Some people love to use Facebook to keep in touch with friends. However, Facebook seems to be set up to try to draw you in and spend (waste) more time there, and to get your friends to spend more time there. If you just want to use it to keep in touch with people, renew contact with old friends, and just maybe do some networking, here are some ways to avoid wasting too much time.


    1. Ignore requests. When someone sends you a request, you may not be able to see the full details of the request. You may wonder if it’s important, or interesting. But if you really just want to check out the networks and not get completely into the more frivolous activities (playing vampires, werewolves, and joining/liking/subscribing to fan page after fan page just because for example) then don’t feel you have to respond to those requests. They do take time.
      • Remember, a lot of people who add applications Facebook applications follow the prompts to send requests to all their friends. Think of it as an open offer that can be ignored. They usually aren’t waiting in hope that you’ve accepted – they’ve probably been distracted by other things anyway.
      • On your “confirm requests” page, you don’t have to click “ignore” on every request. Scan the page, see if there’s anything of value – e.g. any old friends you’re happy to hear from – and after you’ve approved them, click “Ignore all” near the top right.
    1. Stop the constant emails:
      • Click settings (top right) and choose Account settings, then the Notifications. Switch most of the options to “off”. You may have to click Show more at the bottom to select for all applications, and you may need to do this again when you add new applications.
      • Alternatively, use an email filter so you don’t get distracted by frequent emails from Facebook. Just go to the site regularly enough to catch stuff that you are interested in. Check the requests and notifications on the site itself – if you’re a few days late it generally won’t matter.
        • Simple filter example: filter out anything from E.g. if you use Gmail, make a filter and for “From:” enter, and in the next step choose “Skip the Inbox (Archive it)”.
        • You might make an exception for emails for certain types of notifications, e.g. with the text added you as a friend on Facebook, if you don’t want to risk missing friend requests. E.g. in Gmail, when you’re setting up the filter, for “Doesn’t have:” enter “added you as a friend on Facebook”. (You can add more than one phrase using OR and putting quotes around each complete phrase.)


    1. Avoid games and third-party applications (apps). Playing games, decorating your profile 2-3 times a day, and rating your friends will suck up your time before you know it.
    1. Go offline chat. You’re about to log out of Facebook, then a good pal of yours sends you an IM. You’ll stay on to chat for a while, and before you know it you decide to look at some pictures, explore some groups, and there goes another hour. To avoid getting IMed, click on the Chat button in the bottom right corner and choose “Go Offline.” This way no friends can IM you. Lots of time can be wasted on Facebook if you’re waiting for a friend to reply to a message you sent. So don’t feel the need to stay logged on after sending a friend a message or a Wall post, either. You’ll reply next time you go on.
    1. Bring a timer with you to the computer. Whether it’s the timer on your watch, or an actual kitchen timer that “dings” when the time is up, make it a habit to start the clock as soon as you get on Facebook, and get off as soon as your time is up. Fifteen minutes might be a healthy amount of time to spend on a Facebook session.
      • If you use Firefox, you can use the LeechBlock add-on to track your time spent on and kick you off after a period of time you specify.
      • Also, instead of habitually going on Facebook as part of your routine, set incentives for yourself before going on. This is a good idea if you find yourself ending up on Facebook when you’re supposed to be working. Like “I’ll allow myself to go on for 15 minutes after I finish this assignment” or “I’ll look at those new pictures after I finish this chore.” Also consider having a temporary, password-protected internet filter for on while you’re working. Give the password to a trusted family member or roommate, and ask them to activate it before you begin and deactivate it after you’re finished.
  1. If all else fails, quit Facebook.


    • Consider quitting Facebook and state that you are too addicted. True friends will understand.
    • Each invitation to install an application (e.g. to accept a gift, to recognize someone’s selection of you as their BFF, etc) includes an option to ignore all requests from the application in question. Clicking this will suppress those really obnoxious and/or annoying requests.
    • If you don’t respond to a lot of requests from friends, don’t send many either – you don’t want to seem like a hypocrite.
    • Also avoid note surveys/quizzes- they are addicting, and waste your time. Not to mention that your friends will start to get annoyed after being tagged in 10 different surveys every day.


    Another important thing to remember while adjusting your settings: Don’t give your birth date or other important info to any app or site unless you need to. This increases the risk of identity theft. If you want to share your birthday, it’s safer to change it by a few days or weeks, rather than posting the real date. This also means you get early birthday wishes.