It starts innocently enough. You have good intentions. You’ll just pop onto Instagram/Facebook/Twitter and post an update/engage with followers/do some research. But then it happens. You enter the social media twilight zone and before you know it, half the day is gone and you haven’t done anything to grow your photography business.
There is no doubt that social media is important for growing your business, but it’s also addictive. If you find yourself wasting time on your chosen platforms, it’s time to set some boundaries, reclaim your precious time, and create a balance between social media, your personal life, and work.
Track your activities.
Many time management gurus will tell you that tracking where your time goes can be a big wake up call. We may think we know what we’re doing and for how long, but actually tracking our minutes and hours can uncover some surprising habits.
An easy way to see where your time goes is to use an online tool like RescueTime. Once downloaded, it runs in the background, tracks time spent on applications and websites, and provides you with reports and data based on your activities. If you sign up for RescueTime premium, you’ll be able to track time spent offline, get alerts, block distracting websites, and more.
Choose your network.
Choosing which social media network you want to focus on for the day/week will help you set boundaries and feel less overwhelmed. Instead of trying to do all the things on all the networks, choose one or two and have a strategy in place before you sign in.
Determine your goals.
Determining what your goals are for each network and preparing the content will help you steer clear of time-wasting activities.
Set focused times.
Once you have your goals in place, set a specific time for each task. When you login to a network with no strategy or time restraints, you’ll likely wander around like a traveler without a map. Instead, limit yourself to 25-30 minute increments per day for things like responding to comments, posting, and perusing hashtags.
You can save yourself some time in the long run by automating your posts using tools like Buffer and Hootsuite. These allow you to schedule upcoming content to maintain consistency. If you have your most important posts already scheduled, you can spend the time you would have used without automation to engage with your followers and potential clients.
Engage during downtime.
If you’re seeking more work/life balance, you can limit your social media engagement to downtimes: waiting in line or at the doctor’s office, sitting in traffic, during lunch, etc.
Shut it down at a certain hour/day.
If you’re on social media the minute you wake up and right before bed, it’s time for some boundaries. Consider putting your electronics away for the first hour after you wake up and/or at a certain time in the evening. This ensures you take time for self-care, hobbies, and relationships. For extra points, dedicate one day a week to no social media. That means no mindless scrolling, no checking in, no posting or commenting, nothing. Give your brain a break. You might be surprised at how the space will open doors to more creativity and productivity.
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