Digital marketing

How to avoid getting sucked into the social media time drain

- May 24, 2023 4 MIN READ
Woman distracted by phone at desk

There is no doubt that social media plays a critical part in business. It’s essential, and there are no ways around it, nor should you try to work around it. There is only one real major downside with social media, and that is the rabbit hole it can lead you down. Next thing you know, you have spent hours scrolling, liking, posting, commenting, forwarding, etc. So it’s easy to wonder: Is social media a time vampire that is sucking the life out of your business? writes time management expert, Sam Tornatore.

The short answer is that it can be. While social media has the potential to be a powerful tool for your business, it can also be a significant time drain if not managed effectively.

But don’t beat yourself up too much, as social media can be a powerful candy-like addiction and we love it for three very good reasons:

Dopamine release:

When we engage with social media, it triggers the release of dopamine in our brains, which is a chemical associated with pleasure and reward. This can create a sense of pleasure and satisfaction that makes us want to keep using social media.

Social validation:

Social media can provide a sense of validation and approval from others, which can be very rewarding. People can feel a sense of social validation when they receive likes, comments and shares on their posts. This can create a cycle of seeking more validation and approval, leading to continued use of social media.

Fear of missing out (FOMO):

Social media can create a fear of missing out on important news, events or updates from friends, family and community. People may feel the need to constantly check their social media feeds to stay up to date and not miss out on anything important.

How to avoid getting sucked into the social media time drain

Instagram app open on phone

Now that you know why, what can we do to keep this time vampire away (or at least under control)?

Here are five common ways that social media can be sucking the life out of your business and what you can do about it.

1. Set time limits

Consider setting specific times each day to check or work on your social media accounts, and stick to them. You can also turn off notifications or use productivity apps that block social media during designated work times. Allocate certain days of the week to be ‘social media free’ and use that time to engage in other activities.

2. Ditch comparisons

You know full well social media promotes constant comparison. Seeing other businesses or individuals on social media with seemingly perfect lives and thriving businesses can make us feel like we are not doing enough, or not successful enough. This can lead to wasted time comparing ourselves to others, feeling demotivated, and even making poor business decisions.

To combat this, try to focus on your own goals and progress, rather than comparing yourself to others. Remember that social media is often a highlight reel and not always an accurate representation of someone’s entire life or business. Remind yourself of this often.

3. Filter out the noise

You can also unfollow or unfriend accounts that do not bring value or joy to your life. This helps clear out and filter the noise, and what you do receive in your social feed ends up being more real, relevant or reliable for you or your business. The remaining friends and pages would tend to be those more important, valuable and genuine to you.

4. Get an accountability buddy

Like a good Alcoholics Anonymous strategy, find a supportive community or accountability partner who can help you stay on track and reduce your social media use.

Accountability is a powerful tool. We sometimes easily let ourselves down but are less likely to break our word given to someone we trust or look up to. Accountability creates a sense of responsibility and ownership over our actions and decisions. When we are held accountable by someone else, we feel a sense of obligation to follow through on our commitments and meet expectations.

5. Delegate or outsource

My personal favourite and go-to solution is delegating social media responsibility. Delegating to a member of staff or outsourcing to a freelance professional can be incredibly powerful for businesses and individuals. By entrusting someone else with managing social media, it frees up time and mental energy to focus on other aspects of the business or personal life.

As an added bonus, delegating can lead to more consistent and higher-quality content. Leveraging the expertise and creativity of someone with a social media background means they will do a much better job than you ever could.

As always, when it comes to productivity and getting the most out of your time, focus on your strengths. Do what you do well and delegate tasks to people who are good at them and love them. One person’s misery job is another person’s delight.

Follow these points to avoid getting sucked into the time drain … and as with all my ideas and insights, don’t take my word for it; try it for yourself, and you be the judge.


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