We’ve all done it… You sit down to your computer ready to get to work. You decide to check email, or update your social media pages. The original thought is innocent— Just a quick check, speedy update, fast google search – oh but then – then, then, then…. TIME LAPSES SOMEHOW because “quick” turned into perusing (yep that’s right perusing). It’s such a nasty trap and we’ve all fallen in more than once— maybe even more then once a day! So how can we change this? (keep reading for my version of the answer)
A while back I put the question out there… “Is social media for or against you?” I loved reading the comments and seeing what everyone had to say! The undeniable fact is that time wasted is time lost. You can’t get it back and in this busy, ever moving, non-stop world that we live in, that’s just not an option that I can handle.
Here are five tips to help you make social media work for you instead of against you! Some of them may make perfect sense for you and others may be irrelevant, but hopefully you’ll be able to find something in this post that will help your productivity soar!
1. Stay Accountable! Want to know something really dorky about me? One day I was on the phone with my amazing sister telling her how messy my room was, that I’d been trying to clean it for a week but that I inevitably would end up side tracked on a tangent and forget about the cleaning project I was supposed to be conquering. While I was telling her this I got an idea! I told her to call me back in one hour and check my progress, then I hung up and took a little video clip of my appalling room and bathroom and sent it to her just so she could see for herself how horrifying it really was and this way she’s be impressed (I was hoping) with the progress I was about to make. One hour later… Before the phone had even rung I sent my sister a new video, this time my room was in perfect order and my bathroom was sparkling white again! All because of a little accountability! I decided to take this same principle and apply it to my computer! What you don’t realize can make you a fool! And when it come to knowing the truth about time wasters on the computer, many of us would rather be as ostrich. But I wanted to know. I reasoned that if I could see how much time I really was spending on blogs, facebook, websites, editing and email I’d be able to get a better handle on where I need to prioritize. So I installed Rescue Time. I’m sure there are many others that are great, this just happens to be the one I read some reviews on and decided to try. I’ve had it installed for a couple months now and I’ve made it a game to see if I’m more productive then the Rescue Time User Averages are… And guess what? I am!
2. Sit down with a Plan & Small Bursts! I thrive under pressure. It’s just something about me, when you give me all the time to accomplish a task… I’m completely indecisive, less creative and just not at peak performance. But when the pressure is on… I do so much better! I start realizing that if I had large blocks of time for work that distractions came even more frequent because I would reason that I had time for them. But when I give myself two to three hour blocks to accomplish a small list that I stay much more focused and my work is more creative as well!
3. Only one screen at a time. Picture this, you sit down to start editing yesterday’s session. You sort, you find and you get to work but before you know it you hear the ping, there it is – a new email. So you open email and click a link which take you to another link… And then you get an idea so you open word and you start a new document and you hit all screens to find that there are more screens up on your desktop then candles on your last birthday cake. These have all or could all become distractions! I am repeat offender of this one! Right now I have 10 screens up and that’s a pretty low number for me! So I’ve been trying really hard to finish projects, close out and start new. It’s a lot more enjoyable then the alternative which is that I have so many screens and so many half finished ideas open that my computer can’t handle it and freezes and all of it waves goodbye as I shed a tear and then reach for more chocolate.
4. Reward System. 45 minutes working – 15 minutes browsing. I do this with everything in my life. Whatever I want always has to come as a reward for something else. (I know I’m a bit odd!) So if I want to do a little DIY project I tell myself that the house has to be clean first or if I want to read a magazine I decide that it’s my reward for finishing the laundry… Seeing the pattern? Same with blog stalking. Once I get the sneak peak done or once I get the session sorted and sent for retouching then I get to research chevron curtains
5. Schedule Social Media Time! I know for many of you this is the worst time waster of all. Basically it’s this. You need to get strict with yourself! Set a social media schedule and stick to it! Use an egg timer if you have to and give yourself 15 minutes twice a day to update and check in. That may sound crazy to some of you but I hear the laments all the time… Facebook could just be the upset to the success of your business. I only check feeds on my phone and during down time. So like when I’m sitting in a doctors office, or waiting in line at the post office. That’s it, so it could be days in between. It’s not everyday but then I don’t really need to know that my friend Amy’s little guy pooed in the potty do I?
I’d love to know if you’re going to try any, already have, or would never dream of it…
Next I’m going to share my ideas on how to tame the ferocious 5 headed monster known as EMAIL.
Oh Leah, I needed this post tonight! Great advice that I am excited to try. I feel myself getting sucked into the virtual world. Love your suggestions. I’ll check back in and let you know how it’s going!! Thanks so much!
P.S. And with that, I’m getting off the computer now (10:46 p.m.) and getting myself to bed!!
Hurray for you! Hope you feel incredible rested and inspired tomorrow!
Love it. I used to always complain that my husband can’t multi-task. Then I learned it can be called switch tasking and about how much time we lose every time our mind has to change focus. But it’s sooooo hard to work on only one screen at a time!!
Great post! It’s something I find myself doing also; one link leads to the next and so on! I also had to laugh about “when the pressure is on” you are more creative! I am like that…I make things so hard on myself by waiting to the last second to do something, but I find that I am so much more creative! Thanks again for the great post and tips!
You’re very welcome! I wonder if creative people in general seem to work “better” under pressure or if we’ve convinced ourselves of that because we’re so good at getting ourselves into that situation. 🙂