How to Avoid Being Consumed by the Social Media Beast

Social media is a tricky little monster. Although it has incredible potential to build your brand and grow your business, it can also sink it’s gnarly little teeth into your schedule and devour any free moment so there’s absolutely nothing left.

You know what it’s like to succumb to the social media beast. It’s so darn irresistible that you look up and a good hour (or maybe two) of your life has just disappeared while flipping through photos on Facebook, responding to messages on Twitter or looking for new people to connect with on LinkedIn.

It’s a common struggle that we all face. You want to engage, but how on earth do you do it without getting swallowed alive?

The answer is simple, but hard to execute – you need to focus.

When it comes to your social media engagement, you need to be really intentional with your time so it doesn’t consume your entire day. Although this is easier said than done, here are a few things that I do to help me stay on task when using social media:

Determine what you want to accomplish.

This all comes back to your social media strategy and goals. If you don’t know why you’re using social media, you will be wasting your time.

Make sure you’re clear on your goals and then stick to your plan each time you jump into the social media waters. Develop a checklist or use my
 20-minute Twitter plan I shared a couple weeks ago as a guide. Whatever you do, just make sure you have a plan each time you log on.

Set a time limit.

Whether you’re hopping onto Twitter or Facebook for business or fun, it helps to set a time limit so you’re not kicking yourself when your an hour or two has passed you by.

I use a timer so to help me limit my time. For instance, if you just need a quick mental break, give yourself 15 minutes to do that. Or, if you are doing some social research, allot yourself the appropriate amount of time to do that task. Determing exactly how much time you have to spend before you get started will help you keep focused and make the most of your time.

Turn it off notifications (or ignore them).

It’s real easy to get sucked in by social media notifications on our phones and in our email. But, I implore you – try to avoid hopping on to social channels every time you get a ping.

Although you might have grand intentions of simply responding to that ONE message, it’s easy to get sucked into other things. Instead, turn off your desktop or phone notifications while you’re trying to focus on a project.

And, for goodness sakes, don’t leave multiple tabs of your social profiles open while you’re working. Turn them off, so you won’t be tempted to pop over and look at it every five minutes. That way, you can give other projects your FULL attention. Then, when it’s time to get social, you can be fully immersed in that without feeling guilty.

Use social media in chunks.

I try to use social media in small chunks throughout the day – usually, first thing in the morning, around lunch time and then again later in the afternoon or evening. By doing it this way, I tend to get more accomplished with my time instead of dipping in every time I get a message or notification.

This also gives me enough time to engage and respond quickly to replies and messages, but it prevents me from getting sucked in every time I get a notification or message. Although it sounds a bit counter-intuitive, I am far more productive when I limit how often I jump in to social channels.

How do you do it?

These are just a few ways I do it, but I’d love to hear what works for you. Let’s help each other out so we can all avoid the grip of the social media beast.

How do you engage in social media without letting it consume your day? What tips do you have for keeping your social engagement under control?

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Laura Click

Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

15 replies on “How to Avoid Being Consumed by the Social Media Beast”

Laura, good basic advice. I definitely try to limit each activity for a certain amount of time at various times of the day. Virtually a habit so that I don’t push into the beast too hard

Really good pointers, Laura.

If only that doggone word, “social”, wasn’t in social media!
  🙂

I’m the guiltiest party on the planet when it comes to landing on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn with the intention of quickly replying to just ONE message and ending up getting yanked down into the rabbit hole.
  The temptation to stick around a while longer is almost impossible to resist.

As a health care professional for 30+ years …

I’m going to predict there will be support groups and 12-step recovery programs developed soon for social media addiction.
  Have a feeling those sessions will fill up fast!
  LOL!

Melanie

Well, the social part is what makes it fun! I know that many of us use social media for business, and that’s fine. But we shouldn’t let that keep us from having fun on social media either. I sure hope we don’t end up needing a 12-step program!

Laura, the idea of actually setting a timer is a great one. It is amazing how quickly that “break” for 15 minutes goes by. I also like the idea of giving myself dedicated chunks of time to social media management (and I say it that way intentionally…so I know I’m in charge here!). And turning off the notifications is so important. Otherwise, I can hear my email or twitter chime from anywhere. And honestly, the only emergencies that require my immediate attention will result in a ringing phone. I am the one who builds the false sense of urgency and importance into my social media experience. Thanks for these great reminders. I love your site!

So glad you liked the post, Mimi! You’re right – if something really needs our attention, the phone will start to ring! If we don’t change our own mindset on how to approach our engagement, it will be hard to change the expectations of others too.

BTW – it’s so great to meet you. I discovered you on
 @ginidietrich:twitter
 ‘s site and I look forward to getting to know you better. I’m so glad you like my site!

I am so grateful for all the connecting love Gini has showered upon me and very glad to know you!! I am sending you your “prize” today for the Cottey comment on Gini’s blog! I hope it’s okay to send it to your P.O. Box (it is a small parcel…my big book, or “damn book,” as my husband calls it, is still waiting to be produced :)!)

Gini is so good at spreading the love! She’s definitely an example to follow.

And prizes? I LOVE prizes! 😉 I can’t wait to read it. Thanks so much. And yes, the P.O. Box will be just dandy. Yay!

I love the turning off notifications one! It’s always shocking to me that people don’t do this and, when I ask why they still get notifications, they say, “I don’t want to miss anything!” There are LOTS of ways you can make sure you don’t miss anything without having it all come to your inbox. I would go nuts if I had everything coming to my inbox.

P.S. Have fun with your sister this weekend!

Amen to that! My inbox is full enough as it is! I’m sure yours is even worse! I did get notifications for a long time, but at least filtered them to a separate folder so I didn’t see them in my inbox. I can’t imagine it otherwise! Yikes!

Thanks for stopping by and yes, I can’t wait for this weekend – it’s my baby sister’s bachelorette party on Saturday. So fun!!!!

So funny -I was just talking to someone the other day about the Social Media monster. It’s like Pringles – once you pop you can’t stop 🙂

This was driven home to me recently when I was on a little weekend trip with my mom. When we got back to the hotel after our fun day, I hopped on my computer so I could work on some posts, catch up on Twitter, and all of that jazz. My mom gave me a look like only a mother can give (one that says, “Really??”). It was then that I realized that maybe a little break, for just 1 night, would even maybe possibly potentially be a GOOD idea. I did get a little clammy, but it seems the world is still spinning.

It’s crazy stuff 🙂

Love the Pringles analogy – it’s perfect! You’re right – it’s hard to figure out where to draw the line. I’m coming back online after being disconnected for a few days while visiting my family. It was really hard to let tweets or comments go unanswered for a day or two. But, as much as I LOVE my online friends like you, my family still comes first. It’s a delicate balance for sure….one that I’m still trying to figure out!

Thanks for stopping by, friend!

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