Social Media/Emails – Such a time Waster

(Also published on LinkedIn and BMWOC magazine May 2018)

We all love social media; but you know it can be the biggest time waster of all time.

As a small business owner, you are always fighting against time. You are always trying to beat the clock to get something done. Have you ever found yourself saying, “Where did all the time go?” It is like this for all of us. However, when social media is involved, time really goes by, and nothing gets done. Let us look at a typical day.

If you are like many who love social media, the first thing you do early in the morning is check your clock or your phone for the time. The next thing you know, you are on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter; and before you know it, you have spent about 10 minutes looking through posts; and then another 10 minutes watching videos, then another 10 minutes responding to post from your family and friends. That is 30 minutes you spent just looking at social media and you have not event fully got out of bed yet.

Now that you managed to put down the phone long enough to take a shower and get dressed, you are back on your phone again this time to check your emails. Another 5 to 10 minutes goes by and you notice now you are running late for work.

You rush in the car and get going. As soon as you get to the slow point in your travel, guess what, you get a Bing! This is a notification sound letting you know you have a message from someone. So, once again, you are back on your phone to check a notification that you received while you were driving. For the 1 1/2 minutes as you sit at the light, you are trying to type a response. The light turns green and you are driving again feeling like dang, “I am forced to put the phone down.”

You have reached your destination; and you cannot wait to pick up your phone to see what else has come through. Before you can even get out of the car, you stop and spend 10 minutes looking and answering the posts you tried to answer while you were driving. You are anxious because this response is to make a new connection with someone in a group. Now you are really rushing to get to your office so you can hurry up and get back online to read your posts.

All throughout the day, you are spending time on social media and reading emails for one reason or another and time just seem to fly by. It is now 3:00 pm and you feel unproductive because spent so much time trying to connect with someone you need to do business with, and you really did not get anything done to help your business. Is your day like this? So much time have you wasted already? More like 5 to 7 hours of time just on social media alone.

According to Social Media Today, approximately 60% of our time is spent on social media via a personal computer or mobile devices. Specifically, the average person will spend nearly two hours on social media every day, which translates to 5 years and 4 months over a lifetime (socialmediatoday.com). In contrast, Forbes (2017) magazine says the average person spend approximately 2.5 hours of our time reading and responding to emails. I do not know about you, but I know I can spend more time than this on social media.

One thing I do know is that this can hurt you as a business owner. Because we are wasting so much time on social media, we are not: 1) making phone calls to our clients, 2) going to meetings, working to complete a project, 3) planning for the future projects, or 4) implementing current activities. The result is that we lose out on ensuring that we are moving forward in our business. So, what can we do? Here are few tips:

  • Schedule a specific time for social media and email: Take control of the amount of time spent on social media/emails by scheduling a specific time. For example, you can schedule 30 minutes during your lunch hour to read emails and 30 minutes for social media. You can even schedule to be on social media two or three days out of the week. Breaking up the dates and times will give you a much-needed break.
  • Modify the frequency of the notifications: By going into your social media channel’s notification settings, you can configure how often to receive a push notification. This will help you refrain from picking up your phone so often to check messages.
  • Put your phone on silent during the day while working: This is another area in which we get caught back up into social media. While we are working, our phone may be set to vibrate causing yet another type of distraction. Put your phone on silent because as they say, “Out of sight, out of mind.” So, if you do not hear the notification, you won’t know to look at your phone.
  • Unsubscribe from unused email subscriptions: Believe it or not 80% of the reason people check emails is because they have too many subscriptions that are sending advertisements, newsletters, or other communication from websites they visited. Rule of thumb: If you have not visited the website in several months; especially if you have not bought anything, unsubscribe from that site – or, change the notification settings. This will certainly reduce the number of times you are checking your phone for new emails.
  • Reduce the number of text messages: Let your friends, family and business partners know that you will not accept text during a certain time, unless it is an emergency. By doing this, you can reduce the number of times you receive a text message; and you will not be tempted to check your phones for emails or social media posts.
  • Outsource the management of your social media account: If you can afford it, consider hiring a company or virtual assistant to review and manage your social media posts. You can give instructions on what to specifically respond to, what to post, or even handle some of your email blasts.

By making these few adjustments, you can get back to business running your business, reduce the amount of time spent on social media so that you can be more productive than you were before.

 

Asano, E. (2017). How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media: retrieved from https://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic 

Acton, A, (2017) How to Stop Wasting 2.5 Hours on Email Every Day, retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/annabelacton/2017/07/13/innovators-challenge-how-to-stop-wasting-time-on-emails/#7b000c799788