How to Manage Social Media Distractions While at Work
Let’s face it. We live in a society overrun by technology, which includes easy access to social media at the touch of a button. Some people believe that living in the technology age is degrading to society and causing a loss of intelligence, while others see the benefit of having complete access to the digital world.
Technology, which has brought us the trials and tribulations of social media, is something we don’t need to run from. In fact, if we embrace it, it can be an amazing resource used for good. The key is all about how we balance its use.
With that being said, it’s important to note that we currently live in an age where social media dominates our lives. And this is not just something the younger generation is doing. Social media usage spans all generations on a daily basis.
In case you only think social media is exclusive to Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, the following are also considered social media platforms: Youtube, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumbler, LinkedIn, Google+, WhatsApp, Kickstarter, Yelp, Tinder. There are even current debates that texting and emailing are now forms of social media.
While social media has done an amazing job of connecting people from all over the world, its addictive, obsessive, and distracting tendencies have become a conversation in the workplace. Do you use your social media while on the clock? The answer is most likely yes.
However, the bigger question is, how often? One poll says that people waste up to 2 hours per workday on social media. This article suggests that employees rarely use social media for work-related reasons and instead use it as a distraction for work.
With knowing how useful social media can be and how beneficial it has been in connecting society, it’s time to learn how to balance it in the workplace. Here are 7 ways to cut down on the use of social media and staying more focused while on the clock.
1. Turn Off App Alerts
The quickest way to get distracted from work is to have your phone constantly buzzing when you get a notification from Facebook, Instagram, or any of the other social media apps you have on your phone/computer. In fact, according to TechCrunch, smartphone users access approximately 9 apps per day.
Think about how distracting that can be to receive notifications all throughout the work day from up to 9 apps. The simple solution is to turn off notification alerts and limit your social media checking to when you are on break.
App alerts not only distract your focus on what you are currently working on, they divert your attention to a topic that has the potential of keeping you distracted for minutes at a time. Once you finish with looking at pictures, memes, or a post, it can be difficult to refocus on your work. This is why it’s easier to simply mute notifications and not run the risk of them distracting you while you’re at work.
2. Check Emails Only on the Computer
The less you have to pick up your phone, the better. If you’re like me, it’s almost impossible for not to open an app once I see a notification or a message. If I use my phone to check my email, chances are I will also check Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and then scroll through Pinterest just for a ‘quick look’.
The simple solution to this is to check email on your work computer. This leaves the phone out of the problem and keeps the attention on email only. I’ve learned that one of the toughest aspects of social media is the temptation to open apps. When that temptation is removed, you are less likely to get distracted by it.
3. Keep Social Media Tabs Closed
If your computer constantly has tabs open for Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, and Reddit, that completely defeats the purpose of removing temptation.
I know it’s tough to not click from tab to tab or watch a quick video, but if you want to stay focused at work those tabs need to be closed. When you’re at work, only keep open what’s necessary so that you aren’t constantly tempted to check for updated posts.
The cleaner your tabs are, the clearer your mind can be. Your tasks at hand are free from clutter and your integrity as an employee is better. I guarantee you, social media can wait until break time so close your extra, unnecessary tabs.
4. Hide Your Phone
Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, and hide yo phone! In all seriousness, if you keep your phone out of view, you will be less likely to check it. That’s simply common sense.
Next time you’re at work, check to see where you usually place your phone. Is it next to your keyboard or mouse? If it is you have easy access to check it whenever you take a phone call or feel overwhelmed by your current project.
Instead, place your phone in your drawer or leave it in your pocket or purse. The concept of out of sight out of mind is true. Try it. You’ll quickly see that you forget about your phone, which will then help you forget about constantly checking your social media.
5. Delete Useless Apps
Is there an app or two on your phone that you go to ‘just because’? Delete it. You may realize that you don’t need it at all and its only purpose is to pass the time by.
I’m not suggesting that you remove all your apps because I know it may be hard to part with them. What I am saying is to take a serious look at which apps you don’t need. Even if you don’t visit it daily, there is no need for it to sit in your phone.
I used to have multiple apps that I only opened just because I was bored. Once I got rid of those apps, I was able to utilize my time better and not suck away valuable minutes scrolling through something I didn’t really like.
If you are feeling bold or overwhelmed with your social media usage, take the leap and delete the apps you use the most. This will hopefully act as a useful purge and free up your time to focus on things other than your phone.
6. Social Media as a Reward
I want to remind you that this article isn’t telling you to abandon social media. Instead, it’s about how to balance social media usage. With that being said, use social media as a reward while you’re at work.
One way to do this is to check your phone or computer once in the morning and once in the afternoon after you have accomplished a task. This task doesn’t have to be huge. In fact, it could be something you check off of your daily to-do list. The point is, social media can be turned into something to look forward to instead of something that distracts you.
There can be many fun ways to use social media as a reward. Figure out what works for you and implement it into your daily work routine. This is a healthy way to cut down on distractions without cutting out the fun.
7. App Cleanse
If you are feeling especially obsessed or distracted with social media, take a cleanse. Once a month (or whenever you deem necessary), delete your most distracting apps.
It will be difficult for the first day or two, but after a while you will begin to forget about them and realize that it’s impossible to get through your day without checking your phone or computer every few minutes.
When I begin to feel overcome by social media, I delete my most distracting app (usually Instagram) for 5 days. I find this to be incredibly refreshing and healthy. This is actually something I strive to do once a month just as a reminder that I don’t need to rely on Instagram or any other social media. Trust me, if you do this it won’t kill you.
Oh, and while you’re at it, delete all your games. There’s no need to have games on your phone (unless you have children). But, that’s just my personal opinion!
So, there you have it. 7 ways to balance social media usage while at work. Best of luck!