You know they’re a huge time-waster, but somehow you just can’t pull yourself away from that Facebook game that has your attention, or the beautiful pics of yummy desserts you want to make. Even worse, when you make your living online, it’s far too easy to justify time spent on social media as being “work.”
After all, everyone says you have to market your business on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, right?
While it’s true that social marketing is a powerful technique that all online (and offline) business owners should explore, it’s also true that much of what we do on these sites is most definitely not work. But separating the two is tough.
Schedule Your Day
Not all social media is bad. It’s a great way to stay in touch with far-flung family and friends, and yes, it’s an important business-building tool as well. So rather than try to eliminate it all together, why not make it a regular, scheduled part of your day?
For example, catch up on your Facebook feed over coffee, then log out and get to work. Or browse Pinterest while you eat lunch. For actual work-related social media tasks, schedule a time during the work day to log in, update your status, respond to questions, and check up on your competitors. The key here is to actually schedule this as you would any other business-related task, and not to let this “work time” turn into a chat with Aunt Sally about Thanksgiving Day plans.
Segregate Your Tools
One way successful entrepreneurs separate work from play is by the tools they use. When on the computer in the office, they avoid Facebook and the like because they’re working. Instead, they limit their use of social media to off hours by only visiting the sites on their mobile phones or tablets.
By adopting this type of policy, you create a boundary in your own mind. After a few weeks of practice, you’d no more think of hopping on Facebook from the office computer than you would consider wearing your bathrobe to the grocery store. The two activities just don’t go together.
Let Someone Else Handle It
If you really can’t stay focused on work once you’ve logged into Pinterest or Facebook (they’re just so distracting!) consider letting someone else handle your social media accounts. You can create updates ahead of time, then simply turn them over to a virtual assistant to schedule. Then once a day or so (maybe from your iPad rather than your office) you can log in and respond to your followers.
Finally, if you’re not using social media as a marketing tool, consider taking a sabbatical. Simply make a deal with yourself that you will not log in or check any social media site for a month or a week or even just for a day. You might just be surprised to see how much time you really do waste playing Candy Crush.