Facebook Free for 30 DaysHave you ever wondered how much time you spend online? Much of my work is done online so I can easily justify being online for anywhere from 8-12 hours a day. How much of that time to I actually spend working, engaged in a productive activity that is somehow related to marketing, networking and/or social media? That answer is a bit more difficult to extrapolate. Frankly, I'm not sure I want to know.

On a daily basis, I keep Facebook running in the background at all times, in case I want to share an interesting article or video on my profile or on one of our 5 business pages. I use Facebook to find local events to submit to our Riviera Maya events calendar. I am a member of over a dozen regional interest and real estate groups which I follow to keep informed and to collect information to share with our marketing and sales staff. Facebook has become a legitimate tool in our marketing arsenal, one we have come to depend on in our daily efforts.

Everyday my email is jammed with tips and tricks from today's social media gurus telling me how to best utilize Facebook to "reach my audience", "create dynamic content" and "encourage engagement". Clearly Facebook is here to stay and I had better be sure I am up to date on the best practices...or else!

Last summer, during our yearly sojourn to visit family and friends in the United States, feeling confident in the skills of my social media staff, I turned off all of my Facebook notifications with the exception of those coming from personal messages sent to me via my profile. Everything else, I shut off....all the tag notifications, the group emails...everything. You know what I learned? Those notifications are the secret to Facebook's success. Without the incessant emails, the reminders, the nagging...I rarely logged in at all. I passed a month of vacation averaging only about 2 hours online every day. I answered my emails, downloaded my daily photos and even uploaded them to my Facebook profile all in just two hours a day. What did I do with the rest of my time? I had fun with my kids. I visited my friends. I went for walks. I read articles. I shopped. I organized my work strategies to apply upon my return to Mexico. I was pretty damn productive.

After a month essentially Facebook free, I came home rejuvenated, full of fresh ideas and a clear plan on how to execute them. One month free of the Facebook distraction had given me a whole new lease on life.

Four months later, and approximately 12,000 friendly Facebook reminders later, I'm back in the unproductive rut I started in.

Don't get me wrong. I really enjoy Facebook. I use it personally and professionally and I can think of 100 reasons why Facebook and social media platforms in general are a great thing. I just wonder if for me, with my OCD leanings, Facebook might not end up being more of a distraction than I can manage. So, I'm out.

Facebook Free for 30 DaysStarting January 1, 2013, I am going Facebook Free for 30 Days. I am turning off all of my notifications. Cutting the cord. Going cold turkey. I am entrusting my admins and social media staff to do their job well and distribute the content that I and our other writers create. Just be make sure I don't find convenient substitutions for my Facebook dependency, I am also steering clear of Twitter and limiting my time on Pinterest. The forum members on playa.info and In the Roo may have to live without my occasional postings as well.

What am I going to do with the all my free time? I'm not sure. I imagine it is going to take a few days before I figure that out. Hopefully, I will have something interesting to report about on the blog...even if it is only interesting to me. I am also hoping to set a better example for my children. While at ages 9 and 11, neither is old enough for their own Facebook account, they certainly see me spending a lot of time there, making it more interesting and enticing than it need be. I think my free time could be better used with my nose buried in a book, a much better example for my children to follow.

So that's the plan. For the next month, starting January 1st, if you need to contact me it's email and cell phone only. If anyone wants to join me on this quest, leave me a comment with a link to your blog so I can follow your exploits. I could use the moral support! Wish me luck!


Michele Kinnon

I moved to Mexico with my family in 2004 with the hope of offering our children a more global education and world view. Since then, we have traveled through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, gathering friends and life experiences and learning a lot about ourselves along the way. When we are not out and about exploring, Rob and I own and operate BuyPlaya, a Playa del Carmen real estate company and FurnitureMex. "Life's a Beach" is a catch-all blog where you may find anything from restaurant reviews, to recipes, gardening tips, commentary about expat daily life, local events, information about moving to Mexico and educating children in Playa del Carmen. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and .