: How to Prevent Social Media Addiction | Feb. 2011 Bright Ideas Blogzine
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Blogging Bistro | February 2011
In this issue:
How to Avoid
Social Media Addiction
Tips for Effectively Managing Your Social Media Time
Anyone who has dabbled in social networking knows how easy it is to lose track of time while chatting on Facebook, brainstorming tweets, updating your LinkedIn profile or obsessively checking visitor statistics.
These seemingly innocuous activities can quickly become addictive and can distract you from running your business. And that's not what you want to happen, particularly if your goal for using social media tools is to build business.
Unless you are one of those rare individuals who has a reliable internal time clock coupled with a high degree of self-discipline, you'll need to carefully monitor your social networking time.
Step 1: Track your time for 168 hours
First, you must become aware of exactly how much time per week you spend social networking. In her book, 168 Hours, Laura Vanderkam suggests writing down what you do every hour of the day for a full week. "Think of yourself as an attorney billing your time to different projects," she writes.
Step 2: Categorize your billable hours
After you've documented your 168-hour week, categorize your activities. Record how much time you spent working, commuting, interacting with your family, sleeping, watching TV, showering, exercising, and checking your Facebook account.
Then ask yourself: Do these numbers reflect the number of hours I'd like to "bill" to these activities?
Step 3: Reprioritize and Reorganize
If your 168-hour chart reveals that you've been "billing" too many hours to social media, you need to reprioritize and reorganize your social networking time. Consider bookending your workday with social media, updating your accounts for 15 minutes at the beginning of the day and another 15 minutes at the end.
As an alternative, reserve a specific chunk of the workday for social networking and blogging.
Or spend five minutes, four times per day interacting with friends and fans online. Keep in mind that this method, while enticing, is difficult to maintain because five minutes can quickly morph into ten, and then twenty minutes.
Step 5: Set a timer
I recommend choosing one method and testing it for three weeks. And because I know you'll feel tempted to cheat, I am requiring you to set a timer. If you plan a 15-minute social networking chunk, set a timer for 15 minutes. When it dings, you're done. Period. No excuses.
You can set the alarm or countdown timer on your cell phone or use a kitchen timer or a web-based egg timer, but it has to be something that dings, bleeps, honks, or otherwise makes an obnoxious noise to alert you that time's up.
With e.ggtimer.com, I type in the number of hours, minutes, and seconds and click "Go!" The timer immediately begins counting down. When it reaches zero, it makes an irritating high-pitched hospital heart monitor beep-beep, beep-beep. Impossible to ignore.
Online-stopwatch.com works in a similar fashion. Select the countdown feature, set the time and click "Start." When time runs out, a jangling alarm clock startles you out of your skin. Again, impossible to ignore.
If you have a mean streak and want to drive others in your office bonkers, you can customize the alarm so it sounds like an air raid siren, a submarine dive horn or a horse race bugle call.
As a less intrusive alternative, you can make the alarm sound like an audience applauding appreciatively. Consider it a reward for successfully concluding your social media session.
Step 6: Be consistent
Whichever method you choose, commit to using it consistently. Serving as your own gatekeeper will help you use social media tools productively. And over time, strategic use of social media tools may give your business a competitive advantage.
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