Social media sneaks into the workplace. Over two-thirds (68 percent) of employees feel using social media for personal reasons each day as a break from work tasks is appropriate. That’s staggering.
But let’s be honest, to do a good job at work, you really need to be focused on the task at hand. Still, it’s hard to ignore distractions like the “dings” from Facebook. A study from Gloria Mark of UCI found that it takes about 25 minutes for your brain to “toggle” back to the task at hand after an interruption. And social media is the most addicting interruption of all.
Social media and the 24/7 news cycle are luring by design. And, so far in 2017, news is breaking and tweets are tweeting at a ludicrous pace. In this environment, a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) might have you checking your accounts all too frequently.
So, how do you stay focused on your 9 to 5? How do you avoid the temptation of social media and the juicy news cycle?
You do it by following these 5 tips:
Understand that social media is less important than you think.
Unless you’re a social media marketing specialist, using social media isn’t really a priority. It’s a distraction. A middle-schooler can send a clever tweet or post a viral video. There’s no reason for you to be doing this when you have real skills to sharpen and actual work to do. You’re much more likely to get a promotion, a raise or your next job based on your accomplishments than you are based on the number of followers you have.
Turn off push notifications.
Seriously, just turn them off. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a day when your brain isn’t constantly switching gears to re-focus on the task at hand. Yes, it’s difficult at first, but you’ll quickly adapt—and might even feel a sense of relief!
Get lost in music.
Dr. Teresa Lesiuk found that music affects workplace performance. She found that those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t, because the music improved their mood. So, let the music take you to Productivity Town, population: you.
Can’t quit on your own? Get help from some apps.
If you lack the self-control it takes to ignore the temptation of social media—it’s OK to admit it—help is available. There are now apps to help you pull the plug on distraction. For instance, SelfControl is a free app that lets you block specific websites for up to 24 hours, so Facebook and Twitter can stay off of your screen during work hours.
Set and limit your “down” times.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, 34 percent of people who use social media at work do so to take a mental break from their job. Okay, so you’re included in that 34 percent. That’s alright. If you’re worried about feeling like an ostrich with your head in the sand, just be sure to designate a set time to check the headlines during the workday. This might take the form of a 15-minute segment during your lunch break. Whatever the case, limit yourself!
For other workplace tips, visit accountingprincipals.com.