With more and more of us working online these days, research suggests 80% of the time we spend on social media isn’t actually work related! It’s important to be aware of this especially if we want to increase our productivity even when working from home.
Research also suggests that we can become addicted to social media with symptoms similar to those in other types of addictions such as alcohol or drugs.
Like any addictive substance, social media gives us a boost; the positive interactions that likes and comments bring, give us pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with this in moderation (you’re allowed to feel good about yourself!), however, it can become an issue if we begin to look to these likes and comments for validation, or, if our fixation with receiving them derails our work.
‘Overdosing’ on social media can also cause some visible issues, long hours spent in front of a screen can induce headaches, and a dependence on social media can lead to a ‘withdrawal’ of sorts if you try to cut down, or a sense of post-screen irritability which seems out of place.
All this said, social media is an increasingly necessary tool for both social and business interactions. So here are my top tips for ensuring your time on the platform is spent productively:
- Plan what you’re going to do: Before you open any social media platform, have a clear idea of what you plan to achieve. Are you going on to talk to your groups? Connect with a lead? Post research questions? Watch specific content? Having goals will stop you ‘busy-bodying’.
- Time yourself: Schedule a time slot for your social media interactions, and then log out when this time elapses. This will allow you to remain focused; if you only have 15 minutes you’ll stay concentrated on your task. If something catches your eye you can save it or like it for later.
- Turn off alerts: This will allow you to focus and will minimise the risk of you being called away from your task.
- Open fewer tabs: If you have tabs open, notifications will cause you to flick between them. This is an issue because once you’ve been distracted your brain takes a while to focus again, and you’ll waste time thinking “oh where was I?”. If a tab is too important to close, then use incognito mode to silence its notifications.
- Have something planned next: Be clear about what you’re going to work on once your appointed time on social media is up, scheduling a task directly after will stop you running over your allotted time.
Whilst social media can have a positive impact on our day-to-day experience, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t distract too much from the other goals we have.