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7 Essential Tips for Staying Sane and Productive Amidst “The Buzz”

7 Essential Tips for Staying Sane and Productive Amidst “The Buzz”

Are you in control of your social media or is it controlling you? 

Are you constantly distracted from your work by the alerting sounds of tweets, dings and rings, not to mention a burgeoning number of inbox messages that just can’t wait to be read?

Do you have a hard time tolerating the suspense of whether or not you got new followers, new messages, new mentions – and you just have to check?

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 Are you feeling increasingly anxious over not having enough time in the day to keep up with Face book, Twitter, Twellow, WordPress, Pinterest….need I say more? Can you Digg It? 

Are you headed for the new mental disorder of the Social Media Age called “Idisorder?”

If these questions ring a bell, ding, tweet, or otherwise, then you might be suffering from some form of social media addiction – or at least – obsession! Before you search online for a Social Media Anonymous group, here are some essential tips to help you curb your social media addiction and stay focused and productive amidst the tantalizing buzz!

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First  Tip – Forgive your parents. Your parents warned you to watch out for people who followed you. They had no clue that at some point in your life, the more followers the better! There is no way they could have imagined that you would end up going at great lengths to figure out how to attract more followers, rather than get rid of the ones you already had! As they groomed you for success, they also could not have imagined that your life success and productivity could be undermined by a quest to “like” and be “liked,” never mind a chirp here and a tag there. They tried their best to instill self-esteem in you so you would think you were special no matter how many people liked you! Even watching the Jetsons did not provide them with any clue! So, along with the other stuff you might need the help of a therapist to forgive your parents for, forgive them for not providing you the tools to prevent social media obsession. After all, they did their best signing you up for things like soccer camps and enrichment programs – which taught zero skills on how to avoid losing yourself in “the buzz!”

Second Tip – Remember that Silence is Golden! Procrastination undermines productivity, and the constant tweets and pings lure you away from focusing on your work. Even if you were not much of a procrastinator to begin with, it is just too much fun checking on your latest “likes” and “friends” or who commented on your latest discussion thread on Linked In. To limit the lure of all these enticements, turn off the sound of your computer, and silence the twitter and email alerts on your cell phone! Turn off the Instant Messenger!

Better yet, if you have work to do that does not require you to be online, get offline and give it a rest! Remind yourself there are many healthier sounds to hum along with. Choose background music that can inspire, soothe and motivate you to stay on the task at hand, rather than be distracted by sound effects that only serve to lure you away! As you shut off your alerts, close down programs and take your email accounts offline, your chunks of productive time can increase significantly. If you want to set alerts to occasionally take breaks but your sounds are shut off, just use an old fashioned alarm clock or kitchen timer!

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Third Tip – Silence your Inner Buzz! Social media is a procrastinator’s friend.  Amidst the buzz, you might not realize that underlying procrastination is perfectionism. People who are perfectionists are full of negative self-talk that nags at their confidence. Perfectionism tells you that you need to be “the best” rather than simply “do” your best. Procrastination due to perfectionism makes the stakes too high to prove how good you are, and it makes it hard to be efficient and productive. So beware of the buzz of your own negative self-talk! To complicate matters, there are just so many old friends and classmates on Facebook that were not even as smart as you, and it is hard not to be distracted about their stellar accomplishments!     Even if you never saw yourself as competitive, this can be very distracting when your need for approval from your work boss as well as your inner boss undermines your confidence and focus. Tell yourself that “good enough” is not so shabby and it does not mean you are being a slacker! Comparing yourself to others, anyway, is a recipe for low self-esteem, and now with Facebook, you have a new world of others to measure yourself against!

Why don’t you just be yourself since everyone else is taken?

Fourth Tip – Set limits on the time you spend with Social Media. The best way to cure obsessions and addictions is to give yourself some structure so you can “break the habit.”  Self-discipline is not a dirty word – it can truly set you free if you prioritize your goals and “to do” list.  If you make a choice to be disciplined rather than being caught up in “have tos,” you will feel less like a rebellious teenager protesting authority. If you view the ability to set limits on your time as offering a new freedom that can help you clear your head and set balanced priorities, you will learn to set better limits on your time and energy. The key to setting limits with your Social Media is to use tools that streamline your time rather than create more work for yourself. There are many apps that are designed for helping you become more organized and productive, like Buffer, although some people prefer the archaic pen and paper method in which they write out their “to do” lists and even their long range goals the old fashion way. For those who want help refocusing with the latest technology, there are many shareable apps.

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My favorite is Evernote, which is one of the more popular apps that allow you to keep organized and productive. With Evernote, users have the option of putting in all sorts of varied media in one place easily from any device you have. Along with documents that are in one note, you can add video and sound, web clips, photos even from your cell phone, and even handwrite a note to add using your mouse instead of a keyboard. This is great for students who want to video a lecture rather than keep up with taking notes!  Everything you import in your lists and notes is automatically saved and they are easily shared though all your devices and with others. I personally have found Evernote to make my life so much easier in organizing myself professionally instead of personally. It has been extremely helpful in helping me put a lot of my notes, documents, messages, pictures, web clippings, all under one “Elephant” -which is the application’s mascot. With Evernote, I am able to keep all my information in one electronic notebook. Instead of searching through bookmarks and past emails, I keep it all together and can access it all from my phone, laptop and desktop. All my important “to dos” are all together with a simple drag of the mouse into the Elephant icon. Allow your apps like Evernote to work for you to save time and streamline your virtual life. However, don’t let an obsession with apps go too far. Watch out for the somewhat macabre apps, such as Dead Social, that allow you to schedule tweets once you are dead! 

Fifth Tip  – Remember “Grandma’s Rule” As you develop new habits with or without an app, keep in mind that rewarding yourself with a Facebook fix on breaks might be just the motivation you need to stay on target. Grandma’s rule reminds you to reward yourself after the work is done. “First you do the work, and then you do the play.” Rather than always being in the background, Email, Face Book, Twitter and the like can be used as rewards for a job well done and help you stay on track. Using your social media as a reward rather than as an ongoing distraction will help you stay sane and efficient. There are apps for that too, such as Joe’s Goals, which helps motivate by having an interactive behavioral chart to track your habits and progress.

Sixth Tip –Unplug! Let yourself enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Take breaks without your phone, IPad or laptop. When you do, you will be recharged and then more productive in your work and in your life. It might sound counterproductive, but quality time unplugged and away will give you more energy to be productive when you are refreshed. Go outside! Learn to play again! Do something artistic! Find ways to laugh, do something with your hands, ask a friend for lunch and leave your phone in the car or at home. Have a conversation without getting distracted with alerts and rings. How often does an emergency really come up? So – For social etiquette sake, avoid constantly checking on your phone for updates if you are in the company of others. Even a sneak peek sends a message of disinterest! When you unplug, hear the sounds of nature, smell the smells around you, and be mindful and present in the moment. Cyberspace can wait!

Seventh Tip  – Work To Live! Part of being productive is to make sure that you are working to live, not living to work. As you bring down the distractions of social media from a buzz to a hum, you will be more in tune with what life has to offer, plugged and unplugged! Taking time to rejuvenate will make you a more focused and productive person with a healthier perspective. By getting out of the virtual world and into the “real world” – without getting beeped, tweeted, dinged or alerted – you can recalibrate yourself much like a GPS that recalibrates when you go off track. Readjust, and redirect so that you will have not only a more productive life, but a happier and more balanced life too! After all, at the end of your life, are you really going to be asking yourself, “If only I had tweeted more?”

So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and take a break outdoors!

    More by this author

    Judy Belmont

    Mental health author, motivational speaker and psychotherapist

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    Last Updated on December 10, 2019

    How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

    How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

    It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

    So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

    1. Find Your Good Reasons

    Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

    You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

    If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

    Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

    Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

    • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
    • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
    • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
    • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

    2. Make It Fun

    When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

    Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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    Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

    They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

    Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

    A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

    • How can I enjoy this task?
    • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
    • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

    As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

    Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

    However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

    3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

    When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

    You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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    That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

    If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

    Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

    My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

    4. Recognize Your Progress

    Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

    We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

    Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

    Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

    For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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    You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

    Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

    For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

    5. Reward Yourself

    This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

    Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

    Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

    For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

    For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

    For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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    Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

    The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

    Mix and Match

    Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

    Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

    Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

    Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

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    Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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