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VOL. 130 | NO. 102 | Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Take a Break From Facebook

PATRICK TAMBURRINO | Special to The Daily News

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Patrick Tamburrino

I recently took a hiatus from Facebook. Once I was removed from my newsfeed’s constant updates, I was able to better focus on the dozens of other things that require my attention throughout the day.

In today’s digital world, the steady stream of content at your fingerprints can lead to information (and distraction) overload. After being interrupted, it takes 23 minutes on average to return to the original task, according to University of California, Irvine’s Gloria Mark, who studies digital distraction.

Taking a timeout from the world’s largest social networking site is also probably good for your health. A recent California State University, Fullerton study found parallels in the brain patterns of compulsive Facebook users and substance abusers.

If you can’t go cold turkey from Facebook like I did, here are some ways you can unplug, or at least occasionally reduce your use:

Vacation. Resist the urge to “check-in” in real time when off the clock and out of the office. You can always upload an entire album of the trip once you return, and that way you’re not clogging a friend’s newsfeed throughout your trip. Posting constant reminders that you’re away from home is also not wise from a security standpoint.

During a key deadline. Consider logging off or even deactivating your Facebook account if you’re working on a hot project for hours, days or weeks at a time. It’s OK for a mental break or two during the workday, but when a report is due or you’re preparing for a big call, empower yourself to power through by eliminating all possible disruptions.

After dinner. New research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that reading on screens before bedtime can have a detrimental impact on your health. Compared to traditional book readers, iPad readers took longer to fall asleep and had shorter REM cycles. Make an effort to shut down your light-emitting device at least an hour before bedtime for maximum alertness the next day.

#FOMO. This new popular hashtag denotes “fear of missing out.” Those cat videos and sunset pictures will still be there later. If it’s trending or well-liked amongst whom you follow, Facebook’s algorithms will find a way to get that content in front of you, even if it’s a day or two after the original post.

Whether you pump the breaks on Facebook for an extended amount of time or opt to be more mindful of your use during particular timeslots throughout your day, you might be surprised that you don’t miss it. Try folding the above tips into your routine if you feel yourself procrastinating or not being in the moment. Facebook will always be there patiently waiting for your return.

Patrick Tamburrino is the president of tamburrino inc., an IT strategy, support and management company in Memphis. He can be reached at patrick@tamburrino.com or Facebook.com/TamburrinoInc.

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