Social Media can be a theft of attention and time to ADD writers. Its siren song is limitlessly powerful and destructive.
With the best of intentions, we promise ourselves to just spend a few minutes responding to friends’ jokes, memes, and messages. Hours later chores aren’t done, blocks of writing time are gone, and chances to accomplish something have evaporated.
What can we possibly do? Sometimes I have to go cold turkey, which worked until accepting an admin role in a Facebook group. If I uninstall Facebook on my computer and phone huge swaths of time open up. As writers, we’re told constantly to have a presence online using all kinds of platforms, and each one has the potential to gorge on our precious time.
Here’s an article from Jocelyn K. Glei with 10 online tools to try, including one with the Pomodoro Technique. 10 Online Tools for Better Attention & Focus . What’s the Pomodoro Technique? THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE premise is to focus on one task for 25 minutes. That’s doable if I set a timer and shut all those online windows to Twitter, Facebook, email, LinkedIn, the list goes on.
There are apps that will lock you out of websites that soak up your time and distract you from your tasks. It’s like quitting smoking if you’re as addicted to Socal Media as I am. ADD kicks in and my hands are twitching to see what my friends are up to at that moment.
If those are too constraining or you don’t want to mess with apps, try alloting 25 minutes to reading emails, scanning Facebook, or reading tweets. I suggest using your phone timer or an egg timer if you’ve got one. Egg timers tend to send me through the ceiling when they go off, so I like using my phone. Once the time goes off, I have to finish what I’m doing and quit the page. Close the tab and get offline if possible.
If you need time to interact with readers, editors, publishers, etc., allocate time and stick to it as much as possible. Make appointments with a beginning and an end, then stop. In the business world, professionals know meetings have structure and an end. If you’re paying an editor for time over the phone or IM, it’s in your best interest to know when to stop.
Notification settings from Social Media, calendars, email, IM, and the like are like a red flag flapping towards a bull. Turn off as many as you can, especially those for Facebook and Twitter. If it’s not a message about your family’s welfare or an intruder alert, do you really need it? Can you read unnecessary messages and refocus? I can’t. It’s a rabbit hole and I’m gone, totally distracted from my task.
What do you do to avoid spending too much time with Social Media?