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Is it just me or is using social media a bit like being sucked into a vortex of space-altering, soul-sucking, time-absorbing oblivion?

I’m not even sure that sentence made sense. Which, coincidentally, is how a lot of my clients feel about their time on social media.

Productivity Tips for Small Business - How to Spend Less Time on Social Media - PeppercornCreative.com | website design agency, copywriter, and brand coach in Vancouver BC

I know you would love to have more people hear about your blog or business. To make more sales and gain professional opportunities. To enjoy the process and feel calm and all zen and shit.

Trouble is, when social platforms keep changing the rules, we’re so unbelievably spread out across all the things, and we aren’t even sure what you’re doing is being seen by anyone, we aren’t terribly productive.

And fair enough. Those feelings of being lost, overwhelmed, stuck, and confused suck.

This post is all about telling you how to spend less time on social media. And still feel like a human after it.

We’re after quality here, not quantity. Using social smarter, not harder. And preserving energy to be more productive. So your time on social media is seamless, productive, and not balls.

There’s 3 points – let’s get started.


1. Get super duper crystal about which sites you’re on and WHY.


Have you ever stopped – really stopped – to ask yourself why you’re on the social media platforms you are?

Be honest with yourself.

A lot of the time it has nothing at all to do with why we should be there.

If you want to spend less time on social media, the below exercise is the first step to that. You don’t need to spread yourself thin across 10 different platforms. You don’t even need to be on 5 of them.

But you do need to know why you’re on them.

Get crystal about which #SocialMedia platforms you're on & WHY! #ProductivityTip Click To Tweet

Write down each platform you’re present on and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are your target clients/audience on that platform?
  • What does it offer your business – opportunities, community, traffic?
  • What does it offer you personally – entertainment, inspiration, connection?
  • Are you present because of a serious case of FOMO?
  • Did someone tell you that you should be, but you can’t really name why?
  • Is it because you genuinely enjoy the interaction there?
  • Or is it simply an answer of “I don’t know….?”

I’m a strong believer in a radical model of self-care in terms of business and life. If the social networks you’re on, activities you do, or people you’re in relationships with aren’t somehow making your life better, they should go.

Full stop.


2. Simplify.


Once you know why you’re on the platforms you are and which ones are the right ones to be on, it’s time to simplify.

When you are way too busy to spend quality time on a social network, you aren’t providing real value. Or connection. Two vital things just about every human on the planet wants.

If you want them to invest in you, you have to invest in them.

If you want clients to invest in you, invest in them! #SmallBiz #ProductivityTip Click To Tweet

So to spend less time on social media, simplify. Delete & deactivate. Cut the bullshit.

In essence, by simplifying you’ll make time to productively create higher value work (engagement = goals & results), rather than lesser value work (wasted energy.)

Basically: Be a quitter and don’t spend time on social platforms that do jack for you.

Generally I recommend to coaching clients that they announce they’ll be leaving the platform and give the folks who follow them there a chance to regroup elsewhere. In that, be friendly, be kind, say thanks. Whether it’s 3 people or 30,000, they’ve opted to see your stuff, which already makes them bigger fans than anyone who hasn’t. So do them (and yourself) a roger and let them know what’s going on. Then provide links to follow you where you will be, starting with your newsletter that doesn’t suck.

Hey you!: Before you delete and deactivate because you haven’t been getting diddly from a certain platform, ask yourself if you gave it a fair go. If all you’ve done so far is create an account, auto-cross post everything, and not actually show up to the party, hold your pretty little role.

Do some research to see if it’s worth being on for your goals & audience, and give it a real shot first.

You wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, just as you wouldn’t break up with Chris Pratt before you …. well, let’s be honest. I’m not sure that would ever happen. But you get the idea.

Make sure it really isn’t working before you jump ship.


3. Focus allocated time on the platforms that are left.


Chances are, by now you’ve suddenly cut your social media time by at least a third. Now we’re going to KO that sucker and save you – literally – hours every week.

A. Batch schedule posts to each relevant platform, each week.

The first thing I do every Monday (especially before opening my email) is schedule my content – tweets, Facebook posts, and Pinterest pins – for the week. This is the stuff I want to broadcast but don’t want to be interrupted 10X a day to do. By allocating a couple hours at the start of each week to schedule this stuff, I free up the rest of my week for other tasks that require my attention.

Instagram is the exception to this, simply because there isn’t an effective tool (that I know of) that can do this for me – it goes against their terms of service. But I do block time in my iCal as a repeat reminder of when to do a post.

Research shows that it takes, on average, more than 23 minutes to fully recover your concentration after an interruption.

So why the sweet-baby-jesus would you interrupt yourself 10X a day to publish an update? Increase productivity and limit the time you spend on social media by doing this in batches.

B. Time block live engagement time.

This is my single most bestest time management tool: Time blocking.

Parkinson’s Law dictates that tasks take up the time they’re allocated. And multiple studies show working a 6 hour day is far more productive than working an 8 hour one*. The same is true for social media – or any activity, really.

So, estimate the amount of time you think a task is going to take you, then cut that time in half. Make it a hard ruling.

Estimate the amount of time you think a task is going to take you, then cut it in half. #ProductivityTip #Entrepreneurs Click To Tweet

The less unstructured time you give to a task, the more productivity & free time you will have.

With that in mind, I have on-going iCal alerts for live engagement time. By time-blocking it out, I guarantee I don’t lose 2 hours lost in the maze of Facebook groups. Rather, I dedicate 30 minutes, twice a day, in a structured and focused way because I know I only get that many minutes to make an impact.

Your goal for live engagement time isn’t to “keep up,” it’s to nurture community, authentically provide value, and discover opportunities.

Using the social platforms I’m on as a tool to reach those goals is much less stressful or time-sucking than trying to simply “keep up.”

You don’t have to be the best at it – you just have to be there.

The same goes for responding to comments, notifications and *GASP*, even emails. Turn the alerts off, turn off your wifi, flip your phone upside down or stuff it under your mattress – whatever it takes to not get distracted. Check this shit at the time-blocked & scheduled intervals and that’s it.

You’ll find you suddenly have LOADS more time, you’ll be wasting less time on social media, and your energy will be used more effectively to produce the results you want to see.

You’ll be more productive, and spend less time on social media!

*For the love of god, do yo’ bad self a favour and go read this article on Productivity by Mark Manson. Best article I’ve read all year. Warning: Vulgar language ahead. Just as I fucking like it.


 

Your turn: How are you productive on social media? What do you struggle with when it comes to social media? What are your top productivity tips? Leave a comment below or please shoot me an email and tell me directly. It makes me oh so happy to hear from you!

 

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