How often do you check your Facebook and/or Twitter feed? Once a week, twice a day, or every few hours? Sure, you want to network and stay on top of the latest trends, but is that really why you’re glued to the screen?
Social media distraction is real. Up to 80 percent of the time people spend online at work has nothing to do with their job. In fact, the average American spends a quarter of his workday browsing social networks. This results in loss of productivity, decreased performance, and costly mistakes.
Without a doubt, social networking has its perks, especially for entrepreneurs and internet marketers. But how much is too much? Where should you draw the line between having fun and being responsible? Let’s find out!
The Addictive Nature of Social Media
Imagine the following scenario: You’re coming home after a long day. You have dinner while surfing the Web on your smartphone. Then you go to bed hoping to catch up on sleep, but you end up checking the latest posts in your Facebook feed. Two hours later, you’re doing the same thing.
In the morning, you start the day with a cup of coffee and…your smartphone. You start working and use social media to promote your clients’ pages or answer their inquiries. Despite having a million things to do, you’re still checking your Facebook feed and email every hour or so. Does it sound familiar?
I get it: being an online entrepreneur can feel lonely at times, especially if you’re working from home. Social media is an integral part of your job. You’re using it for branding, marketing, building connections, and pitching clients. Yet, you often end up reading stuff that has nothing to do with your work.
Did you know that social media can be as habit-forming as cocaine? The more you use it, the more addictive it gets. Studies confirm its addictive nature. This aspect has also been linked to FOMO aka the fear of missing out.
Plus, networking in itself is addictive. The more people connect to a network, the more valuable it becomes. Let’s take Facebook, for instance. Everybody is on this platform because everyone else is using it. Even those who dislike social media use it anyway because that’s where their family and friends are.
More than 56 percent of Internet users believe that they’ll miss important updates and events if they don’t regularly check their social media pages. About 27 percent log into their favorite platforms as soon as they wake up.
This may come up as a surprise, but the average person spends in total more than five years of his life on social networks. It’s no wonder why quitting this habit can be just as hard as giving up smoking or alcohol.
The question is: how do these habits affect your work – and personal life? And what can we do to make sure Social Media distraction does not turn into social media addiction?
How Social Media Distraction Hurts Your Productivity
As an online entrepreneur, you know how much value social media holds. When used right, it can open a world of possibilities. It can help you discover new leads, bring you new projects, and boost your marketing efforts. It’s a fantastic way to connect with potential clients and grow your brand.
Just like everything else though, social networking has its drawbacks. Due to its addictive nature, it can negatively impact your work performance and productivity. On top of that, it makes it hard to maintain a work-life balance.
Despite its value as a marketing tool, social media is a productivity killer. According to researchers, social media distraction has a direct impact on work performance and can reduce productivity in the workplace. The risk of misinformation and loss of confidential data shouldn’t be overlooked either.
If you work from home, it’s a lot easier to get distracted and spend hours on social networks without even realizing it. The more time you spend online, the less time you’ll have for yourself.
Just think about it: for how long have you been postponing a personal project because you don’t have time for it? Perhaps you want to set up a portfolio website or publish some posts related to your work, but you’re always too busy to get started.
Luckily, it’s never too late to take your life back and focus on the core aspects of your business. All it takes is some planning and willpower.
Break Free From Your Social Media Distraction
The first step is to admit that you’re addicted to social media. If you live in denial, you’ll never break this habit.
Understand that you’re being played. Social networks are meant to be addictive, so it’s not your fault for spending hours online. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms have all been designed to make you repeatedly use them.
Next, set some limits. Decide for long how you’ll use social media every day. Let’s say you’re doing brand promotion for a client using Facebook. Determine how long it takes you to complete this task on a daily basis. Then set a limit on how much time you’ll spend on social networks for entertainment – this is up to you, but to start out it could be 30-60 minutes per day.
Install an app like Freedom (Mac, Windows or iOS) or Cold Turkey (Mac, Windows) to temporarily block social media distractions. These programs limit your access to certain websites across all devices so you can focus on the tasks at hand. If you’re not sure how much time you spend on social media, check out Moment.
These measures may sound extreme, but, without social media distractions, you’ll get better results in less time. Plus, you’ll finally be able to work on that projects you’ve been postponing for months.
Another thing you can do is to unplug from social media over the weekend or every evening. After all, you’re not working 24/7, so you have no excuse to stay glued to a screen in your free time. Check your email if necessary – but refrain from logging into your Facebook account.
Everything is fine when you go offline. Your friends are still there and life goes on. It’s not like the sky will fall and people will report you missing if they don’t see you on Facebook.
Call a friend and go out. Take a long walk or hit the gym. Read a book or start a new hobby. Just give it a try – you might actually enjoy it!