By Josh Kohlbach, CEO and founder of Rymera Web Co, the makers of Wholesale Suite, the No. 1 WooCommerce wholesale solution.
We all love social media. No matter how hard we try, it’s impossible to resist our temptation to scroll through our feeds every now and then. And why not? After all, it gives you a sneak peek into the world without even stepping out of your door.
But, there’s the added pressure of staying up to date with the latest trends and the need to compulsively post about every little thing and let the world know what’s happening in your life. And not in just one platform but across different platforms. For that, you have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Whatsapp and so many others to take care of.
But simply posting isn’t enough. You also need to reply to the comments you get on your posts, engage with other posts to get more engagement in yours and do so much more. By the time you’re done, you realize that you’ve spent more than half of the day liking, posting and commenting on social media.
Now, you think it’s time to start working on your most important project. But then, you keep wondering how many likes you might have received. You try not to check, but the urge is too strong to resist. So you give in.
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After a while, you’re done. But it’s 5 p.m. already, and you have a deadline the very next day. So you end up staying up all night to complete your task. And because of that, you spend the following day cranky, unproductive and sleepy.
This is just an example. There are likely many other instances when social media kills your productivity and affects you in other ways.
If you want to end this vicious cycle, it’s time for you to beat social media distractions to stay productive and boost your creativity. Here are a few ways you can try out to combat your social media addiction.
Create a distraction-free zone.
Social media is extremely engaging, which makes it distracting too. And it’s difficult to stay away from it. But you can stop yourself from indulging in any social media activities by creating a distraction-free zone for yourself.
All you have to do is to keep your phone away from this zone and resist the temptation to break away from this area. This can be difficult in the beginning. But you can manage it with a little bit of practice. You don’t have to do it for the entire day. Just try doing it for two to three hours a day and see what difference it makes.
Use a social media blocker.
It’s tempting to open multiple tabs while working, one of which is solely dedicated to social media. And you end up spending hours scrolling through it without even realizing how quickly the time went by.
If you don’t want that to happen, try using a social media blocker. These blockers come in the form of extensions, so when you add them to your browser, they block all social media from opening even if you try logging in.
You can also set timers for these blockers. For example, if you set it at 15 minutes, it makes sure that you are denied access to any social platform for those 15 minutes. After that, you can log in for five minutes or so before it blocks it again.
Turn off notifications.
It’s difficult not to check your phone when you hear that beep. So why not turn off your social media notifications entirely to stop them from distracting you? That way, you won’t even know if you have a notification or a message in your inbox. It’s a great way to beat social media distractions and regain productivity.
Set a schedule for checking social media.
Social media can be distracting, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it at all. You’re only trying to beat the distraction it’s causing, not banish it entirely. So it’s OK if you can use it within limits.
A good way of doing that is to set a schedule for checking social media. Stop scrolling through your feed randomly during your working hours. Instead, choose a particular time for it. You can pick any time after working hours or when you’re taking a break or not doing anything productive. This will ensure that you’re using it without affecting your daily routine and keep you entertained too.
Most of us are addicted to social media. It’s a great way of overcoming boredom and keeping in touch with friends and family you don’t meet with often. But using it to the extent that it affects your personal and professional life can be problematic. This doesn’t mean that you’ll ban it entirely. Instead, learn how to contain your usage. The above points can help you do that super effectively, so try them out and see if you can beat your social media distractions.
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Ever look at the clock and realize you’ve spent the last two hours surfing the Internet, reading Twitter posts, snapchatting on Snapchat or pinning on Pinterest?
10 ways social media is distracting:
- You seemingly have to watch what everyone else is up to: liking posts and following the live feeds. Otherwise you might miss something – right?
- You find yourself stalking people… wondering what they’re up to at any given time…
- You get drawn into content that might be interesting, but isn’t relevant to your studies or purpose.
- You end up taking Wiki walks, even if you didn’t mean to. (Randomly following Wikipedia links (or others) and reading articles, which ends up wasting a lot of time) The longer the walk, the more unrelated the articles become.
- You end up watching each account in case anyone contacts you directly
- If anyone does contact or mention you, you drop everything you’re doing and respond instantly to any comment or communication that comes your way.
- There are too many accounts and feeds to focus on.
- There are too many people to follow.
- You find yourself wandering the social mediasphere aimlessly, looking for relevant content.
- You ended up looking at what your friends were up to all day instead of doing your work.
I know people who have punted and just said no to using social media. While that is a solution, it’s not a very relevant one for those of us who do want to be effective in connecting with people near and far. A better one is making a conscious choice about how you use your time moment by moment. Here are some actions for avoiding social media and personal technology distractions:
- Turn off alerts and notifications (do not disturb for iPhones and there are apps for Android users).
- Check e-mail only three times a day.
- Use a second monitor (to decrease window-switching time).
- Schedule regular blocks of time to turn off your phone.
- Try creating a “3 Most Important Things for Today List” at the start of your day. Then at the end of the day, look at it, reflect on what you did – and plan for tomorrow. The hard part is to not go online or check email until you get your three things done. We can practice this in session.
We all face distractions on a daily basis. Distractions not only lower our productivity; they also increase our stress. You probably already know what distracts you the most—phone calls, emails, selfies, texting, Internet browsing, interrupting co-workers (fellow students or friends) and so on. Strategies like scheduling email checks, turning off your phone and leaving the office (your dorm/room) for a quieter environment may eliminate distractions so that you get more done.
10 ways not to be distracted by social media:
- Close news and social media sites. A helpful tip is to create an aggregated feed of all your favorite news sites. This helps you avoid wasting time wandering the Internet for headlines and updates.
- Close your Internet browser when you’re working. The precious seconds it takes to load the browser when you feel tempted to go online may be just the moment you need to become conscious of the time you’re wasting. If you must be logged in on a continual basis, try restricting yourself to three or four browser tabs for work-related sites. Close everything else.
- Plan times to interact with it. You may need to schedule when you will use social media, check Facebook or post selfies. If you allow yourself scheduled time each day to do this you can focus more on getting your work done instead of wondering where that time went. Stick to those times!
- Stick to the plan. Be disciplined, trust your plan, stick to it and review how it’s working, when you said you would. (It’s ok not to be on IG (Instagram) all day, really!)
- Reflect and adjust. You will want to closely monitor yourself on a daily and weekly basis and make adjustments. You should regularly ask yourself the following questions. While these are related to your studies and how to better acquire new skills, you could just as well use them in any work or life situation.
- What is my main goal?
- What is my goal for the week?
- What do I need to do today?
- Where am I at the moment?
- Is this technique/schedule/place/relationship/situation working?
- Is it worth improving? How can I improve it?
- Find the right place to study or work. Picking the right place to study is crucial because it has a major influence on the efficiency of the learning process. While you might like to study in your room, you’ll easily be distracted by TV, video games, or fashion magazines lying next to your bed. A coffee shop might seem like a good option but it can be noisy at times. Be sure to find a quiet and well lit place. If you are planning on spending long hours working or studying, it’s a good idea to make sure that your chair and desk are ergonomically designed for greater productivity. A bad physical setup can mess up both your posture and your work efficiency. And don’t forget snacks!
- Managing Physical Space. When you see clutter in your physical work spaces, try to take that as a sign that you need to hit a pause button. Usually it is because you are doing too much.
- Try online quarantine. For extreme measures, install Freedom, Anti-Social, SelfControl, Cold Turkey, or RescueTime, which put a temporary barrier on your access to certain websites on the net. Add all your social media sites to the blacklist. We can do this in coaching!
- Cut down. Choose and use the right types of social media. You don’t have to have or use every one. digmytwitfaceplusstumbleblogtube…!
- Just Say No (#YOLO). Maybe you are going to say no to social media for a day and go to meet with people, read a book, or take a walk. When I’m feeling most overwhelmed, I take a break. Even if it is just to get up and walk around my desk. The important thing is to disconnect every now and then so you can re-center and focus.
Social media is awesome but when it starts interfering to the point that your grades are suffering, you can’t or aren’t getting anything else done it is time to try some of the above techniques. If you feel your social media use is to the point where it is really out of hand (see below for a few signs) please let me or someone else you feel comfortable with know.
Some Signs Your Social Media Use is Out of Hand
- Losing track of time online
- Having trouble completing tasks at work or home
- Isolation from family and friends
- Feeling guilty or defensive about your Internet use
- Feeling a sense of euphoria while involved in Internet activities
Social media addiction has gotten to the point where some people prefer Facebook over sex, do status updates from the bathroom or upon waking at night, or even utter threats to the President on Twitter – a very public electronic medium – (obviously without realizing that sedition is illegal). While the addiction to socialize might be innate, excess time online can aggravate or stimulate symptoms of depression. Clearly there’s a problem and it’s growing, and since social media and social networks are very unlikely to disappear anytime soon, there are some precautions that high-frequency users might to take to keep addiction in check, thus leaving more productive or fun time available for real-life activities.
- Focus. Limit the number of social networks you use to only those most relevant to your work and personal life. For example, in the past I’ve regularly used LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for work and Plurk for personal use.
- Cull your network. If you really don’t know someone well or at all, don’t feel obligated to friend or follow them. Even though social media plays a large part in my daily work, I still do not approve every friend request. The person has to have some connection to me, either friends or interests in common, and has to display a real profile pic, not an avatar, photo of an inanimate object, or some random starlet.
- Use lists and filters. Sometimes there’s are pressing reasons for being connected to someone (i.e., not unfriending them), though you might want a temporary way to filter for a specific group of people without permanently “hiding” the status updates of other people. Both Twitter and Facebook offer friend list features that, if implemented properly, let you quickly view the status updates of a specific group of people. This way, you can view just the updates that are most relevant to you at any given moment. So if you associate certain roles or tasks with each list (business, personal, friends, friends + acquaintances, digital-only friends, etc.), it’ll be easier to filter for the updates you want to see.
- Use a schedule. Schedule your use of social media. Unless there’s an overwhelming reason otherwise, don’t leave Facebook or other social media sites open in a web browser tab all the time. The same goes for desktop Twitter or Facebook clients such as Tweetdeck, which end up being a huge distraction, especially if you follow/ friend a lot of people. I simply have trouble working when running desktop clients, so I’ve stopped using them except when I’m doing a bit of Twitter-based research. One way to avoid problems is to schedule your use of social networking sites in the same way that some productivity experts suggest scheduling reading of email messages.
- Set a timer. If after trying all of the above, you’re still having difficulty keeping track of time when you use social networking sites, trying setting a timer of some sort, with an alarm. For a very extreme method, you can use your smartphone or an alarm clock, but if you can have the timer/ alarm sound as annoying as possible (and out of reach of your arm), you’ll possibly start to associate using social networking with having to get out of your chair and turn off the annoyance. This might not help everyone, but it’s worth a try.
This is just a start on tips for keeping a social media addiction at bay. After finding myself answering email and checking Facebook from my iPhone while brushing my teeth each morning, and once nearly carrying it in the shower, I’ve tried to be more aware of such tendencies. Do you find yourself addicted to social networks and other social media? How do you cope with it, or does it affect your life? Feel free to share your thoughts.
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Love it or hate it, social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram have profoundly changed the way we think, communicate and socialize as a society. Instagram is even beginning to change features ( by hiding likes, for example ) in response to studies linking social media usage to increased rates of mental health issues like anxiety and depression . Given that mental health experts, researchers and other pros are voicing concerns on how our social-media obsessed society can more cause harm than we may have guessed, you may be wondering if it’s affecting your own mental health.
Now that more people are talking about the negative effects of using social media too much, it’s common to see friends on Instagram announce they’re doing a “detox” or taking a break from the apps for a period of time. But is quitting social media (even for a few days) a good idea and can it really help you in the long term?
According to Dr. Logan Jones, psychologist and founder of NYC Therapy + Wellness, it depends. While taking a break from social media can be helpful in some cases, according to Jones, there’s a lot more to be said surrounding why you’re taking a break in the first place.
Keep reading to find out why taking a break from social media is not enough to change your health, and how to make your social media use better for your mental health.
In our age of social media, it’s easy to get sucked into checking every app.
Chesnot / Getty Images
Why simply quitting social media isn’t enough
First, it’s important to keep in mind that social media is literally addictive. Just like a drug, it’s designed to trigger reward centers in your brain every time you see a notification on your phone or a like on your latest Instagram post. And this is why the cold-turkey approach sometimes won’t cut it (or will be so tough you’ll give up).
“On a deeper level, these social media companies know exactly what they are doing [from] a neurological perspective. What they’re doing is called intermittent reinforcement — it’s what casinos do too with slot machines. And it’s the same with swiping on Tinder or checking your Instagram. The addiction is the reward pathway, it’s a dopamine hit,” Jones said.
Instead of totally quitting your social media, Jones recommends taking smaller steps to mitigate your habits. “I think it’s a problem when people start too big. Start somewhere, where there’s the least resistance,” Jones said. Examples of small steps to help break your addiction include turning off notifications, turning off vibrate, and using a feature on your phone that monitors how much time you spend on social apps .
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Something I’ve personally found helpful with creating better boundaries around my own social media use is implementing “cut-off” times for my phone. Starting around 9 p.m., I won’t check social media and I won’t look at it again until after 7:30 or 8 a.m. the next day. While I’m not totally avoiding using it, I feel like this time frame helps me feel much more centered and positive, not reactive and distracted.
Consider why you check social media
While checking your phone and social media throughout the day seems normal, it’s a habit that we sometimes don’t realize may be compensating for something else. According to Jones, people often use social media as a form of escape from an uncomfortable feeling like boredom, loneliness or another negative emotion.
“Addiction is anything you do to escape a feeling that has a life-damaging consequence. So a lot of people will turn to social media to escape a feeling of boredom, loneliness, wasting time — whatever feeling they want to escape. The life-damaging consequences of social media addiction are that you are not present and as engaged with life,” Jones said. To see this IRL, just look around next time you’re out at dinner and chances are you’ll see a table of people staring at their phones and not talking to each other.
It’s tempting to open Instagram when you feel lonely, but it can ultimately make you feel worse.
Besides lack of engagement and presence around family, friends and coworkers, Jones says social media creates feelings of envy, which is also negative for mental health. “People are displaying filtered versions of life, which is not healthy, it’s very unrealistic,” Jones said.
Since social media can be a quick or easy fix to avoid negative feelings, you can ask yourself the following questions to evaluate what you could be avoiding and may need to address in another way in your life.
- What are you potentially avoiding or using social media to escape from?
- How is being on social media making you feel? Are you comparing yourself to others or using it to judge others? Does it make you feel inadequate?
- Do you rely on social media for your self-esteem? If you only feel good about yourself when your posts gets a lot of likes, this could be you.
Use positive reinforcement to build better social media habits
Like Jones suggested, using an app or Apple’s Screen Time feature on your phone is a good first step for being more mindful of your social media usage. You may be surprised how much time scrolling Instagram can add up. According to Jones, it can be helpful to evaluate this time and choose something more positive and intentional you’d rather fill your time with (like reading, workout out, or spending time with friends IRL).
If you decide to fill your former social media time with a new activity, like say reading, it will take a few weeks for the new habit to set in. It’s totally normal to sit down to read and feel the urge to check social media for a while. But, it’s best to commit to your routine and try not to break it (even if it’s just “no social media after 9 p.m.”) for at least three to four weeks, according to Jones.
“From a behavioral point of view, doing something for three weeks or at least 21 days will allow you to form a new habit. You really are rewiring a certain part of your brain when you try it,” Jones said. And Jones said it’s helpful to add in a positive activity, instead of just telling yourself or others that you’re cutting down on social media.
“The best way to reinforce behavior is to do more of it. So instead of saying, ‘I’m not going to do social media’, you can say ‘I’m working on being more present.’ So you want to be affirming healthy, positive things that you’re doing,” Jones said.
May 1 2017
Social media is everywhere. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. LinkedIn. YouTube. There are also dating and gaming sites, and more. Social media is a part of the fabric of our lives today, and can be an integral part of our lives. You may want to consider establishing a few ground rules to avoid any potential dangers of social media on your relationships.
The Pros of Social Media and Relationships
Social media can play a significant role in our society today. The effect of social media on relationships can positively impact couples who spend a lot of time apart. Alexandra Samuel, PhD, director of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University and a social media consultant, suggests that when both partners participate in social media together, it can be a way for busy couples to connect when apart. Samuel and her husband regularly Tweet to keep in touch and cheer each other on.
According to an article written by Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D., in Psychology Today, social media can aid relationships by making it easier for partners to integrate their once disconnected social networks. Lanier-Graham says her Facebook feed makes her husband’s co-workers feel as if they know her, and has served as an icebreaker when meeting those people in real-world social settings.
The Dangers of Social Media on Relationships
Social media may not always be used in positive ways. Understanding the pitfalls can help you be aware of the potential dangers of social media on today’s relationships. Darren Adamson, PhD, , LMFT, Chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Sciences at Northcentral University, lays out three potential dangers facing couples:
- Social media serves as a distraction from focusing on the interactions that nurture relationships. “Social media use can become compulsive,” explains Adamson, “making it difficult to manage the amount of time spent on it.” In fact, according to a study cited by PsychCentral, American college students describe abstaining from social media the same way they describe drug and alcohol withdrawal—cravings, anxiety, feeling jittery.
- People share their best lives on social media, so couples sometimes compare their mundane lives with other’s exciting lives, which can create destructive comparisons. “This can lead to discouragement with one’s primary relationship,” says Adamson. “That discouragement can lead to conflict, fear, unrealistic expectations—why can’t you be like the partner portrayed in the social media posts?—or an overall discontentment with the relationship.”
- There is the potential for another relationship that looks so much better than the primary relationship. “This can lead to extra-couple relationships that ultimately destroy the primary relationship,” warns Adamson.
Guidelines for Maintaining a Healthy Balance Between Social Media and Relationships
As evidenced by couples who do use social media to their advantage, it is possible to have healthy relationships and be actively involved in social media. In fact, a 2013 study in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that people who share information about their relationship on Facebook were comfortable in their relationship. However, Adamson points out that setting guidelines on how to effectively use social media can mean the difference between a healthy use of social media in a relationship, and taking it into the danger zone.
- Don’t use social media as a negative point of comparison for your relationship. “If you feel compelled to make comparisons involving your relationship,” explains Adamson, “compare where your relationship is today with what it was like a year ago—or five or ten years ago for those in a long-term relationship. Let the results of the comparison prompt changes in behavior that can build your relationship.
- Spend time nurturing your relationship. “Do things that create closeness in your relationship,” encourages Adamson, “and do them regularly without distraction.” This means leaving the cell phone at home—out of sight and out of mind. The distraction factor is one of the biggest challenges with social media. According to a study by Scientific American, the presence of a cell phone can be detrimental to interpersonal relationships.
- Do not maintain a separate social media life. “Share your social media world with your partner,” Adamson encourages.
Social media is a part of our modern society, but there are also dangers in social media if couples let it get out of control. As Adamson points out, you must keep in mind that social media is exactly what the name implies—media. “It is not a separate and distinct world,” Adamson maintains. “It does not sustain relationships, because it is based on virtual reality that, by its nature, is not able to support the activities required to make a relationship work.” That is up to you as individuals, and it still requires old-fashioned hard work.
Pursuing a Career in Marriage and Family Therapy
If you’re interested in pursuing a degree to help counsel individuals, couples and families navigate the natural stressors and unexpected challenges of life. NCU offers doctoral, master’s and post-graduate certificate programs 1 in marriage and family therapy. NCU offers the first distance-based MAMFT program to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), plus the first and only distance-based PhD in MFT program to be accredited by COAMFTE. 2
With coursework delivered online 3 , you will also gain experience with face-to-face client interaction through practicums and internships in your local community under the direction of an approved clinical supervisor. Courses are taught by professors who all hold doctoral degrees, so you learn from seasoned professionals in your field of study.
Click here to view NCU’s Marriage and Family Therapy programs.
1 For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed programs, and other important information, please visit our website at www.ncu.edu/program-disclosures.
2 The MAMFT and PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy programs at Northcentral University are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), 112 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, (703) 838-9808, [email protected]
3 Marriage & Family Sciences courses are primarily online, however, practicum/internships/clinical supervision activities include traditional engagement in the communities in which our students live.
Author : Rob Ashton
Posted : 26 / 09 / 13
Writer’s block used to mean sitting at your desk, staring into the empty void that was your screen and hoping for inspiration.
Ah, those were the days. Now it’s not emptiness but a world crammed with tempting morsels that’s the problem. Gone is the blank screen. In its place is an infinite variety of distractions, each way more enticing than not just writing but even thinking about writing.
Half the problem is the very place where you write your documents – your computer. Because that’s where most of the distractions are. Even the best ideas stand helpless against an onslaught of instant messages, notifications, Google searches and browser tabs (each of which can easily lead you to the other, forming a complex loop that quickly fills your head with a kind of digital fug).
I never thought I’d feel nostalgic for plain vanilla writer’s block. But in the era before the web got its spindly filaments into every part of our lives, at least you could identify and isolate the problem. Maybe it was fear of failure. Perhaps a lack of ideas. These days, concentrating for more than a few minutes is a challenge in itself. Trying to join two ideas together takes near super-human focus.
Fortunately, I think I may have discovered the solution. And focus is at its core.
It’s an online course called Focused Every Day, from the author David Levin. (You can try a free version of the programme here.)
I’ve actually tried this course and it worked for me. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the most effective programmes I’ve followed in a long, long time. (To put the recommendation in context, this is the first time in our 15-year history that we’ve endorsed a course from someone else.)
It’s improved my own focus many-fold, with the result not only that ideas have begun to flow again but that I’ve been able to capture and act on them. It’s made distraction much, much easier to control and dramatically improved my own business-writing output.
So, why does it work?
I think it’s because Levin has taken some very simple yet powerful concepts and made them incredibly easy to apply. It’s a deceptively straightforward course.
This and the author’s gentle, engaging delivery are its great strengths. It’s such a refreshing change from, say, books that require you to memorise intricate concepts or change your entire approach to everyday life.
I strongly urge you to give it a go. Sign up for the free training videos here.
Unless you’re an influencer or responsible for updating your employer’s social media platforms, succumbing to a social media addiction won’t pay the bills.
If you’ve worked hard to cultivate your professional persona IRL, the last thing you want is for your boss to catch you checking Facebook or posting to Snapchat. Even if you’re not caught red-handed, spending too much time on social media during work hours is going to have a negative effect on your productivity.
If you find yourself constantly scrolling and swiping, it’s time to focus on the job at hand. Here are four ways you can avoid social media distractions while you’re at work.
1. Turn Off Alerts
It’s tough to resist the pull of social media when your device dings or buzzes every time someone posts or messages you. If you have your smartphone set up for alerts, it’s time to toggle off notifications so you aren’t constantly distracted by signals.
Chances are you’ll find you won’t miss the stream alerts filling your lockscreen after they no longer exist. However, if you feel removing alerts is going to make you want to reach for your phone even more, keep reading please.
Do You Know What You’re Worth?
2. Set a Schedule for Checking Social Media
FOMO is a strong motivation, and it can often make you feel compelled to check your feeds every five minutes. This is not a recipe for completing your real work in a smart manner. The solution is to provide yourself social media moments with a set schedule.
Breaks are a necessary part of any workday to reboot your brain and improve overall efficiency. Use your break time to scroll through your feeds if you can’t wait to the end of the day to catch up on what you’ve been missing.
3. Use an App to Keep You in Check
Apps for controlling your social media engagement have become essential downloads. If you’re using your phone too much, Sense allows you to set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over. Offtime provides analytics of your phone usage and enhances your self-control by setting hurdles, reminders or restricting access to any apps you find distracting. Freedom lets you block time-wasting apps or even the whole internet if you need to.
4. Turn Off Your Phone
If all else fails, simply power down your device for a set number of hours. The hassle of powering back on should be enough to stop you from doing it every few minutes, so you can focus on work for a solid chunk of time.
According to a recent report in Social Media Today, the average person will spend nearly two hours on social media every day, which translates to a total of five years and four months spent over a lifetime. Cutting back on distractions at work won’t just prevent you from getting into trouble with your boss, it could give you back valuable time you didn’t even realize you were missing.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”The average person will spend a total of five years and four months on social media during their lifetime. Cutting back on distractions at work could give you back valuable time you didn’t even realize you were missing.” quote=”The average person will spend a total of five years and four months on social media during their lifetime. Cutting back on distractions at work could give you back valuable time you didn’t even realize you were missing.”]
Tell Us What You Think
How do you manage social media distractions during your workday? We want to hear from you. Share your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.
Octavia Goredema is a career coach and the founder of Twenty Ten Talent. Find her on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @OctaviaGoredema.
Distracted much? Interruptions are the curse of this modern life we live. Day and night our phones, social media platforms, and other gadgets, buzz, ping, beep their way into our attention. This distracts us from whatever we are doing. It did become clear that these distractions hurt our productivity at work. I mean, pretty obvious, if you are completely honest with yourself how many times a day do you check your phone when it lights up or makes a sound ? Especially when you need to study for an exam or something and you have your phone next to your books. Let me tell you, not much studying is happening then, unless you put it on airplane-mode.
A study published in the Journal of Media Education last January 2016, also stated that using digital devices in classrooms for non-class reasons have its costs. Students were asked what the biggest disadvantages were and nearly 89 percent responded that “they don’t pay attention” and, therefore, miss instructions or other important information. The main reasons why students use their digital device is that they want to “stay connected” and “fight boredom”.
However, for many of us non-students our phone is our work. We literally cannot go to work without it. What if we don’t respond soon enough and the deal is off the table? That would be a shame, wouldn’t it?
Gloria Mark at the University of California has presented research that argues that standard office workers can only work for eleven minutes straight, before they get interrupted, most often by their phone. But what about multitasking? Isn’t that a thing?
Multitasking or Rapid Toggling?
The discussion starts with the neuroscientists. They say that there are very few people in the world who can actually multitask. Neuroscience researchers argue that what people call multitasking should actually be called “rapid toggling” between tasks. This means that the brain concentrates quickly on one topic and then switches to another.
This “switching” is not ‘free’; it takes time for the mind to get deeply involved with a single topic, therefore, transitioning between tasks can decrease productivity and mental performance. You take more time to complete tasks, you are less focussed and you are more likely to make mistakes.
Our brain can do amazing things like designing rockets that fly to the moon and make brownies, but it can only think about one thing at a time. So, multitasking is, in fact, not a thing.
Social Media & Communication
Right, now we’ve gained some interesting insights about multitasking. Let’s touch on the influence of social media on education and learning.
All distraction and disruptions aside, mobile technology has changed everything. We live in a world where learning is connected and through this, the impact of social media on education is becoming a driving aspect. The way we deliver instructions is changing due to social media; the world is getting smaller.
Let’s have a look at video communication platforms, such as Skype. There is no longer a need for a faculty member or student to be in the same room: instructions can be given over great distances. I must add that this system has its downsides as the internet connection can be bad and messages can always be misunderstood, and I’m talking from experience here. What I do think would be pretty cool is a hologram as a teacher, I mean that would add some vibrancy to the learning process, but we’re getting off topic here.
Social media is such a dominant part of our modern society these days. Did you know that, on average, Millennials checks their phone more than 150 times a day?! 150 times. That’s crazy. That’s 120 times more than the average adult, who checks it only 30 times a day.
When people check their phone, it doesn’t always have to do with social media, of course, but nevertheless, just to give you an estimation: in 2016, users spent roughly 50 minutes per day on social media. This might not sound like that much, and you probably think that you spend way more time on social media than 50 minutes per day. However, when you compare it to a recent survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics it is actually a lot of time. The results of this survey show that people spend way less time on other leisure activities like sports or exercise (17 minutes), or reading (19 minutes). People spend about 1 hour eating and drinking per day and social media takes up almost the same amount?!
So, what are positive impacts of social media on learning and education? Some positive influences are that social media sites can increase student collaboration. It is very easy to communicate via these mediums. Conversely, social media platforms are full of unimportant and surreal stuff, however, this increases the student ability to ‘filter’ information and learn only to use the relevant sources. Furthermore, students have the ability to reach out to experts across different disciplines.
What about the negative impacts of social media on education? First of all, (shocker) it is very distracting. From personal experience, I know for a fact that when a class gets boring, first thing you do is check your phone and social media. During breaks, you’re less social. Nowadays, when you go out for dinner and look around, how many people are on the phone instead of having a real conversation? When people mainly communicate via technology, body language clues can be missed; it’s like having half a conversation.
Now, of course, we are talking about communicating, when we communicate via social media or WhatsApp or something else, we tend to make a lot of spelling mistakes or write words differently on purpose. Many of these messenger platforms have a grammar correct function, but students do not develop the same accuracy than when they actually write the word themselves.
Whether we like it or not, social media has a powerful impact on education and learning. It has its positive and negative influences, but if I go from personal experience, and then I primarily look at the distracting aspect, I would say mainly negative effects. The fact is, social media – and mobile technology – will continue to evolve and change the educational landscape.
This post is brought to you by one of AQ’s Undergraduates, Paula van Staalduinen. As part of our internship programs, undergraduates and classic interns are encouraged to take part in company culture. Paula’s primary project focuses on training programs and eLearning and how best to adapt this to industries under pressure.
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