Solve Your Work and Life Balance to Rescue ‘Me’

Productivity hacks save wear and tear and relieve life’s stresses

Man balancing on rope over a ravine.
Man balancing on rope over a ravine.
Photo by Loic Leray on Unsplash

here is work, and there is overworked. Whether through unbridled enthusiasm or the crush of business, work-life balance can take a beating.

This is an occupational hazard for social media marketers such as Jake Zachariah, who specializes in leadership and personal branding, and digital marketing expert Madalyn Sklar.

Both of them spend a lot of time on Twitter. Sklar might well have a tattoo that states, “Power User.” Zachariah also stays busy online. Fortunately for them, they have mastered the appearance of hyperactivity while carving out welcome “me” time.

If you’re constantly on Twitter, your work and regular life might be out of balance unless being on Twitter is part of your job. Even then, it’s probably not your whole job. You might need a break or an intervention.

“I daily block off time for rest and personal life,” Zachariah said. “You can’t be constantly connected without space to breathe. Remember ‘Do Not Disturb’ on your phone along with screen time restrictions to automate quiet time from the noise.

“Many systems create their own kind of chaos and anxiety, for sure,” he said. “Recognizing where you find anxiety is a great first step. Knowing which areas cause energy drain and which areas do not is important to diagnosing if there’s even a problem.”

One challenge is when temptation looms almost always within eyesight.

“Work-life balance is difficult when we’re constantly connected to platforms like Twitter since it’s always accessible on our smartphones,” Sklar said. “We have to be wise about how we’re spending our time instead of scrolling and consuming content for hours on end.”

Strike a balance for productivity

Online productivity helps maintain balance. One example is time spent retweeting, quote tweeting and the difference between them.

Retweet as a quote is better because a mere retweet is a simple-non-involved push of a button. Adding a quote takes more effort while showing that you care. Of course, writing quotes takes more time.

“When I had a smaller audience, I would reply to tweets more to find cool people,” Zachariah said. “Now that I have a few more followers, I love to use quote tweets to expand the audience and involve more people.”

Weighing the personal touch is a key factor.

“I mostly reply to tweets because the conversation is between me and the other person,” Sklar said. “From time to time I do a retweet with a quote because I want to be sure to share the conversation with my community.”

She has published an article discussing replies compared to quote tweets.

Another way to save time online while getting maximum engagement is through polls.

“There are many ways you can use a Twitter poll,” said Nick Martin, head of global social engagement at Hootsuite, giving a couple examples:

  • You can stay top of mind with a fun poll: Is hot dog a sandwich?
  • You can be conversational: Which season do you prefer?

“I love the idea of playing games in the polls,” Zachariah said. “I have used them to play two truths and a lie to get people to know me and our staff better.”

Fun with engagement

Sklar suggested four ways to use Twitter polls:

  • Determine Your Audience’s Interests
  • Get Feedback for an Upcoming Idea
  • Have Industry-Related Discussions
  • Learn More About Your Audience With Entertaining Questions

A Hootsuite article details “How to Use Twitter Polls to Boost Engagement (Ideas and Examples).”

Sklar also uses Twitter polls to get feedback on an idea and learn more about her audience through entertaining questions.

With all that, people should not live, eat and breathe social media without a break.

“We all need rest,” Zachariah said. “As cool as our brains are, they aren’t meant to always be on. Why do your best ideas come in the shower or at 2 a.m.? Because you aren’t pressuring yourself to perform. Rest well for better ideas.

“The entire point of social media algorithms is to keep you on,” he said. “Without rest, you’re really being influenced at a psychological level. That’s not healthy in extremes.”

Sklar emphasized how important it is to disconnect for everyone’s mental health.

“It’s not good to be so consumed in what everyone else is doing or sharing,” she said. “You’re not going to miss anything that important if you step away for a little while.

“Always allow yourself time away from social media to rest and recharge,” Sklar said. “It’s easy to get caught up in the opinions of others and general negativity online. Sometimes you just need to be by yourself and shut out the outside world. I do this on the weekends.”

Being there when you’re not

Going back to draw on oldies-but-goodies evergreen content gives you a Twitter presence without having to do much work.

“Transparency about taking time off and rest,” Zachariah said. “Be honest that you need the time off. Someone else reading may feel inspired to take some time off and balance their work-life schedule a bit more because of what you share.”

Announce your intent to take a break. Then follow through.

“Don’t be afraid to let people know when you’re taking a break from social media,” Sklar said. “This way, they’ll know you aren’t actively online and checking your notifications. They won’t expect a response from you right away.

“You can also share ‘real life’ content mixed in with business posts to show people what you get up to when you’re not working,” she said. “It just might inspire them to take a work break of their own. I’m all about repurposing your best, evergreen content. It helps take a load off so you can achieve work-life balance.”

In the good old days, online work and play could turn into real-life work and play. Those days might return … sometime.

“Prevent burnout to avoid subpar content,” Zachariah said. “The more stressed out and anxious you are, the lower quality will be for your content and replies. Your engagement suffers. Your relationships suffer. If you’re overwhelmed and ‘go dark,’ that’s not good.

“I love the idea of life-work balance instead of work-life balance,” he said. “That’s a simple shift with a drastically different outcome.”

Pump the brakes

Sklar has reinforced her beliefs for constructive pauses through three decades of experience.

“As a social media marketer, I see the value in social media for building your brand,” she said. “However, I also understand the importance of taking time off. Scheduling content ahead of time allows me to do this while ensuring I always have new content going out.”

To mindfully reduce time spent on social media, block out an hour or so in the morning to load a day’s worth of tweets on TweetDeck. Then you could scoot out for a day or weekend with few being the wiser.

“Set screen time limits and schedule posts,” Zachariah said. “I’ve used Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule stuff so I can focus on ‘me’ time. I love screen time on my devices to limit my exposure to the addiction of always being connected.

“The schedule helps so much,” he said. “You know you’re getting the content out there without always running around to create it.”

An easy solution is to cut off notifications.

“That’s 100 percent the best way to do it,” Zachariah said. “Being mindful about your time on social media is as important as being mindful about your time with family. Notifications are the worst. You can create and schedule for later, and rest instead.”

Sklar is one of screen time’s biggest fans.

“If you have an iPhone, the screen time feature can help you reduce the amount of time you’re spending on social media and on your phone in general,” she said. “You can use screen time to set time limits for specific apps like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and any others you find yourself using a lot.”

Stand fast on boundaries

Make your calendar your best friend. Listen to what it says to make sure you’re home on time.

“To set boundaries, start small and adjust based on how you feel,” Zachariah said. “If you’re not feeling a work-life balance right now, you’re not going to feel it magically tomorrow after setting boundaries. Constantly evaluate. Give it time. Adjust and improve.

“Give yourself a schedule to check Twitter and other social media or work,” he said. “Block off small portions of time at first and adjust as you grow comfortable with setting boundaries. Forgive yourself for past stumbles and make one small change. You don’t need to be perfect right now. Make that one small change and stick to it.”

Muting is also a powerful tool for peace of mind.

“I have hundreds — and hundreds and hundreds — of muted words,” Zachariah said. “Don’t get dragged into content and conversations you don’t want to have. I love Twitter but only because I muted the yucky stuff.”

Blocking time might be the ultimate productivity hack.

“It’s beneficial to set certain times during the day to log onto Twitter,” Sklar said. “Then you’ll be less likely to check notifications randomly throughout the day. Maybe set Twitter check-ins for the morning, mid-day and evening.”

Networks as comfort zones

Connecting with and using social media networks can be play time. Get down to work much later as you get acquainted with others. Aim for casual know, like and trust before you ever get to the world of marketing.

“Link up with people who value a work-life balance,” Zachariah said. “It also can be the ‘life’ part of the balance. I’ve met so many friends through Twitter. It helps to carry those connections away from the social platform to boost the rest of life’s pleasures.”

Rather than building anxiety, going online can be a welcome relief valve.

“For many people, social media is actually a way to de-stress after a long day,” Sklar said. “Who doesn’t want to go online and watch a few funny videos after a day of work? How you spend your time on social media doesn’t always have to be work-related.”

Avoiding Twitter burnout is as easy — and hard — as putting the phone down.

“Limit how much time you spend on Twitter each day,” Sklar said. “If you allow yourself hours to scroll through your feed, you’ll probably do it. Give yourself a certain amount of social media time. Then when that time is up, go do something else.”

Attend instead to physical betterment.

“Take care of your body: eat, sleep, exercise,” Zachariah said. “Then set time limits. Don’t check social first thing after you wake up. Give yourself some quiet ‘me’ time. Then get ready for your day — and don’t check social last before going to sleep.

“Also remember that you can easily follow too many accounts, “he said. “There’s only so many people who realistically fit in your brain space. You can’t know it all. Above all, mute the trolls.”

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Curious

Find out what others have already figured out. Follow our publication to join our community.

Jim Katzaman - Get Out of Debt

Written by

Helping Americans shave years off of debt, cut thousands of dollars in interest, increase lifestyles and save for secure #retirement. largofinancialservices.com

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

Jim Katzaman - Get Out of Debt

Written by

Helping Americans shave years off of debt, cut thousands of dollars in interest, increase lifestyles and save for secure #retirement. largofinancialservices.com

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store