There’s nothing inherently wrong with reading Facebook, unless you’d rather be reading a good book instead (and that whole fake news problem.) Luckily, the habit loop, which David Kadavy describes as the “habit hook” in his post, holds the key to breaking that Facebook habit and replacing it with a reading one.
Photo by Michael Mol.
Put simply, you need to identify the trigger that makes you want to check Facebook first. Whether it’s simple boredom, walking onto a train on the way home, anxiety about what’s going on in the world, or simple procrastination, identify that trigger first. Then, give yourself permission to read “micro chunks” of a book. You don’t need to read entire chapters or passages to make reading worthwhile. A few paragraphs here or there is enough depending on the time you have to spare.
Then, as Kadavy says, “hijack your trigger.” He explains:
Every time you feel your Facebook Trigger, instead of reaching for your mobile device, grab a book. It’s best if it’s a physical book at first, because a mobile device is too tempting. If you have to use a mobile, rearrange your icons so Facebook is hidden, and Kindle is prominent.
I’d go a step further and note that if a mobile device is all you have on you, consider reading ebooks. Whether you read through the Kindle app, just pick up a PDF of your favourite books and read on the train home, or use some other method, move that Facebook icon out of sight and replace it with your favourite ereader app (ours is Google Play Books for Android and Kindle for iOS, predictably) instead.
Then, all you need to do is get reading. Make the Facebook app difficult enough to find that you think about reading a book before you open it, or better yet, uninstall it completely and reap the battery savings. Of course, if your distracting app isn’t Facebook, but Twitter, let’s say, you can follow the same steps for that instead. Feel free to replace with whatever distraction you’d rather do without, and replace with a better habit — like reading.