Quick Happiness Hack: Take Facebook off your phone


Like several people I know, I’ve long had a weird, kinda love-hate relationship with Facebook. To wit?

So if you go back and forth on liking, loving, hating, and weeping over Facebook — well, what do you do?

My Christmas morning Uber story

I wrote a few weeks back about how 2015 was one of the worst years of my life, and I’m happy to report that 2016 — through 1/2 of 1 month — is going better. That’s for another post, though.

On Christmas morning 2015, I had to take an Uber from Queens (NYC), where I was staying, to the Upper East Side of NYC (where my parents live). I ended up taking it solo because my wife was (a) sick and (b) we got in a fight, so I was sitting in this Uber, on Christmas morning, under the elevated Astoria subway tracks, basically like “Man, my life is Turd City.”

I’ll go ahead and say that I maybe cried a little bit in this context, but I also knew I had to go deal with my parents, right? So I shifted into this mode of thinking, “Is there an immediate thing I could do to make this better?”

Because it was the end of 2015, I did what most people would do: I reached into my pocket and grabbed my phone. And … that’s why Apple is eventually going to be a trillion-dollar company.

I was going to Google something about sadness, depression, holiday depression, improving your life, life hacks, etc. We were basically sitting in traffic because my Uber driver couldn’t hit a pretty simple left turn across two lanes, so I’m staring at my phone and hoping the ghost of Steve Jobs magically provides me some answer, right?

At the time, I had Facebook on my second screen (one swipe over). I swiped and I see it there, and because I’m sitting in traffic and I’m bored/depressed, of course my thumb goes right over it, and I’m about to hit it and see all the Christmas morning posts with my friends’ kids and families and everyone talking about how blessed they are and all that, and meanwhile I’m half-crying in a Town Car in Queens, yea?

So instead of opening it, I deleted it. Not my account. Just the app. That was about noon maybe on December 25, 2015. It’s now about 9am CT on January 16, 2016 and I still don’t have the app. (I have Messenger, though, but that’s just to randomly message people periodically.)

The values of deleting the Facebook App

Here’s what I got for you:

  • We all fear FOMO, but it’s not real FOMO — you still have an account, but you just check it sometimes if you’re near a comp/laptop
  • I did some personal analytics work on myself and realized most of my mobile FB usage was coming when I was bored, or solo, or waiting for someone — and those times can be a little down/sad/depressive anyway, so it was only getting exacerbated
  • I took a bunch of stuff off my lock screen at the same time, so I basically have no notifications if I’m out doing something else of value; this reduces the push-pull deal
  • When you’re ‘out and about,’ you have this sensation that there’s probably some world happening over there on FB — and hey, you’re a part of it (you have an account), but you choose not to be an active part of it (checking all the time on a phone), and that’s chill
  • I realize me being 35 is why I’m writing this post about FB and not Insta or Snapchat, right?

So if you think Facebook is bringing you down a bit, try this as a first step: just remove it from your phone. That’s it. Done.

Ted Bauer

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