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The Social Media Time Suck and How to Avoid It
At first, it was just web browsing that ate your productivity, then it was email, and now with social media it's mushroomed into an all-consuming black hole. Or at least, that's how it can seem.
Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Google+. And the list goes on...
At first, it was just web browsing that ate your productivity, then it was email, and now with social media it's mushroomed into an all-consuming black hole. Or at least, that's how it can seem. Without a doubt, social media has changed our communication landscape. And whether you use social media for business or personal use, you've probably noticed how much of your time can go down the rabbit hole of social media.
Ideally, you're using these tools personally for fun, and if you're using them for business, they are generating leads or they're helping you engage your community. Either way, there are strategies and tools that can help with your social media time management.
Compartmentalize. Decide how much time you want to spend on social media weekly or daily, and then schedule a set time each day when you will check up on your Facebook page, read your Twitter feed, and see what's happening on LinkedIn. Just because social media CAN be accessed continuously, definitely does not mean that it SHOULD be accessed continuously. In fact, leaving email, social media, and other tools that ping you for your attention open all long can be a huge distraction and can sap your productivity tremendously. If it's helpful, you can even use a timer, like in the Pomodoro Technique, to help you hold the time container you've set for managing your social media.
There are a laundry list of available social media platforms. Don't feel obligated to be on every platform - choose which ones you like and spend your precious time there. Are you mostly interested in professional networking? LinkedIn is for you. Want to check out what your friends are up to or engage in a multimedia conversation with your community? Facebook is probably where you'll want to be. Or do you just want short updates on what people are up to? Try Twitter.
Even though tools all fall under the social media umbrella, they are decidedly different from each other. Choose the one you like and/or where your people are, and devote time to building your presence. And, if you don't like social media, remember, being on it at all is OPTIONAL! If you don't enjoy being on it, your messages will seem inauthentic. Better to find another way to engage with people.
Use tools. There are many tools designed to help you manage your social media. If you have downtime while on the bus or train, download a mobile application to help you make the most of your commute. If you are reading and responding to social media at your desk, save time by using a web application like Postling or Sprout Social to centralize and consolidate your various networks. Getting all your social media onto one screen gives you fewer sites to visit and fewer tasks to keep track of.
Remember, you are in control when it comes to social media and time management.
Unless it's your job to manage your company's social media presence, I doubt you want to spend your entire day on social media - you probably have other priorities you'd like get to!
Try some of the strategies listed above, and if you have ideas on managing social media, please sound off in the comments!
Learn more about the author, Joshua Zerkel.
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- time management