When I was little, my favorite phrase must have been “I’m bored.” I used it all the time. Now I can’t even remember the last time I was bored. I always seem to have something to do, but more often than not that something to do is pretty routine. Maybe I’m not bored, but doing the same things over and over can get pretty darn monotonous so finding new and interesting things to do is important.
Now I can’t take credit for this tip entirely. It actually came from Kendra Wright in episode 83 of the Productivity Show Podcast, where she shared her Facebook “hack”. The one reason I haven’t abandoned Facebook entirely is events, and it turns out, if you take some time up front, the events feed in Facebook can be an incredibly powerful tool for finding cool things to do. Thankfully, this tip actually requires very little interaction with Facebook after the initial set up. (Another bonus given that I’m trying to reduce my time on Facebook.)
So first things first, go to your Likes page and unlike anything you don’t actually like. If you’re like me, you’ll find quite a few things you don’t even remember liking (e.g. that group about how Nickelodeon shows of the 90s were awesome), and quite a few more that you only liked because you had to (e.g. giveaway entries). Whether this actually helps in this tip is debatable, but you’ll need to be in your likes section for the next step, so you might as well clear it out while you’re there.
Go through your Likes page and subscribe to the events for your favorite places, bands, and brands. Not all of my likes had this option, but most did. Now any time your favorite restaurant, band or whatever, has an event nearby it’ll show up in your events feed along with a few other suggestions based on some Facebook algorithm. Chances are going through this process will remind you of a few other places you might want to follow too. If you’re interested in their events, follow them too. (Remember, you’re not actually committing to all these events. You’re just making a list of potential things to do.)
With your events feed pulling in a ton of cool things to do, you’re almost done with the Facebook part. The last step is to grab your events calendar feed from the Events page. It’s on the right hand side towards the bottom and looks like this:
I use Google Calendar as the backend for all my calendaring needs, so I subscribed to it there, but you can use whatever calendaring app you want. Most should support it. Along with the Facebook Events Calendar, I also subscribed to calendars for my favorite sports teams. Just add them by clicking Browse Interesting Calendars. For added ambiance, I set the color of the calendar to match the team colors. (Note: these are read-only calendars. Information only syncs one way – to you. You cannot change events on these calendars.)
Now if you use Google Calendar, you likely already know that calendars can be toggled on or off. Kendra’s workflow consists of toggling the Facebook calendar on to check for possible things to do when she does her weekly planning. When she find’s something, she copies the event to her own calendar. If you only use Google Calendar, you’re done here.
I manage my calendars through Fantastical, which lets you make “calendar sets,” to quickly toggle multiple calendars on or off. It’s the calendar sets that makes this tip even better for me. I set up a “Sports & Events” set that toggles off all calendars except for sports, birthdays, and Facebook events all at once.
Like Kendra, if I’m planning or just trying to find something interesting to do, I just switch to the Sports & Events set. If something catches my eye, I can right click the event and select the “Duplicate” option to automatically add that event to my own calendar, bringing over any event info with it. Admittedly, my favorite part of this workflow is that one of my last remaining reasons to visit Facebook, finding events, is gone.