You may have experienced the feeling when you sit in front of your computer working and you see an email from Facebook staring at you. You think to yourself, “I will make a quick response and then get right back on track with work and be productive.” But next thing you know, you are readying the hilarious posts from friends, responding to interesting conversations, and saying hi to friends you haven’t seen for a while. As your “quick” peek evolves into a long-long time, the facebooking feels “addicting.” Does this sound familiar?

I search through a few of my own Facebook (FB) posts in regard to the “addicting” feeling. Here are a few of my random posts: “Why is it that when I have a thousand things on the ‘to-do’ list, I find myself lost on Facebook?!?!” Or my humor (yet also somewhat serious) about the addiction of Facebook: “I think I might start a new therapy group called ‘Facebook-aholics Anonymous.'”

My random posts on Facebook had a bit of humor, yet it also spoke the truth. I can feel and see how easy it could be to get lost for hours and become out of control. I can moderate with social networking, but what about those who can’t redirect or limit themselves, or for those who have more addictive tendencies?

I have heard over and over with my clients saying that they struggle with the online social networking. It either gets in the way of the relationship (this is my next article…soon to come) or it completely gets out of control. Does it impact your life? Do you feel like it is a bit too much?

Questions to ask yourself to see if your facebooking is a problem:

  • Do you spend a minimum of 2 hours a day on Facebook?
  • Do you find that you get behind on work or personal responsibilities because you continuously get side tracked on Facebook?
  • When you see an email with the Facebook update you can’t avoid clicking on it. Your curiosity gets the best of you.
  • Do you start your day with with Facebook?
  • Do you end your day with Facebook?
  • Do you check Facebook on your cell phone on a regular basis?
  • Have you and your partner gotten into various fights because of Facebook?
  • Do you say “just one more peek” and next thing you know your back in your same routine?
  • Do you tell yourself you won’t look on Facebook, but then find yourself back on it?
  • Have friends or family shown concern about your Facebook activity?

If you answered yes more than no, you could benefit from taking a deeper look at your Facebook activity and take step to gain control on your social networking.

Here are a few tips on taking back control on your life and creating a healthy balance:

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Set FB Time Frame
Moderation is key!! Instead of cutting yourself off completely, allow yourself a limited time during the day. Facebook is a great way to connect with others and build relationships…but needs to be in moderation. Schedule time for social networking after work and personal obligation and limit the amount. Set a timer (I am not joking about this) and only allow yourself 30 minutes to network with your friends, family, and colleagues. Sometimes we need external accountability… and a timer works great!

Put your settings to ‘Off Line’
People can see if you are available online to have an instant message chat. Your childhood friend that you haven’t seen for 10 years may want to say hello and have a long, drawn out conversation about the years you have been apart. Put your settings to “Off line” so you aren’t easy to access for a conversation and you won’t be tempted to converse with others.

Email Folder Redirect
I get easily distracted, so I can relate with others who get distracted with emails from FB. Created a Facebook folder and have your emails automatically put into the FB folder. The emails won’t sit staring at you in your inbox. You can then click on the FB folder when it is time and you are done with your personal obligations. Try it out; see how this keeps you on track with business and accomplishing tasks.

Change Cell Phone Settings
I just got a new iPhone and somehow FB sends me text messages every time I get a message. This temptation of a text message for some people is like an alcoholic having a bottle of alcohol put in their hands randomly throughout the day…and expected to say “No.” Put up a detour and change your settings. Remove the application from your phone, and make sure that your cell phone doesn’t send you text message updates.

Relationship Time
If FB has been a problem in your relationship, start rebuilding your FB time and get your partner involved in your facebooking. Sit together and check out your friends and family as a team. Instead of having it drive you two apart, find a way to have FB bring you together.

By Jennine Estes, MFT. Copyright © 2010 Jennine Estes, used with permission. All rights reserved.

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