Ah, Facebook. I remember being so excited when, as a mere high school student with only a MySpace page and a Xanga blog to my name, I could finally create a Facebook profile – previously the exclusive realm of college students.
From there, Facebook pretty quickly took over my life. I spent over a decade on the site, logging countless hours uploading many a photo, posting many a vapid status update, and getting into quite a few public arguments with friends and family.
However, I’m happy to announce that, after over a decade on Facebook, I’ve finally decided to quit. It’s been over a week, and I’m very happy with my choice!
In case you’re also considering quitting Facebook, here are my reasons for quitting. I submit them for your consideration!
3 Reasons Why I Quit Facebook (and You Should, Too)
1. I quit Facebook because it is neither important nor urgent. (Facebook is in “Quadrant 4” of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix.)
I’ve previously blogged about the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, in which you prioritize tasks according to two criteria: importance and urgency.
Now, although I’ve wanted to quit Facebook for quite some time, writing about the Eisenhower Box prompted me to realize, yet again, that using Facebook is neither important nor urgent in my life. It’s not helping me achieve my goals and it’s not adding to my overall health in any way. There’s no pressing need for me to be on the site.
And yet, what’s most concerning to me, is that it feels so important and urgent. In the moment, using Facebook, it feels like you can’t live without it! How will you lead a meaningful social life?!
I got sick of Facebook feeling so important and urgent when it obviously wasn’t. So, I quit.
2. I quit Facebook because it is responsible for very few (if any) positive outcomes in my life, and quite a few negative ones. (Facebook fails an 80/20 analysis.)
Again, I’ve recently blogged about the 80/20 Rule (“20% of the causes are responsible for 80% of the effects”) and how you can use it to perform an “80/20 Analysis” of your life.
While I wouldn’t definitively consider Facebook to be in the “bottom 20%,” those things responsible for 80% of the negative outcomes in my life, it sure was close. And it most certainly was not in the “top 20%” of things responsible for 80% of the positive outcomes in my life.
No, instead, Facebook was responsible for a whole lot of wasted time, not to mention increased stress and anxiety – which came to a particular head as a result of the 2016 election cycle and the first year of the Trump presidency. (That’s right, I’ll put my cards on the table: not a Trump fan.)
I couldn’t, in good conscience, continue to spend more time on Facebook given its failure in the 80/20 analysis. And yet, if I was going to continue maintaining a personal Facebook page, in addition to a page for Rookie Anglican (my side project devoted to making Anglicanism accessible for Anglicans and the Anglicurious), I was going to have to continue spending more time on Facebook.
So, I quit. I deleted my personal Facebook page, as well as the Facebook page for Rookie Anglican. I did the same thing with my Instagram profiles for both.
Now, I’ve simplified my social media life down to Twitter (@joshuapsteele; @rookieanglican). I find it much easier to use Twitter purposefully for communication, and less for time-wasting, than I did Facebook. However, I’m at least open to the possibility of deleting Twitter in the future, should it similarly fail both an Eisenhower and an 80/20 analysis! Keep me honest, people!
3. I quit Facebook because I need more time for “Deep Work.”
Here’s a shameless, affiliate link plug for one of the very best productivity books I’ve ever read: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport. (If you make an Amazon purchase through that link then, at no extra cost to you, I get a small commission. It helps me keep this blog going and is much appreciated!)
I’m a Ph.D. student (in theology at Wheaton College). As such, I benefit from being able to concentrate on a single thing for a considerable amount of time. However, things like Facebook and email can very very quickly disrupt this required “deep work” and land me in the familiar territory of what Newport calls “shallow work.”
But it’s not just academics that can benefit from deep work! It’s a valuable productivity skill.
Newport makes the convincing argument that deep work is becoming an increasingly rare (and therefore valuable) skill in today’s society. There’s a reason why the book has been covered widely (New York Times; Wharton; Trello Blog; NPR; Medium review). Additionally, it gets great reviews on Amazon (again, that’s an affiliate link that helps me keep the lights on).
Furthermore, I argue that Christian spirituality requires deep work.
No, you don’t need to buy Newport’s book to follow Jesus. However, there are aspects of the Christian life that simply require the ability to focus, to tune out distraction, and to concentrate on what really matters.
So, I think that busy Christians can doubly benefit from pursuing deep work and cutting out shallow work from their lives. It will enable them to be more productive, and it will also (more importantly) give them some valuable skills that can be put to use in the realm of Christian spirituality (Bible study, meditation, prayer, etc.).
Facebook was nothing but shallow work, so I cut it out in order to free up more time for deep work.
Deep work like writing this blog post, for example! I’m using the time that I probably used to spend scrolling through Facebook. I hope it’s been a worthwhile tradeoff!
If you quit Facebook, what kind of deep work would you be able to accomplish with your extra time?
It’s a question worth considering. If you’ve got questions or pushback on this issue, feel free to engage with me in the comments or on Twitter, because you can no longer reach me on Facebook! I’m free!!! 🙂