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