Managing Facebook

Social media can be a curse and a blessing. To me, is the connection to old friends, to like-minded people, and a way to hear about events. But at the same time there is the constant danger of it taking too much of my daily focus and become a serious distraction.

Mobile (Android)

Here I decided that I only want Messenger, and only at certain times. Any page or group activity can wait until I’m at my computer.

So what I do is:

  • I block the Messenger app at certain times of the day using the Block app.
  • In the phone’s notification settings, I set notification priority to low (or disable them completely). What I really want is notifications only during certain times of the day, i.e. not until after meditation and workout in the morning, but I haven’t managed to do this yet. (Blocked apps still send notifications.)
Notification settings
  • I use Firefox as my main mobile browser, with the LeechBlock and uBlock Origin extensions (in the same way as on desktop, see below)
  • I block all other mobile browsers (Chrome) with the Block app
  • My phone shuts down and starts up automatically, so I have a set time at night where I simply don’t use my phone. On my system, this is under Settings -> Advanced -> Scheduled power on/off.
Power on/off settings

Desktop (Mac)

On Desktop, the most distracting thing is the feed on the start page. What I basically want is access to messages, events and groups. (Maybe access to profile pages some of the time.) Here are some things I do or did:

  • I created a separate user on my computer called “Zeitschleuder” (time waster). (and others) are only unblocked there, not on my main user or work user account. Bonus points if you set the user password to a complete sentence that reminds you of your best intentions.
  • I use a Pomodoro timer app called Be Focused (in pro version) to pretty much timebox everything I do on the computer. It helps to think: “Ok, now I have 25 min for social stuff.” It updates across users on my computer.
  • A few years back I went through the effort of un-following everyone and everything on Facebook. I can still access profiles whenever I want to, but they aren’t in my face. I am in charge. This took me a couple of hours to set up I think. Depending on the amount of friends and page likes, this might be a worthy investment. More below.
  • I changed the Facebook password to a whole sentence that reminded me of my intentions, and made sure I logged out at the end of each session, without saving the password. (Now, with all other measures in place, I don’t log out every time any more.)
  • I use Firefox with the LeechBlock and uBlock Origin add-ons. See below.
  • I block Facebook completely in any other browser I might have.
  • My computer also shuts down and wakes up automatically.

Unfollowing on Facebook

To do this, go to the top right corner on Facebook and hit the ‘▼’ arrow icon. Then choose “News Feed Preferences” and then “Unfollow people and groups to hide their posts”. Now simply click on all people and pages until there are no more 🙂

Also every time I add a new friend or page, I unfollow them right away, even if they are super interesting – or: especially when they are super interesting 🙂

Block in Browser

I initially used uBlock Origin for blocking, but have moved most blocking functionality over to LeechBlock. I use uBlock Origin now mostly for YouTube, where I use it to block elements on the start page, the right column with suggested videos and the comments. That way I can watch any video, but don’t get into the trap of watching ten videos instead of one. Go to this page to see how to block elements on a page.

LeechBlock is better (nicer looking and stricter) at blocking complete pages. The setup I have is this:

So like this:

You can of course choose to put e.g. in a separate settings tab and only allow it at certain times of the day.

In the “General” section, you can also set how to unblock a page (or make sure to not change the settings in a weak moment).


Maybe some of this helps you, too 🙂

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