Every workplace is susceptible to distractions, but for those of us whose jobs actually require us to log into a range of social media networks every morning, it’s even more challenging to block out those cat videos, pregnancy announcements and Trump memes doing the rounds.
Not to say that this isn’t fun, but productivity certainly takes a knock when you have thousands (literally thousands) of notifications popping up every minute of your work day – and you know we’re not exaggerating.
One minute you’re trying to help Joe find a t-shirt in his size (it HAS to be blue!). The next you’re arranging a replacement prize for Sarah because hers was delivered in tatters. All the while you’re being pestered by Sam, who INSISTS on sending you daily quotes and begging to be the face of your brand, despite your polite and frequent put-downs. I mean, how is one to deal with all of these feelings?
And let’s not forget about the added expense! When checking social media every single hour, you’re relentlessly bombarded with targeted ads, and despite the fact that you’re cunningly doing the same thing to unwitting consumers, you fall for it everytime. Let’s just say the Takealot delivery guy and I are on first name terms. The Janu-worry is real.
So how do you shut out the social blizzard while keeping your response rate in the top percentiles? Here are 4 easy ways to manage your time and ensure that your brightest ideas actually see the light of day.
Reaction Power Hour
Each day, allow yourself a set amount of time to respond to emails, texts and social media messages. Studies have shown that people who dedicate time to clearing their notifications and getting all of their “response” related work out of the way are able to sustain better focus for the rest of their work day. Granted, social media notifications may come in faster and more furiously than the average person’s emails, but dealing with a bunch of them in short bursts will help you keep a clear head and focus on the tasks that actually bring in the money.
Create work-only windows
When you open the door to unwanted communication, you never know what may be thrown at you, and it could take all day to keep the crazies at bay. To keep your reactive work and focused work separate, open separate windows for each. That way you can limit distractions and only check in on the nutters once you’ve completed your more pressing tasks.
Keep fewer tabs open
It may seem both obvious and somewhat impossible, but limiting the number of tabs you have open can improve your focus tremendously. When undertaking a piece of work, only open tabs that are relevant to that project. This will prevent you from noticing that an ‘anonymous weasel’ is tinkering on your shared Google doc, leaving you to unleash your wrath once your current work is done.
Create your own deadlines
In a super reactive environment, we often go through dips and troughs of productivity, but we needn’t always be at the mercy of those client deadlines. In fact, by creating your own and ensuring that all your ‘work windows’ are populated by good hard graft (basically, if you wait for a brief, you’re dead meat), you’ll leave more time to deal with David’s impossibly overripe cheese or Bethany’s broken laces. And probably be less likely to tell them to f&$^ off.