Advertising
Advertising

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?

Advertising

 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!

Advertising

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!

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

    11 WARNING Signs Of Unhealthy Relationships You Need to Be Aware Of The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People Robin Williams’ Death Is A Wake-Up Call: 12 Natural Ways To Fight Depression Quick Test: What Is Your Forgiveness IQ? 7 Essential Ways That Inspirational Quotes Can Literally Change Your Day … and Your Life!

    Trending in Productivity

    1 Easily Distracted? Here’s Your Solution 2 There Is More to Life Than  ____________ 3 Do You Have to Give Everything Up to Get a Fresh Start? 4 What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It 5 Want to Learn Anything Quickly? Here’s What You Should Be Doing!

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on October 23, 2018

    Easily Distracted? Here’s Your Solution

    Easily Distracted? Here’s Your Solution

    Are you reading this article because you’re currently searching for a solution or method to help improve your focus? Trying to find a way to concentrate better so that you can get more done in your day? Or, do you feel like you spend a lot of time easily distracted on things other than what you’re meant to really be focusing on?

    Don’t worry, you’re not alone! As our society becomes more and more advanced, there is much more information for us to digest and more opportunities to experience. This can definitely be overwhelming and distracting! Whether it’s a work proposal that you’re trying to focus on writing, or a goal in life that you’re striving for, distractions do get in the way of your focus towards those important things in your life. And, the distractions come in a wide variety!

    For example, many of us are easily distracted by our mobile phones. Whether it’s the constant notifications popping up, or the need to scroll through your social media news feeds, these are all distractions that cost us time. There are also bigger distractions like wanting to go to a game on a beautiful day, or taking a weekend holiday even though you have a deadline due on Monday.

    What are Distractions?

    Let’s go deeper to break down and understand how distractions happen in the first place. Distractions are things that divert away your attention from the action that you’re trying to do. They make you lose focus and put you off track. The problem with distractions is that they not only cost time, they dilute your energy, too. Repeated interruptions of this sort can lead to demotivation, because you’ll feel like you’re overwhelmed… yet not getting anything done!

    Contrary to popular belief, our brains perform best when we’re focused on one objective at a time. We’re generally not good at constantly switching our attention between different tasks. Multiple studies have shown that when we do this, the performance of each task suffers compared to if we focused on them one by one. So multitasking isn’t the best option when it comes to wanting to get more done quickly.

    How Much Do Distractions Cost?

    As I mentioned previously, in today’s society, we’re faced with so much information that it’s easy to be bombarded by distractions.

    If you’re a typical working American, you’ll be distracted every 11 minutes; and, it will take you 25 minutes to settle down again to your task. Additionally, the more complicated your project, the longer it will take to regain your focus. This happens because your brain has to put in considerable effort when switching between complex objectives.

    Advertising

    Distractions have a huge cost on our focus and productivity. If you want to improve or increase your focus, you need to learn to deal with the distractions in your life.

    What are Internal Distractions?

    When it comes to distractions, we tend to think of them as external occurrences: your phone starts ringing, someone talks to you and interrupts your train of thought when you were immersed in something important, or the sudden onset of construction noise when you’re in an important meeting.

    It’s very easy to blame external distractions as the cause when you can’t focus. But, there’s actually a hidden type of distraction beneath the surface that is just as, if not more, responsible for taking away your focus. These are Internal Distractions.

    The problem with internal distractions is, if you’re not acutely aware of them, you can be wasting both time and energy without even knowing it. So, before tackling external distractions effectively, you first have to take care of your internal distractions.

    Priority Chaos

    There are a few types of internal distractions, but let’s start with probably the most common one: the concept of Priority Chaos.

    One of the most common distractions we encounter is that we have too many options on hand. This can cause priority chaos.

    For example, some people may find it hard to focus at home because there are too many options to choose from. You can choose to feed your dog, read a book, watch TV, have a snack or take a nap.

    Advertising

    Besides the costs of distraction mentioned before, priority chaos is a big demotivator. When there are too many potentially attractive options, it’s hard to focus your energy and choose one of them – ideally the one you should be doing.

    Priority chaos is also a demotivator because it makes you feel guilty. When you let your internal distractions overtake your focus, you’re the one who chooses to divert your own attention and energy away from your task. So when the task you wanted to complete doesn’t get done, you can’t blame an external factor. Whether you do it consciously or not, you’ll end up blaming yourself!

    Why Does Priority Chaos Happen?

    Your brain subconsciously prioritizes tasks based on three factors.

    1. To fulfil an existing need. For example, you need to go to the bathroom urgently, so your brain is guaranteed to prioritize it.
    2. To achieve a certain feeling of satisfaction, such as the satisfaction of eating a delicious chocolate fudge cake.
    3. The perceived cost of achieving the benefit. What is the effort, energy or time required to complete this action?

    The brain automatically take these 3 factors into account even when you’re not thinking about it.  

    Unfortunately, unless you’re consciously making an effort, your brain is not always the best at making accurate judgement calls. It tends to have a bias towards short term benefits and short term costs.

    As there are often many more options our brains link to short term benefits, when you’re trying to focus on a task that gives you a long term benefit, that task usually becomes low priority. This is the essence of Priority Chaos.

    How to Overcome Priority Chaos?

    The good news is that it’s not so difficult to overcome this common internal distraction.

    Advertising

    The first step that you can take is to identify what task needs the most focus to get accomplished. Once you have that figured out, simply break down the that task into smaller, bite-sized tasks. Each bite-sized task should have a very clear short term benefit (something that you can easily describe in one sentence), and a very clear short term cost (something that you can quantify, such as time spent).

    For example, let’s say you have a grant proposal to write for an upcoming project at work. The first bite-sized task that you can accomplish is to outline the grant proposal and split it into 4 different categories. This will ensure that you cover everything that is needed, and allows you to focus on each section one at a time.

    Also, set a time limit or duration for each bite sized task. The time limit should be short enough so that it’s a no-brainer to want to check it off. Remember, the brain has a bias towards short term benefits, so it’s likely you’ll find it hard to resist checking off a bite-sized task!

    The next step would be to evaluate your other options. Besides focusing on your grant proposal, what are all the possible things that you could be doing that would divert your attention away? Be realistic about what they are! Write them all down, and list out the benefits and the costs associated. You don’t have to write them down in detail, just a general description will do.

    For instance, instead of writing your proposal, you could spend 20 minutes watching a comedy series on Netflix. The benefit is that you get entertained and have a good laugh. The cost is that you’ve just lost 20 minutes of your time, and that comedy series did nothing to help you with the grant proposal.

    Once you have your list completed, start prioritizing them. You have a time limit, so you need to order your tasks by priority, starting with the focus task as your top priority. Then fit the others around it.

    For any remaining tasks on the list that won’t fit within your allocated time, don’t worry. You don’t have to give them up. Just schedule them for another time.

    Advertising

    Long and Short Term Benefits

    As explained earlier, our brains are not good at evaluating and comparing short term and long term benefits.

    Short term benefits usually have a relatively low cost and are concrete, allowing our brains to easily grasp them. We usually associate long term benefits with high cost, and these perceived costs are usually not as clear cut. The longer term it is, the more effort it takes to imagine the benefits. This automatically creates a mental barrier and resistance in our brains. As a result, we tend to trade long term gain for short term gains.

    This is the reason why you might know that something is good for you in the long term, such as losing weight and exercising, but for some reason, you can’t force yourself to feel excited about it. On the other hand, you might know that something is bad for you, such as binge eating junk food. But, the anticipation of short term satisfaction overwhelms your conscious ability to resist it.

    This is the next type of internal distraction that we face, and it is called Short & Long Term Mismatch. Thankfully, this can be tackled, too.

    If you’d like to learn more about this internal distraction and how to overcome it, subscribe to our newsletter today, where you will automatically receive more of this knowledge that will allow you to be in greater control of your situation and actions.

    There is More Than Focus alone!

    Whether it’s wanting to increase your focus to be more productive, or wanting to manage your time better, here at Lifehack, we’re committed to helping you find and become a better you. If you’d like to truly transform your life around, you shouldn’t be focusing only on one area of your life–such as changing a career or learning to manage your time better, and expect life-changing results. Instead, you must focus on changing yourself in several areas at once–which are what I call the 7 Cornerstone Skills.

    These 7 Cornerstone Skills will help you to build a long term foundation. It’s not teaching a set of independent skills — it’s one system with different aspects. Here at Lifehack, we’ve created the perfect course that will enable you to learn all 7 skills, and as you go through the course, we’ll connect the dots into a single cohesive whole. You’ll progress on a journey of personal growth and transformation with each module that you complete. So if you’re feeling stuck in any area of your life today, why not start this journey with us?

    Featured photo credit: Erik Lucatero via unsplash.com

    Read Next