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So, you survived a seven-hour social media outage on October 4, 2021. Perhaps it was frustrating; I wanted to scroll endlessly to get past another Monday of emailing and strategizing.
Social media gets a lot of criticism, and there is no shortage of studies to back up the criticism. For example, a 2018 study from the University of Pennsylvania found significant reductions in depression, anxiety, and fear of missing out (FOMO) when research participants reduced their social media use to 30 minutes or less per day.
But social media is also a powerful tool that allows us to connect when we want and learn when we want to. The events of October 4 reminded us that we need to be conscious of our time and use of social media.
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What the blackout revealed on social media on October 4
Here’s what most likely happened throughout your day when most social media sites went down.
I worried: “Is this only happening to me?” I went to Google or Twitter for answers, then was relieved to see everyone is offline. You may have caught your breath. You will not miss any trends or updates. With nothing to scroll through, you’ve refocused on what matters: your work, projects, communication, and real life.
And as a result? You may have experienced a surge of productivity and excitement. Perhaps you felt like you could finally keep up, things were moving freely, and you weren’t bogged down by quick social media posts and alerts. It makes sense: to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to focus and let your ideas flow.
Flow is the optimal state of action and occurs when you are fully immersed in an activity and are able to focus without self-doubt or distraction. As entrepreneurs, we try to hack our flow and create the conditions to reach the on-demand flow. But with social media distractions, finding the flow is an uphill battle.
The most successful entrepreneurs in their genius zone. What you have to do is the same; This is how you will find your flow. Social media won’t break most Mondays, but if you pretend it’s down or act like it doesn’t have much power, your creative energy will flow effortlessly.
Which is why you became an entrepreneur after all, right? You are an innovator who wants to do things differently. You are changing the way we perceive business, work and lifestyle. And the world depends on you.
Related: 8 Simple Ways to Make Social Media Work for Your Business
How to effectively spend less time on social media
Here are six ways to continue paying less attention to social media so you can have more success today.
- Make time to stop social media in the first half of your day. Start by scheduling it for five minutes. This could be the time to breathe, daydream before waking up, read three pages of a book, doodle in the morning, or make an extra delicious tea.
- Make time to be on social media, ideally in the second half of the day, to improve your focus early on, allowing high-level thinking windows to be customized for you and your goals. I have an alarm that goes off at noon to check in with the world. If I hear the alert and don’t feel motivated to go on social media, I don’t. Be kind to yourself, as you train your brain to adapt.
- Define your goal through social media and place this reminder front and center above or next to your desk. This is the main reason for logging in – again, having focused on non-social media tasks. Make this an easy-to-display reminder: It can sound as a general affirmation like “Focus on what matters” or be very specific like “When I post I introduce my business.” Focusing with a clear purpose and intent also helps you feel better about the time you spend on social media
- Make spending less and less time on social media a contest with a colleague or family member. Make the prize something meaningful and check in daily. Sometimes talking about social media helps us laugh out loud and realize that it’s real life and not technology. This may be a way to make sure you are satisfied with the way you spend your time.
- Trust yourself to focus on the work that matters. Create a system of positive affirmations that you repeat to remember that social media growth and engagement are not your ultimate goals, and these goals can include: My time is precious. My business growth depends on my focus. Reducing scrolling will speed up my earnings. I’m browsing for a purpose. Scrolling for 30 minutes a day is helpful.
- Delegate social media to a team member or a few team members who are passionate about the task. You are an entrepreneur and innovator, not a solo entrepreneur. To stay in your genius zone, you must make a perfect mandate. Social media authorization allows you to stream for days and weeks instead of just crashing apps.
Social media will be around in one way or another forever. As entrepreneurs, we want to improve it for success; However, taking intentional breaks more often leads us to trust ourselves and channel our own genius so that we can get creative from an innovative mindset. Our business depends on us for the flow, and minimizing social media is a fast track to success and mental clarity.
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