Social media use is rampant and the statistics are mind-boggling.
As of January 2017, there are over 1.8 billion active Facebook users, 1 billion people using WhatsApp, and a further 600,000
Perhaps even more frightening, research by Common Sense Media suggests teenagers in America now spend on average 9 hours per day on social networks for enjoyment.
And we haven’t even mentioned YouTube yet: people consume roughly 1 billion hours of video per day on the media giant.
The growth forecast is exponential, and the message is loud and clear: social media is here to stay, and it’s going to become even more of a part of our daily lives in the future.
With such staggering statistics, it’s no wonder digital marketers are finding that an increasing part of their daily routines are spent navigating the major social platforms.
And while Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube present major opportunities to our profession, they also can be productivity killers with their addictive powers zapping even the most diligent workers.
All of this presents the question as to what steps can we take to mitigate social media from ruining our productivity, whilst still benefiting from its capabilities?
Put succinctly: how can we take advantage of the statistics without becoming one in the process?
First, it’s important to identify what’s genuinely necessary and what’s an obvious distraction.
You may have a real need to be active on Facebook Business Manager throughout the day, but do you really need to also be scrolling through everybody’s food every half hour as well?
And are Instagram & Pinterest really essential to your tasks, or are they just another platform which serve
s to whet your appetite with more brunch pictures?
Deciding which social media platforms are crucial to your work and which aren’t is the obvious first step.
Make a list of what you need to use on a daily basis, and also of the platforms which swallow up your time often without you even noticing as well.
Got that list handy? Good. Now it’s time to get ruthless.
Uninstall all the apps from your smartphone that serve as a distraction immediately.
It may hurt at first, but ask yourself this: “Is this really contributing towards making me a more productive person and enhancing my capabilities?”. If the answers no, then cull it.
The reason for starting with your smartphone is because often sits right next to your laptop or computer when you’re working. All those notifications buzzing off will constantly divert your attention from more important tasks that warrant serious attention.
In fact, I often keep my phone completely away from my workstation and check it at certain times, but more on that later.
Now turn your attention back to your desktop.
Which websites are eating away at your productivity? It’s time to place them on the naughty step.
The Chrome Extension Stay Focused is brilliant for this and highly configurable. Allocate certain times you can use your favorite websites so that they fall outside of your committed working hours.
Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator also gets a special mention simply due to its sheer simplicity and effectiveness.
Facebook’s Newsfeed Eradicator replaces your feed with a simple motivational quote.
Now that you’ve started to clear space, it’s time to streamline your daily social media usage to optimal levels.
This is where intelligent software comes into play.
Software like Hootsuite & Sendible allow you to configure & integrate multiple social media accounts into one convenient setting where you can create content, analyze statistics, and bulk schedule your work for clients.
The beauty of this is that rather than having multiple windows open distracting you at various times of the day, everything gets condensed into one window for maximum productivity.
Both platforms offer free initial trials so you can test them beforehand, but the reality is that software like this saves you massive amounts of time and increases your productivity on other tasks for a small monthly fee.
The next step requires discipline, and it’s one you’re going to have to challenge yourself to be faithful to: creating a routine.
If you want to get the most out of your social media usage, then you’re going to need to create a routine you can follow.
This may mean limiting checking your social media either in the mornings and the evenings, but whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep reminders to ensure you don’t stray off the task.
Using simple sticky notes reminding yourself by your work station is a good way to ensure diligence.
The software and plugins mentioned previously will also be useful in ensuring you stick to your routine. Be sure to take advantage of the technology available to you to mitigate social media at the right times!
Once you’ve implemented all the steps in this plan, you need to make a commitment to stick to them.
This one requires genuine heart and discipline. It’s extremely tempting to get your daily hit of dopamine from Facebook Likes, but the reality is that it’s often more harm than good.
You can always give yourself leeway on weekends and in your spare time when work is less intensive to use social media more frequently. But having a clear understanding and respect for your work at the same time is essential, and being consistent with the rules you’ve put in place is ultimately the best way to enhance your overall productivity.
Over To You
Once you’ve implemented these steps, let us know your thoughts in the comments below on what helps you to take control of your daily social media usage and the hacks you use to increase productivity as well.
Mohit Tater is the founder and CEO of BlackBook Investments through which he helps people invest in online businesses and digital assets. Apart from advising clients on SEO and marketing he also blogs at mohittater.com.