The Facebook Project

A while back, I started noticing how much time I spent on Facebook. I noticed how much I was using my cell phone, primarily, which was my typical link to Facebook. Facebook was where I spent most of my time while using my phone. Hours would pass and I would have nothing to show for them. This was a problem. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I eliminate Facebook, I’ll eliminate the “I use my phone too much” problem. Two birds; one stone.

So, I removed the app in an attempt to spend less time there, opting instead to be more intentional with my use of Facebook by accessing it only via computer. I did indeed spend less time overall on Facebook, but it still wasn’t enough. I wasn’t accessing Facebook at home anymore (dragging out the laptop and logging in was meh… so I don’t do that very often), or while on the go, but I was still accessing Facebook too much at work, a problem in and of itself.

On days where I didn’t have a mountainous workload, this was probably a little ok, but there were days when I actually had quite the workload and I still went to Facebook. And while I was there, I was either consciously or subconsciously reading the newsfeed. I want to be a better employee, and Facebook is certainly not making that possible.

On the days when I was subconsciously browsing, I’d find myself losing hours of productivity. On days when I was consciously browsing, I’d find myself thinking “who cares?”, “blah, blah, blah”, “quit bragging”, and a number of other “I’m annoyed by this post” thoughts. I found myself skimming most of it, bored.

What I wanted was to eliminate my newsfeed, focus on the one or two groups I enjoy, and my public blogger page. I tried to avoid my newsfeed, but that danged thing has a magnetic pull that is hard to avoid.

My solution? Unfollow everyone! Ok, well, not everyone, but 96% of my friends list. I kept my family and some non-family who I really enjoy keeping up with. The rest were unfollowed. I noticed after doing this that my newsfeed was riddled with posts from public pages – pages I had “liked”. So I unliked them all. I also left every single group except for 6 (4 of which I’ll be leaving as soon as I am no longer employed by the Direct Sell industry – my departure from those groups will be noticed immediately and I don’t really want to have to explain myself to them).

This is what I’m calling The Facebook Project. There are 4 intended consequences for this project.

Reduce the time I spend on Facebook. My newsfeed is whittled down to the bare necessity. It’s minimized to things that I suspect will bring me joy. After performing my cuts, I discovered I only had about 5 minutes of reading material available to me. Perfect!

View Facebook consciously and intentionally. My newsfeed is minimized to the point that I’ll run out of things to mindlessly read very quickly and will have to find something else to occupy my time and mind. Additionally, if I think of a friend and wonder what they’re up to, I can intentionally go to their Facebook profile and check in. This will also allow me to keep up with the people I really want to keep up with rather than Facebook determining who I should grace my newsfeed.

More Life Less Consumed. *pun intended* My life will be less consumed by distraction, by aggravation, by idleness, by stress, and by the pull to keep up with the Joneses.  These things won’t be eliminated all together, but there will be one less source. Exactly what I need.

More privacy. This goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. 😉

The next step is to find a way to block the mobile browser from accessing Facebook and all those event invites I get… oy. Anyone know how to do that?

Until I can walk away from Facebook and never look back again, this is my solution. What is your relationship with Facebook like? Do you have any tips for reducing the time spent there?

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When Joy Sparking Spills Beyond Discarding Clutter

Over the past year, I have been undergoing a life-changing process of clearing my home of clutter that contributed to my anxiety and overall discontent. My house always felt messy, I always felt like I had a ton of things to do, and I felt anxious all the time. I’d finally had enough and unofficially dubbed 2015 the year simplifying life and finding more happiness. I say unofficially because I didn’t tell anyone in real life what I was doing.

In a previous post, I discussed finding the “Magic” book that I felt had the power to transform my life and later discussed how the process works. I went into great detail, but I still highly recommend you purchase the book and read it to fully appreciate the process and the effect it can have. The book and process met my expectations and helped to open the door to a life I’m happy to be in.

The concept of sparking joy has infiltrated every aspect of my life. It’s wiggled its way into my Facebook account and resulted in the culling over over 100 “friends” and the removal of about 30 groups I didn’t wish to follow anymore.

Joy Sparking snuck into my phone and removed countless apps, to include Facebook and, surprisingly, MyFitnessPal, an app I had religiously logged into for a running total of 875 days without fail.

It burrowed into our financial world as well, which resulted in my resignation from a direct sell company I’d been a part of for the better part of two years, and the resignation from two others I had only been a member of for a few short months.

The longer “Joy Sparking” remained in my life, the less stuff and things I occupied my time with. I realized that the lifestyle I was trying to accomplish was Minimalism! I have found I need less and less “stuff” to find satisfaction.

I’ve started reading quite a few blogs on Minimalism. I’ve made a list of them here in case you want to check out what Minimalism is all about. I’m liking the concept so far.

What I once thought was a lifestyle of restrictions and stark emptiness is anything but! In reality, it’s a lifestyle of freedom! Since embracing the joy sparking art of decluttering and reducing my volume of belongings, I’m finding I’m free to experience life! I’m able to go camping with my family and not feel consumed by the guilt of accomplishing nothing while I sit by the fire. I’m finding I’m free to go on day trips with my husband and just enjoy his company. I’m finding the time to color with my children. I’m finding the time to visit my father’s farm and collect eggs and teach the children about farm animals. I’m finding the time to dream of what we want our future to be! I’m finding the time to read leisurely again. I have found minimalism to mean I can live the life I dream of living rather than being stuck cleaning the life I’d always thought I was supposed to live.

Less truly is more.

Freeing up Time for Things I Enjoy

My husband and I have been attempting to make headway in our debt for quite some time now. We were making a little bit of a dent, but it wasn’t as big as I’d like it to be, despite following the Dave Ramsey plan to the best of our ability and willingness (i.e. we refused to sell off everything we own – which is precisely why we’re only making a small dent).

Early in 2014, in an attempt to make a bigger dent, I decided to join a direct sell company. It was a good idea, in theory. I knew I’d be working a lot and had hoped to have a lot of parties so I could make that killer residual income that everyone talks about making. Unfortunately, for me, that wasn’t what happened. I didn’t have lots of parties. My parties didn’t produce a lot of sales volume. And I didn’t make a killer residual income.

But I was determined to see it through and thought that if I just worked a little bit harder, I’d find success.

So I kept trying (read: bugging my friends to have parties). I provided prizes and incentives for my hostesses (read: I spent my commission before I even received it). And I carried our product everywhere (which meant I had to spend commission to buy product I didn’t earn).

Unfortunately, none of it was enough and I ended up spending much more than I made. It wasn’t worth the time I spent on it.

So I have decided to hang it up. With my current goal being to seek joy in everything I do and own, this just had to go. I absolutely love our product. I use the product every single day. I enjoy looking at the catalog. I think it is fairly priced for the quality and would (for the most part) buy every item in the catalog. I know it’s a high quality product that will stand the test of time. I’ve been abusing some of the products for over a year now and they’re still holding strong.

However, soliciting for parties does not bring me joy. I don’t enjoy bugging my friends. I don’t enjoy begging for parties on Facebook. I don’t enjoy spending money on marketing materials only to have no new customers coming in. It’s with a heavy heart that I give it up because the company is a great company. They shower their consultants with gifts and pay decently. But I can’t bring in the sales I need to make it worthwhile.

It’s all about doing what makes us happy right? Working this business was just another thing I had to do that didn’t make me happy – much like having a tooth pulled. When I compare it to other things I spend my time doing, it’s not a joy sparker. Scrubbing toilets makes me happy (b/c they’re clean, yo), doing laundry makes me happy (who doesn’t love clean clothes), pulling weeds makes me happy (it makes my flowers happy too). But soliciting for parties every single day and getting zero parties does not bring me joy.

It’s time to enjoy knowing my weekends are open for football games, baseball games, racing, fishing, camping and sacking out on the couch, or whatever spontaneous thing my husband springs on me next. Having the freedom to be spontaneous was a major part of the purpose behind simplifying, minimizing and decluttering my life. I wanted to be free of the never-ending to-do list. If my husband walked in and said “hey, let’s go do this today”, I wanted the time and financial freedom to do it.

I’ve announced it to my clients already, so they’re aware. Put a check in that box. It was fun (not really) while it lasted. I have a couple of catalog parties scheduled to be submitted yet this month, but after that, I’m closing my website, selling my inventory and disbanding my Facebook group.

Did you recently free up a bunch of your time? How did you do it?