The Trap of Social Media

Just some days ago, a friend and I were discussing “how much social media is too much” to which I responded like this: “When you go to Facebook to post a post (pun intended) and you do everything but that and forget what you initially came for… ha-ha”

I laughed indeed, but it is not that funny. Social media are an amazing sucker of time and efforts and can get you into an enchanted vortex whose overseers are the mighty Scylla and Charybdis.

I catch myself swimming against the tide quite often. Yes, it’s true it’s inevitable to not be on them today, especially if you have a blog or, virtually, anything online. Without promoting your stuff through these channels, it’s much more challenging for people to find the awesome article you have constructed after days of thinking, resizing of photos, and configuring the post to match readability and SEO.

While you are pinning that image, you go to Google to check something, and then you notice two comments on your G+ account which you open, then your Instagram rings and you start responding there. At some point, you have completely forgotten what you wanted to do in the first place.

I am telling you, if every time I clicked on something (probably most of the time irrelevant) I received one cent, I would be a billionaire. But I guess, swarms of people would be in that club, too.

If you are not careful enough, they (social media) can suck your time quite easily, and you won’t be able to do your actual work — unless it revolves around these social media, indeed.

Every medium is becoming more and more engaging, business-related, and offers tonnes of opportunities to grow your business — regardless of your niche.

Nevertheless, there is a myriad of attention-grabbing things which can bring you back to that enchanted vortex.

So, I browsed through the web and found some helpful applications.

Social Media Blockers or Controllers

*Disclaimer — I am just mentioning some brands as a part of my research for writing this article. None of these companies has contacted me for a (sponsored) review or anything of that sort.

There are mobile apps that can limit your online presence on social media to a set number of hours per day. Some of them, such as Moment (only available for iOS), follow your device usage and overload you with notifications and exasperating alerts when you exceed your set time.

If you are a real Instagram “freak” and you need to get unplugged the hard way, Flipd (only for Android users) will lock your phone if you exceed your set usage. What’s even more — it won’t allow you to come back even if you restart your phone. The best thing about it is that you are capable of “unplugging” one user from another user’s mobile device — beneficial for team spirit.

The apps, mentioned above, are mobile only. There is a programme that bars you from using social media on both your desktop and mobile devices. In order to maximally improve your productivity, it can also block other websites.

Another very valuable programme is Rescue Time which, at the end of your day, provides you with a readout of your activities on the web.

I’ve been chatting with my friends about this topic. I strongly believe that there is hardly a person on this world that works more than four-five hours out of an eight-hour working day. Most of them strongly disagreed, claiming to work at least six or even seven hours.

Getting this programme will convince them and you (if you are also an adamant believer of utilising your time to the fullest) that this is closer to the truth.

However, if your work gravitates around social media, then this is quite different. You may want to try Hootsuite for scheduling posts on, collaborate or engage with different social media channels.

Finally, users of Google Chrome can make their lives easier by installing StayFocusd.

To avoid looking like that when another Social Media knocks at your door, claiming to be Erica, look below for some helpful tips.

Advice

As a conclusion, here are some (brilliant) ideas on how to limit your social media distraction and, hopefully, increase productivity.

  • If you are a blogger, such as me, having at least several social media is an indispensable part of your website. Ideally, you would like to promote and upgrade all of your channels. But, since we are not capable of satiating the voracious hunger of all those channels, I suggest working on MAXIMUM two per week (this does not mean neglect all others, just focus on two). Then, switch and switch. For instance, this week, I am mainly participating in Pinterest threads and posting photos on G+. Next week, I will focus on Twitter and Facebook more, etc.
  • If you are not a blogger or your business/work is not quite related to social media, my suggestion would be to work for at least 45–60 minutes straight and then open Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Before I turned out to be a blogger, I found this method to work much better than keeping your social media windows open and constantly responding to notifications.
  • If you cannot keep up with point 2, you can jump to the apps and programmes I mentioned above, but be careful as some, as I said, can block your social media which can be bitter if you really need them at some point and cannot access them.
  • Also, many websites have desktop notifications and, when allowed, they might become a huge interference with your workflow. If you turn them off + those of mobile devices, that can hugely boost your concentration.
  • If you plan only on posting on your social media channels, a bright idea is to turn off your news feed. On the other hand, sometimes I derive benefit from the posts of others in terms of ideas, inspiration, etc.
  • And, as a grand finale, I would recommend, in general, being happy and positive, and trying to work out/go out for a walk every once an hour. I have had great ideas pop up in my mind while I am strolling around my living room, singing in the bathroom (do you sing there?), or admiring the mountains from my balcony.

It’s inspiring, isn’t it?

What are your tips? How do you deal with the social media overload?

*Originally posted here.