Staying Focused in a World of Social Distractions
Just a few years ago, the idea of hiring someone whose primary job description was to handle social media for a company raised plenty of eyebrows. "You get paid to play on Facebook?" people would ask.
Not exactly. Although it's certainly enjoyable to spend the day blogging, chatting, and promoting your business on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ (the list goes on...), it's also (obviously) a lot of work.
Part of the attraction of social media marketing is that it can be done from anywhere. The tools used to update your various accounts are almost all available on mobile devices -- in fact, these days, they're being designed with mobile as the first priority.
With all of that freedom and flexibility, however, come a host of distractions. When your job includes keeping your ear to the ground for consumer and client trends, it's easy to follow the infinite tangents we discover while exploring social media. After all, marketing is a subtle, second-degree occurrence within social media. The first purpose of Facebook and its peers is to share, from person to person, the things that interest us.
Whether you work at home, from an office, or entirely on the road, it's important to stay focused on your job amidst the temptation to get lost in the black hole of the internet.
Even if you work remotely without a direct supervisor, inadvertent slacking can come back to haunt you if you underperform.
Stay on top of your job, and your career, by remembering these tips to avoid distractions while you're on the clock:
Designate Hours for Specific Tasks
In a plugged-in, on-call environment, it can feel impossible to get anything done. Let's say that you've got an important blog post to write, or you're brainstorming the theme for an upcoming marketing campaign. There will always be smaller tasks that arise throughout the day, and our instinct can often be to immediately tackle these.
Take that approach all the time, however, and you'll end your day wondering what you accomplished, with little progress made on the same looming assignments hanging over your head that you began your day with. Instead, designate a block of time that you'll work on a task and stick to it. The emails will be there to answer when you're done.
Start and End Your Day with a To-Do List
When you conclude a work day, think about the two or three tasks that you most need to accomplish in the next day's work. Write these down and leave a note on your computer, either digitally on your desktop or with a physical sticky note. In the morning, before answering calls or emails, get started on the most important task. By the time you're caught up in the routine duties of the day, you'll have started your morning on the right foot by making headway on a larger job.
Unplug For Productivity
Every time that the phone rings or an alert arrives with a new email, it's a distraction from whatever we were working on when that occurred. If you sit down to accomplish a task, consider turning your phone to silent (and putting it upside down or out of sight) and taking your email server offline. Work for a steady hour, or however long you can afford to be out-of-reach, and then check your messages and emails. You can even set an alarm for an hour. Take fifteen minutes to respond to emails and phone calls before turning them both off again to get back to work on your project.
When your job entails 24/7 monitoring of social media accounts, it's easy to get burnt out. If you're not feeling inspired to respond to comments and make new posts, put down your computer or device and focus on something else. Go for a walk or take a break.
Success in social media marketing depends on being interesting and engaging, and if your posts and replies are not filled with genuine, excited energy, you won't be successful in creating posts that grow legs of their own. Take time to reenergize your batteries so that you can best represent your company in the social media world.
If you enjoy the luxury of working from home, take that responsibility seriously. Designate a room, corner, or area of your home as your work station, and create a daily schedule that you adhere to. If a call from a friend comes in that you would not normally answer in an office full of coworkers, don't answer it at home (during work hours).
One of the most challenging aspects of the new work environment is creating a difference between 'on' and 'off' when it comes to working hours. Just because you're not in an office does not mean that you're available for every social offer that comes your way. Stay on task to stay on the ball, and you'll succeed in your job.
What are the biggest distracting challenges at your job? How do you stay focused?
This guest post is from Thomas Ford is the Marketing Director of 123Print.com. The website offers promotional and office organization supplies like affordable business cards, banners, note-cards, personalized mugs and other items that combine high quality and customization with an affordable price.
Photo Credit: Morguefile