’ll ever return to it. In the meantime, I want to enjoy the feeling that I’m free of an addiction.

    Enjoy your FB hiatus!

    January 16, 2014
    • Mary DeTurris Poust #

      Thanks for your support, Ruth Ann. It does feel sort of freeing without it. Still trying to figure it all out.
      Mary

      January 16, 2014
  2. I miss you, but wow, I TOTALLY understand. I’ve been considering the same myself. It is a good thing – but so are those twix bars – in moderation. Always that damn moderation! Is my mother, who always says “the happy medium” , RIGHT?

    January 16, 2014
    • Mary DeTurris Poust #

      Hi Cathy! I miss you too!! I won’t be able to stay away long, but it’s been good to observe — however briefly — just how addicted I am to FB and how it has changed the way I work. So now I have to figure out what moderation looks like and how to stick to it. Hopefully I’ll be back over the weekend.
      Hugs,
      Mary

      January 16, 2014
  3. Mary DeTurris Poust #

    And for the record, this blog post is being posted to my Facebook author page by my husband, who is co-administrator of my professional page. So if you see it go by and wonder how I’m writing about being off Facebook while posting to my Facebook page, that’s how. ;-)

    January 16, 2014
  4. Michelle Daul #

    Even with Facebook you’re probably far more productive than those working in an office. Besides, with Facebook you get to chose your friends, in the office you’re stuck with the people there whether you like them or not.

    January 16, 2014
    • Mary DeTurris Poust #

      Michelle,
      You may be right on that. I always say I get more done in three hours than most office workers do in three days. No distractions. Other than Facebook. I’ll be back soon, but it’s been a good two-day experiment so far.
      Coffee soon?
      Mary

      January 16, 2014
  5. Linda #

    Hi Mary,
    I always enjoy your post. I plan my time on facebook with the lengh of time it takes to boil the water for my tea! Then, I pour and let it steep giving me a few more minutes to wrap up anything I am reading. It’s simple – except for one problem. I do drink a lot of cups of tea during the day!
    Wishing you well in your return. Linda

    January 16, 2014
    • Mary DeTurris Poust #

      I love that! I need a Facebook ritual. I’ll work on something. :-)

      January 16, 2014

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