Lately, I’ve started to notice that I’m wasting sooooooo much time on Facebook. I’ve never been a big Facebook user, but it can definitely become an addiction where you unconsciously find yourself going back to Facebook every couple of minutes to check for updates, and usually little has changed since the last time I checked a few minutes ago. Having Facebook open while you work is such a huge distraction that I think it’s almost impossible to focus while having it open and constantly checking for updates.
I’ve never been a fan of company-placed restrictions on Internet access, although having such filters can limit the number of times one visits Facebook each day. Even if the filter allows Facebook, the sense that a person is being monitored might deter them from opening the Facebook page every couple of minutes. I do more strongly believe in self control. I should be the one who makes decisions on which Internet sites I access and how often. Since my main problem is Facebook, I decided to place self-imposed hurdles to make it harder for me to check Facebook.
Whether you’re thinking of a problem, talking to someone over Skype, or you spot your browser, it’s almost an unconscious decision to open Facebook and check for updates. For me using Chrome, I simple CTRL+T to open a new tab, Press “f”, which autocompletes to facebook.com and I press Enter and I feed my addiction for the next couple of minutes.
To make it a bit more difficult to open Facebook, I decided to modify my hosts file and point facebook.com to a broken page so I get a “Oops! This link appears to broken.” message. The nice thing is that I have complete control, I can change it back whenever I want, I just have to browse to the hosts file, comment out the line that I added, and save. While it’s not too much work, it still prevents me from constantly going to Facebook whether I want to or not.
For anyone with the same addiction and who wants to control their Facebook usage on their own. Simply browse to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\ and open the hosts file. At the bottom of the page, enter:
Save the file and restart your browser and you may also need to flush DNS by going to Start->Run and typing in “ipconfig /flushdns”. Now when you open Facebook, you’ll get an error message. To be able to check Facebook again, open the hosts file again and place a # sign at the front of the line that you added, save, flush DNS and restart browser. You may need to change permissions on the hosts file to allow you to write to the file.
I don’t yet know how effective this is, but at least I got to write this entire blog post in record time and without once checking Facebook 🙂