In my previous post I explained how social media is a great investment of our time, but it can begin to drain too much of that time. This post will offer ways you can balance social media so that it doesn't become a demand on your time.
Assess your current time usage. This means being honest with how much time you spend on social media sites in all their flavours. You might be surprised by how high that number is, especially if you dip your toes in at regular intervals during the day.
Note: a part of this assessment should include some honesty behind why
you are currently using it. For example, many of us use it as a
distraction from other priorities.
Assess what you want from social media. There are many reasons to hang out on social networking sites: to sell a product, to be a part of a supportive community, to build a platform, to connect with friends, to keep in touch with an industry of choice, to learn new information, to be seen, to be distracted, to share…and the list goes on.
Assess your priorities. Now that you know what you want, you need to work out your priorities. This includes the priority of each 'want' if you have more than one, as well as your priorities outside social networking.
Assess your needed time usage. Based on what you want from social media and other priorities, you should be able to work out how much time you'll need to gain the most out of all of them. For example, if it's about platform building, then a writer who hasn't finished their first manuscript doesn't need to spend as much time networking as an author who is about to release their book. The amount will also vary depending on the type of social media. Some, like blogging, require more time than others.
Schedule your time. If you don't like schedules, then place a maximum time limit on your browsing, commenting, tweeting etc. These are the best way to keep an eye on your time if you stick to them.
Take a break. Breaks hold off burn-out. They keep us sane and they can refresh our spirit. Know that you won't fall off the grid if you disappear for a week or even two. Note: Rather than just disappearing, it's crucial to inform your readers/followers of your plan and let them know when they can expect you back.
Be flexible. Demands on your time will fluctuate and needs will vary. It's important to stay flexible and adjust to these changes.
This post turned out longer than I'd expected so next week I'll share specific tips on the things you can do to cut back.
What do you want from social media?
Thank you to Amy at The Literary Mom for the Sunshine Award. Thank you also to Susan Fields for the Great Comments Award. Please pop on by their blogs to say hi from me.