Considering that a lot of jobs now include some sort of interaction with a computer device and the World Wide Web, it is essentially unavoidable. The biggest trap in this is the distractive power of such technology. A lot of people report decreased ability to focus on a main task when in access of online social media. Wasting time online has become a general problem nowadays.
Social media itself is not the villain time waster here. It is actually a great tool for people to connect to one another in an expedient real time manner. In that aspect, it is good. However, like with anything else, when done in excess, it can be a problem.
Social media has a sort of an addictive effect to users. At times, people feel the need to always be connected, regardless of circumstances or presence of other more prominent tasks. This is when it becomes a problem, and one that can cause some serious issues in a workplace setting.
Let’s look at how to avoid wasting time on social media and concentrate on work.
1. Know the cues
This is like driving a car around a corner, and knowing to anticipate an oncoming vehicle, so you slows down. The possibilities are that you experience some stressors during your work flow which trigger a distractive response. It is true that you experience highs and lows of productivity during work, and it is during the lows that you feel drawn to visit your social media profiles.
During the lows, you would feel low drive to continue and low concentration. As a result, you feel compelled to quit the work at hand. It is a natural response and you need to notice the signals in order to anticipate them.
Know yourself and your work flow well enough to notice the signals of the onset of your low in productivity. This will allow you to be able to divert the actions that follow the low period.
2. Invent alternatives so you stop wasting time
After you know the onset of your low-period, you can anticipate your low concentration. The next step is to then change the course of your distractive habits of visiting your social media accounts. Normally when the behavior is still intact, the natural response to distract yourself or take a break is to visit your social media account.
A lot of times, the reason is the need to know what others are doing and keep up. Introspection, however, reveals that this reason is faulty and should not at all be the reason for a visit to the account.
Instead, develop new habits to help you sidetrack. This may include getting up and doing something physical. Whether it is a short walk, making a snack, or anything else that you might think of. Anything to get you up and away from the computer screen is ideal. This will help you avoid getting online, which is a natural course when on a low and in front of a computer screen. Wasting time can be avoided easier if you do this.
3. Seek help from others
If you are in a workplace where there are people around you, you should use them as tools to keep you in line. Ask people to check up on you every so often and remind you to get back to work if you are sidetracked.
Getting other people involved is a good idea because it puts a certain pressure on you to be a “good” employee. So you may decrease your visits in order to avoid being told to stop wasting time on social media.
Time lost in keeping up with social media is a significant problem. Social media is an especially bad way to be distracted because it sets up a way to waste a significant amount of time. An even worse problem is that you do not realize the amount of time lost while you do it. In the end, work will not be done and time will be wasted.
Knowing how you operates in terms of a work flow cycles allows you to know the signals of the onset of a low productivity period. Knowing this allows for you to anticipate distractions. The next step is to find a better way to spend time during the low period.
As I’ve shown, this can be done by finding an alternative activity that diverts your attention from the computer and to something else that will not be a time waster. If done consistently, your behavior can change dramatically, and so will your productivity.
How about you, what do you usually do at work besides social media, how do you get yourself back in the game and what do you do in your short breaks?