Time management is an eternal struggle for many people and especially those of us who work full-time and then some. We must be constantly vigilant of how we spend time or risk being overrun with work or chores at home.
I know personally that I have to be careful about getting sucked into social media. It starts out with me innocently checking Facebook or Twitter posts for my business. The next thing I know, ten or more minutes have passed with me scrolling through funny posts from friends.
While social media can be entertaining, educational, and inspirational it can also easily become addicting. If you’re looking for ways to avoid getting sucked into social media and wasting time, try the tips below.
1. Set Daily Goals
Something I’ve found that helps me avoid wasting time on social media when I’m working is to set daily goals. Setting goals, such as writing a certain number of posts, helps me to stay focused.
To set my goals I sometimes have a brief planning session with myself. I go through everything I must do that day and use a scheduling app to keep track.
Once I’ve set daily goals, I keep them in mind as I begin working through the projects on my list. When a task requires that I check social media, I pay attention to my start and stop times.
I know I only have a limited amount of time for the task at hand. After it’s completed I must move on or risk not completing all I need to do that day.
2. Get in a Routine
There are other helpful tips to avoid getting sucked into social media. For instance, you should get into a routine.
Of course not all routines will be followed the same way from day to day. Some of the things I do on Monday are repeated on Wednesday but not on Friday. Others are only done once per week.
But from one week to the next and one day to the next I have a general routine I follow. This not only speeds up my morning but makes my whole day go smoother. In addition it prevents me from wasting time on social media.
Use the same philosophy at home. Set your phone down and forget about it to get the most out of your time at home.
3. Schedule Email, Text, and Social Media Breaks
Instead of checking your phone for social media each time you receive a notification, try another tactic: Schedule email, text, and social media breaks between other work activities.
This can keep you on track when you’re working and ensure you stay productive. There are a couple of different ways you could do this.
One way is to use a calendar. Your online calendar doesn’t have to be used only for scheduling work or personal appointments. It can also be used to schedule media breaks by creating calendar reminders.
Start by setting up an “appointment” for your social media, text, and email breaks. Make sure you schedule it for a short period of time, such as 15 minutes.
Then, set up a reminder to go off when you have five minutes left. This will help you finish up and move on to other important work.
You can schedule these breaks a couple of times throughout your day. The rest of the time, ignore your notifications unless you’re waiting on an urgent reply. This will keep you from getting sucked into social media for long periods of time.
4. Use Time Blocking
Forbes.com conducted an interview with a blogger about her time management strategies. According to Abby Lawson from, “Just a Girl and Her Blog,” time blocking keeps her on task.
Abby goes on to say that using time blocks prevents her from going “down the Facebook rabbit hole”. In other words, the use of time blocks keeps her from wasting too much time on social media.
Time blocking is used to devote a specified period of time to a task or group of tasks. This time management hack helps you accomplish more by moving through one or more tasks on your list without interruptions.
Furthermore, time blocks prevent you from losing time as your brain adjusts to the switch from one project to another. As an example, you might be working on a task that involves Google Docs.
To make time blocking work for you, complete all of your Google Doc tasks one after another. Not only will your brain work faster but you won’t have to open and reopen applications either.
This saves time and helps you avoid the breaks between tasks when you may be tempted to check social media. Less social media breaks means fewer opportunities to get sucked into social media and waste time.
5. Set timers
Do you use a timer when you cook and bake at home? If so, why not use this same method to stay on track while working.
Whether you work at home or in an office, simply setting a timer can help you stay aware of time. Knowing that the clock is ticking leads you to avoid activities that are time sucks. Obviously I am talking about social media here.
Just grab a cheap timer (I like the manual ones that make a ticking noise) and set it for the anticipated amount of time needed for a task. If it goes off before you are done then you should reset it for 5 minutes or so to finish up.
6. Eliminate the Distraction
Another easy method to prevent wasted time on social media is to eliminate the distraction. That means putting your phone across the room as you work. Or, you can store it in a drawer, purse, or an entirely different room.
At times, out of sight is out of mind. So, putting your phone out of reach, or sight, can cut down on the temptation to waste time. Yet it still allows your phone to be close in case you receive an urgent call.
7. Shut Off Notifications or Log Out
If hearing social media notifications and not checking them is too hard to do, you could shut them off. But if that doesn’t work either, log out completely.
This simple tactic may save you an hour or more of productive time each day. Having to manually log in every time you check social media causes a delay. That delay gives your mind time to catch up second guess getting sucked into social media right then.
8. Remove Apps Completely
While this idea to avoid wasting time sounds extreme, for some people it may be necessary. If other methods aren’t cutting it, you may have to remove all social media apps.
Gather your phone, computer, and any other electronic device that has social media on it. Uninstall the apps on each so you are not tempted to waste time posting or reading social media.
9. Hire Social Media Posts
When you must have social media for work but the other tips have failed, there is still another option. You could hire a virtual assistant to post social media on your behalf.
That idea may seem pricey at first. However, once you factor in the wasted time it may be more affordable than you first thought.
When trying to manage time better the last thing you want is to get sucked into social media. To keep that from happening, try some of these tips. They may be exactly what you need to stay at your most productive.