Home Office Social Media Mandate: 5 Steps to Retaking Control from Twitter and Facebook

Jeff Zbar

"Hello, my name is Jeff. And I'm a home office social media addict."

The realization that I'm spending far too much time on social media apps came to me when I realized Google Chrome had almost a dozen tabs open. The majority were either Facebook, Twitter or Tweetlater - or some place I'd been steered to by or from other social media denizen.

In the face of all of this input, I'd lost my output.

Productivity plummeted. Billables were noticably off. What did I have to show for it? A handful of tweets on Twitter, some Facebook status updates, more tweets about other stuff I learned on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and various social media. Then I realized it: 

I let Social Media steal my day.

I can't rightly call the Productivity Police because I'd be tagged an accomplice. I facilitated the theft of my productivity by not setting limits on my use of these applications.

So yesterday, I set rules. Fairly simple, they seemed easy to follow:

1. No Social Media after 8:30 am. Period. I get into the office around 6 am and have until 8:30 to say what I have to say, post what I need to post, tweet my tweets, and update my status on Facebook. I then will...

2. Turn It Off. Close all social media applications. Shut the windows in Google Chrome currently with Twiter or Facebook. And...

3. Don't Log Back in Until 5:30 pm. Or whenever my day is through. Could be later, but no earlier. But I will not scuttle my social media marketing efforts, so I will...

4. Schedule Posts. Using TweetLater, I will schedule posts to go live throughout the day. This offers a better use of my time. Besides, any good process in business is an automated one. I also will...

5. Disable Notifications. Twitter sends emails to my desktop and BlackBerry throughout the day when I have attracted new followers. The ping of my BlackBerry is undeniable and irresistible. I rescheduled those to non-business hours.

How'd it go? Fairly painless. I worked without toggling through tabs to see who said what. I wasn't compelled to follow some tweet to sites unknown - and tweet the experience in kind. I focused on work, on prospecting, on delivering stuff that results in income.

Imagine that...

Truth be told, I'm not blaming social media for the fall-off. It's like the robber blaming the firearm, or that Top 40 song that extels the line, "Blame it on the alcohol." 

This is not abotu the ills of Social Media. It's about productivity. It's about habits we let run unchecked and roughshod through our business that steal our time, sap our output,  and ultimately - at best, leave us less productive, and at worst, wither our bottom line. If you have 2080 hours a year to work (some work more, I work fewer), then you have a finite amount of time to produce income-generating work.

This is about productivity. It's about...

-Not running errands willy nilly. It's about batching errands to get more done in less time.

-Turning off those things that distract your attention.

-Automating your life. Installing Automatic Signatures in your email programs, or setting bills to be paid online.

It's also about using wisely the tools and services you're already using or visiting.  Earlier this week, I had an epiphany: My day had slipped by undetected and in the end, unaccounted for. It was here when I logged on to my home office PC in the morning. Then, by afternoon, it was gone.

I'm hoping these "rules" for the social media superhighway will help me stay focused.

I'll report back to let you know how they go. I might even tweet or FB status the results - just not during working hours...

Jeff Zbar, The Chief Home Officer
Copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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