Facebook: The Productivity Rabbit Hole & How I Found My Way Out

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I work freelance and consider myself a business, so I enjoy reading about successful entrepreneurs. I buy their memoirs, read articles about them, listen to their podcasts and interviews – I love stories about hard work paying off, because it motivates me to work hard myself.

One common theme I began to notice is that many of these people who excel in their field swear by having a morning routine. For many of them, this routine includes; meditation, exercise, coffee (or some kind of weird juice) before they start their daily business tasks.

I contemplated my own morning routine. Did I even have one? I guess I did. Most mornings consisted of; Waking up, walking my dog, making coffee and sipping it in front of my computer as I checked emails. That seemed reasonable enough, right?

But the following morning as I was going through these motions I realized that I’d actually left out a pretty big part of the routine…. Facebook.

Facebook was a much bigger part of my morning routine than I’d wanted to admit to myself. On a typical morning – if I’m being totally honest – reaching for my phone and opening the Facebook app was one of the very first things I did after opening my eyes!!! And I usually scroll through my feed again a few times on my walk as I wait for my dog to thoroughly sniff his favorite fire hydrants. Then I come home, make my coffee, and sure, I’ll open up my laptop and log into Gmail, but I’ll also open another browser window – For Facebook. I tell myself that I’ll just take a few minutes to scroll through my feed again before I answer all those emails.

But as I scroll through my feed, things don’t go according to plan. In fact, my thought process ends up sounding something like this:

Wow, there’s a pic of my friend Tom at the wrap party for his new TV show. I remember when we both moved to LA the same week and met in an improv class. He’s so successful now. Maybe I should’ve stuck with improv… But I didn’t like improv. Maybe I should’ve stuck with it anyway. Seems to have worked out for him.

More scrolling

Yikes, Another one of my younger sisters friends from high school is pregnant! That’s crazy. They are so young. Well, I guess they’re not that young anymore. What are they, 27? I guess that makes me 30. Oh no – maybe I should be having kids. But if I have kids I won’t be able to focus on my career. But then again, don’t your eggs start dying at 30? I need to look that up.

I open a new window in my internet browser and Google the cost of freezing eggs – Wayyyy too expensive. Back to Facebook.

Hmmm. Who is this guy popping up in my feed, posting about how great Donald Trump is? I don’t even remember meeting this guy! I should look through all his 417 Facebook photos to try and figure out how we met.

Before I know it, I’ve looked at 417 photos of a racist dude I probably never met, I’ve read a million articles about fertility health and I’m about to sign up online for an improv workshop that I have zero interest in.

I’ve also wasted at least an hour, (let’s be honest, probably two) looking at pointless stuff on the internet, when I could have been getting work done. And now it’s so much harder to motivate myself because I’m depressed and in a funk. So I’ll slowly drag myself to the shower, decide not to do any exercise – because what’s the point – and then try desperately to get some motivation back so that I can attempt to do a tiny bit of work.

It was pretty obvious. My morning habit of Facebook browsing was killing my productivity!

I should say though, that despite the negative effects FB can have on me, I also really love it. Often people post great articles and hilarious videos. Plus, it has awesome pages like “Humans of New York”, that make me feel inspired. FB is also how I recruit crew, locations and various other items for many of my film projects, and it’s a place for me to share my creative work with my peers. So I definitely didn’t want to cut Facebook out of my life completely!

I decided to start scheduling some time in the afternoon/early evening each day to peruse Facebook. This leaves my mornings, when I’m at my most creative, to get work done. So far, this has worked wonders for me! I make the most of the energy that I have in the mornings and I don’t feel bad about watching silly cat videos in the afternoon once I’ve completed all my daily tasks!

I know that many of us use social media to market our businesses or our careers and therefore it isn’t realistic to just spend one hour a day logged in to your account. But there are ways around this. Did you know that it is possible to schedule your posts on Facebook for any time of the day without actually being online? This is a great tool if you need to be posting a lot, but don’t want to get distracted by what everyone else is posting.

For me personally, it was all about starting my day in the right headspace. Not only can social media be distracting, but it also tempts you to compare yourself to others – And it’s easy to forget that you’re comparing yourself to the BEST version of others. The persona one portrays online is probably not what their real life looks like, so it’s unfair to compare your own life with all its flaws, to a perfectly curated version of someone else’s life. It makes you feel bad about yourself, which in my experience is terrible for motivation and productivity.

Start your day focusing on what YOU can do – not on what other people are doing.

Sophie Webb

About Sophie Webb

Sophie Webb is a filmmaker and performer from Sydney, Australia. She is passionate about microbudget filmmaking for its ability to open up the medium to a more diverse range of artists and storytellers. She now lives in LA and has directed several short films, music videos and most recently a microbudget feature. She is a proud member of Women In Film Los Angeles and her ultimate goal is to be a part of changing the way women and minorities are portrayed in mainstream media. Her all time favorite film directed by a woman is “Fish Tank” by Andrea Arnold.