Social Media: The king of Time Wasters

You know it’s a distraction, but you can’t help yourself, you know you’re wasting time you just can’t drag yourself away from that latest Facebook game that your friend invited you to try. You were only going to see what it was like, but three hours later, it has your undivided attention, or maybe it’s those beautiful photos of delicious looking desserts you would love to find the time to make, but somehow you never get round to it. Even worse, you may be one of those people who make a living online, in which case you are able to justify anytime you spend on social media as being “work.”

I mean let’s face it we are always being told that we have to market our businesses on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, aren’t we?

I would agree wholeheartedly that when used correctly, social media can indeed be a very powerful marketing technique and one that both online and offline business owners should explore, unfortunately it’s also a truism that much of what we do on these sites is most definitely is not work related. But separating work and personal time spent on social media is tough.

Schedule Social Media Time

I am in no way advocating that all social media is bad. If like me you have family and friends in far off places, it’s a great way to stay in touch, and yes, it’s an important business-building tool as well. So with that in mind don’t try to get rid of it all together, instead why not aim to schedule a specific time of day for it on a regular basis?

Why not consider catching up on your Facebook news feed whilst your having a coffee, then log out and get back to work, browse those lovely pictures on Pinterest while you eat lunch. Schedule time in your day for proper work-related social media tasks, such as updating your business pages, responding to questions, and checking up on your competitors. The key here is to actually schedule time for this, just as you would any other business-related task, and not to let this “work time” turn into a chat with your best friend about what they got up to last night.

Segregate Your Social Media Tools

One way successful entrepreneurs and business owners separate work from play is through the tools they use for example they will not have personal social media profiles on their office computers and so they avoid Facebook and the like because they’re working. Instead, they limit their use of their personal social media to off hours by only visiting the sites on their mobile phones or tablets.

If you were to adopt this type of thinking you would find that after a few weeks, you have created boundaries in your mind and you’d no more think of logging into your personal Facebook page from the office computer than you would wear your slippers to work. The two activities just don’t go together

Social Media – Let Someone Else Handle It

If you really can’t stay focused on work once you’ve logged into Pinterest or Facebook (they’re just so distracting!) consider letting someone else handle your social media accounts. Consider working with a virtual Assistant (VA). You create updates ahead of time, perhaps in blocks of time twice a week, then give them to your VA to schedule on your behalf. Then once a day or so (maybe from your iPad rather than your office) you can log in and respond to your followers.

Finally, if you’re using social media primarily for personal reasons, rather than as a business marketing tool, take a break from it completely, (you may suffer withdrawal symptoms). Make a deal with yourself that you will not log in or check any social media site for a day or a week or be really brave and go for a month. You might just be surprised to see how much time you really do waste playing Candy Crush, Farm Hero Saga or any of the other latest game crazes.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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6 thoughts on “Social Media: The king of Time Wasters

  1. Bwhahahaha ! You’re talking to someone who has managed to convince everyone (including herself) that her social media addiction is a good thing 😛

    Yet you’re totally correct. Even someone as addicted (and ‘online’) as myself will schedule time. I will step away from it for a day or two here and there because I’ve used the power of Buffer to pre-schedule post/tweets.

    I also am a big advocate of only using those social media platforms that are conductive to you building your business. You do NOT have to be on everything – only be where you need to be for your business.

    Lastly, I agree 100% on out-sourcing. If you cannot afford a social media agency, look around for someone who is skilled in social media who would be happy to do a service swap deal (they offer their services in social media in return for any services you can offer them).
    Lady Vee ( Stripper Like Confidence & Sensuality Coach ) recently posted…It’s time to go……. Lady Vee !My Profile

  2. Great post Mike. There are some great tools out there to help you schedule your Facebook – BufferApp and Triberr are fantastic examples! 20 mins at the weekend and your social media is sorted out for the week!

  3. Mike, I recently heard to not put any social media icons on your first page of your web site. This tends to make people click on the icons to go to social media and “off” your web site. Great article and I love your branding Mike.