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Turning Social Media Time Into Something Productive

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I bet that most days when you fall asleep you feel like you had a full day but you didn’t get things checked off your list at work or at home.

Why is that?

Here’s the thing. Actually, there’s two things. First, time gets filled no matter what. You hear stories of women who are single mothers, working, and going to school. Or of college students that are going to school full-time and working part-time to full-time. How do they do it??

Seriously, how? It comes down to one thing- we fill the time that we have. If you are given an assignment at work or in school that should take you 10 hours and you are given a full week to complete it- it will likely take you closer to 15-20 hours. By having more time to “fill”, tasks take 50% to 100% longer to complete. Second, you have more time than you think. Laura Vanderkam talks about this in her article about time tracking in the New York Times titledThe Busy Person’s Lies.” She talks about tracking her time and finding, to her surprise, that she has more time than she thinks!

No matter how busy you are- you make time for social media. An extra minute in line somewhere or even a couple of minutes at work you pull out your phone and start scrolling through social media. Even if, you just spent time scrolling through it when you ate breakfast or sat on the toilet. I’m not here to tell you not to partake in social media- I myself enjoy it quite a bit and you probably couldn’t stop even if you wanted to. Awhile back, I realized that I was spending more time than I wanted to on social media so here are my three tips to get your social media under control while also becoming more productive:

  1. Limit social media to twice a day. I started doing two “social media sessions” each day. The thing I liked about this is that each session is not timed so I can spend as long as I want on each session. I try and limit this to scrolling through new things on Instagram and Facebook and that is usually when I put my phone down. Sometimes though, I want to explore a bit more. But, once I put my phone down- that is it- until my next session. That means no “quick checks” during the day. I usually do one session in the morning and one at night. This way I can still keep up with people without having it be something that I mindlessly do whenever I have a free second. I know that this tip takes self control. I suggest trying to make it a habit. You will be AMAZED at how much time you have to do other things (see tips 2 and 3 for how to fill all your newfound time).
  2. Use the random minutes to complete tasks. Now that I have my social media time under control, I use the time that I would be on my phone doing productive things. I always carry my planner with me so I am ready to complete tasks on my to-do list. I order things we need on Amazon. I do any banking tasks through our banking app. I draft and answer personal emails. I’ll research things that are on my to-do list to look into and make phone calls that are on my to-do list. I coordinate, schedule, and calendar events or activities that I want to do. It really is amazing the things you can do on your phone so long as you aren’t sucked back into your social media apps. What it really means is that you can be productive and efficient no matter where you are!!! How cool is that?? Then, when you are at home or wanting to relax after a long day of work you don’t have to spend the evening completing tasks from your to-do list. This also frees up your weekends from being the time that you get things done.
  3. Download an e-reader app. I know, I know. You like the actual book in your hands- ME TOO! But I am a convert- I haven’t given up my books altogether. I just always have an eBook on my phone and iPad ready to be read. I didn’t know how many random minutes I had until I started reading eBooks on my phone. I have finished so many books this way already this year it’s crazy! Is your goal to read more? Have you already finished the productive tasks you can do on your phone? Download Overdrive (free books if you have a library card) and get reading! Your mind will thank you for giving it a story or knowledge rather than endless posts and photos on social media. Try it- you’ll like it!

Try these tips and let me know what you think! Start today and don’t look back. You CAN get everything done that you want! Take down that checklist!

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