The hardest part of living and working in the social media space is that, unlike a school day or traditional work day, it does not close for the evening. There is no bell signaling the end of the day. There are no office hours. Our offices are open all day, every day.
Setting rules for ourselves has become the key to maintaining our productivity level. Being productive is all about focus. It is about using your time strategically and focusing on your priorities.
Are you losing quality time throughout your day? Here are some tips for staying focused:
Avoid the black hole. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and your favorite iPhone apps can easily suck you in and fill up an unnecessarily huge chunk of your day. Set aside certain times of day for online play time and stick to your own rules. Maybe you check in a couple of times a day or only after you have completed the most important tasks for the day. Maybe you have certain hours that you allow yourself to keep those sites open. If you must, change your social media settings so that you only get notified when you are mentioned directly so you will be less tempted to engage until you have finished more important tasks. If you feel you must engage during the day, then set a time automate tweets.
Oh, and go delete Solitaire and Angry Birds from your iphone if you are addicted to them. They live in the black hole too. Go on.
Just say no. Simply put, you cannot attend every Twitter party or get involved in every online conversation. It is so tempting to be involved in everything, especially when you know you need to put yourself out there in order to make connections in this crazy space. Commit only to events, both online and offline, if you are absolutely sure that they will not conflict with more pressing priorities.
Schedule your email. This is a tip I learned from the fabulous Marsha Egan, an email productivity expert. Scheduling your email to come in every 30 minutes is proven to enhance your productivity tremendously. When our systems are set to alert us each time an email arrives, we lose a tremendous amount of time each day by interrupting our thought process to toggle over and check our email. If you don’t believe it, try it for yourself. Set your email to come in twice an hour for a couple of days. I promise that you will be more productive and you will not miss a beat.
Stop checking your stats. Well, at the very least stop checking them constantly. Yes, it is addicting to keep checking our hits a billion or so times throughout the day, but is refreshing that page over and over again going to change the final number? Nope. At the end of the day, the number of hits on your site will be the same if you checked it one time or one thousand times. The same goes for Twitter followers and Facebook fans if you are working to build up those numbers.
Help you, help you. Sorry, that was a poorly adapted line from Jerry Maguire. Get it? Okay, moving on. Whether you are a to-do list person or not, there are a multitude of productivity apps that can help you stay focused. The following links have reviews of three popular productivity apps: Wunderlust, Mindbloom and Zaarly. You can also look for the highest rated app on your phone or iPad or do a quick Google search to find one that suits your style and needs.