Contributed by Jeanette Gardiner
Note: This is the final article in my five-part productivity series. For access to the entire series and journal exercises in one convenient .pdf workbook (free), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the must-have marketing tools I recommend for my clients is social media. Social media networks can help you:
• Nurture relationships with your community.
• Grow your business.
• Stay on the cutting edge of your industry.
• Communicate in real time.
• Quickly receive feedback from your community.
But the downside of using social media is that it can quickly turn into time quicksand. You may log on to post a quick update and before you know it, you’re still browsing three hours later.
Social media is too valuable a marketing tool for most small business owners to stop using it altogether, but that doesn’t mean you have to be consumed by it.
To help you stay out of social media quicksand, use these four productivity tips to manage your accounts more effectively.
Use Apps to Track Your Time:
Do you really know how much time you’re spending on networks like Facebook and Twitter? You may be surprised. To help you acknowledge your social media habits, monitor the amount of time you spend by installing time tracking software on your laptop or computer. There are several out there, including:
• RescueTime (free & paid versions)
• TopTracker (free)
• Due Time Tracking (free)
The time tracker reality check helps you take control of your social media usage and will prompt you to create (and implement) a more effective social media marketing plan.
After every social media session, log out of your account completely. When you stay logged in constantly, the temptation to “check updates for a minute” is too easy. Having to take the extra step of logging in is often an effective deterrent to keeping you out of social media quicksand.
Unplug With Scheduled Down Time:
Despite what you may believe, you don’t have to stay constantly plugged into social media. It’s not healthy and distracts you from what you’re working on in the present.
Determine the block of time that you will schedule for “unplugged” down time. Actually write this block of time on your calendar so that it becomes part of your routine. These down times help prevent overwhelm and can boost your mood. It also shows you that the world won't crumble if you don’t respond to every comment the moment that it comes in.
Go Offline When You’re Working:
One of the biggest productivity killers is constantly checking social media. When it's time to get down to work, block your internet access for an hour or two. You'll be amazed at what you're able to accomplish. If you can’t find the willpower to block yourself, look for an app to help you. A popular one is Freedom.to (pricing varies).
Some apps will lock down your internet access for a period of two or more hours at a time. This works well because the only way to regain internet access is to shut off your device and reload your operating system.
Social media networks are valuable marketing tools, and like any tool, are most effective when used consistently and properly. To help you develop a new, healthier social media habit for your business, I’ve created a short 3-question journal exercise that you may access by sending an email to Jeanette at email@example.com
About Jeanette Gardiner
Jeanette Gardiner lives in Palmer, Alaska, and is the owner of SeaStar Strategies LLC where she helps time-strapped small business owners discover the gift of time by streamlining their administrative and marketing systems. Learn more at www.seastarstrategies.com.