A definition of irony: using social media to encourage you to find ways to trim your time on social media. But the real goal is efficiency, and it comes with great financial and emotional rewards. According to a survey done by the enterprise platform Harmon.ie last summer, “45% of employees work only 15 minutes or less without getting interrupted, and 53% waste at least one hour a day due to all types of distractions. That hour per day translates into $10,375 of wasted productivity per person annually, assuming an average salary of $30/hour.” Ouch.
Moreover, even if digital interruptions (responding to a tweet that just came in relevant to your nonprofit’s project, for example) are a valid and necessary part of what you do, what were you doing that got interrupted? And can you easily and smoothly get back on that track? Here are some recommendations to rethink how you are using your time and mental energies on social networks.
The most needed catch-all solution is to have a plan. And if you’re ready for advanced planning, develop one for the week and one for the day. The beauty (curse?) of social networks is that they can throw new information about unexpected developments at you without warning. But how you and your team will deal with such curve balls depends a good deal on how you have planned out your priorities. Yvette Pistorio argues for a solid balance between planning time to concentrate on social media while not being distracted by everything that happens on social media while you are on it:
- Determine how much time per day and/or per week you (or your team) will devote to your social media efforts. Having a set amount of time will help you balance time, effort, and results.
- Give yourself time throughout the day to check on your social networks. For example, maybe you check in around lunchtime and before you leave work. Social media is “social” after all, so make sure you’re checking on your social networks and responding to comments and questions.
But even when responding, consider a meaningful triage plan before going in. Will you look for negative comments to respond to immediately? Or leave them for last to allow some time to cool down? Can you honestly bundle comments or thanks into an e-newsletter instead of carrying on dozens of conversations on Twitter? Can communication be scheduled in advance without sounding canned?
Moreover,to help organize and schedule your organization’s communications. We have talked about many such tools, so we encourage you to look at some of .
Finally, find ways to make yourself conscious of when you are working efficiently on a task, and when you are jumping around without moving forward. A fun and famous way to organize your time on any project is ‘The Pomodoro Technique,’ which divvies up time into 25-minute increments (with 5 minute relaxations). Consider giving your staff one or two ‘pomodoros’ to get through social-media projects, and you soon see how (in?)efficiently the time is being utilized.
Participation in social networks is sine qua non for nonprofits and charities, but it shouldn’t be wagging the dog. Develop strategies and schedules to allow focused work and general relaxation and ‘surfing’. Once you, you can better steer your staff toward better stewardship of those resources.