As part of my daily routine, I track how much time I spend on various tasks. I keep a note of the time I start a particular task and the time I finish. At different points throughout the day, normally when I take a break, I enter my notes into a spreadsheet that calculates the exact time I've spent on different tasks and tallies it up across the day, the week, the month, or any other time frame I want.
I will admit that it is a fancy spreadsheet system that I developed, but it works for me.
One task I track is how much time I spend on social media. Being the person who I am, trying to understand the dangers associated with social media and online activities, I need to spend some time on social media. But I am not immune to the time-suck that can occur.
In tracking my social media habits, there have been times when I have whittled away the entire day on social media. In the last month alone, I've spent 24 hours on social media and reading blogs. That might not sound like a lot, but that's approximately one hour per day spent scrolling through the feeds. Yes, it is not 100% doing nothing, as some of it is interacting with writers under my editor's hat, providing advice and building those valuable connections, but it is an hour a day that I could have been writing.
It is time for me to do a reassessment of my social media platform and to reevaluate exactly how much of that time I spend on social media and what I do while I'm there. Time to bring things back into alignment with my goals as a writer and editor.
The Social Media Realignment Experiment
During July, I had set myself the goal of finishing the first draft of my current work-in-progress. It didn't happen. It wasn't all because of the time I spent on social media, but that was part of it.
Mornings are my most productive time of the day, and if I don't get into writing as the sun is coming up, the day can be wasted away without me even realizing it.
I'm still on track for my goal of finishing this manuscript within one year, but if I want to achieve that self-imposed deadline, I need to finish writing this manuscript by the end of August. So, now is the perfect time to realign my activities on social media.
For the month of August, I will endeavor to decrease the time I spend on social media, focusing my efforts on building the valuable networks with writers and editors—and attempting to avoid the random news articles about the latest fashion fubars from celebrities.
I know that sounds wishy-washy, but I can't cut myself off from social media entirely. If I did, then I would cut myself off from the writing community.
My support networks, both as a writer and an editor, rely on social media channels. I associate with writers and editors from around the world, some of whom have become cheerleaders, mentors, and critique partners. If I go on complete hiatus from social media, I would cut myself off from the support that I gain from my international writing buddies that I rely on.
But some of my interactions on social media do not have any inherent value to them. (I shouldn't be looking at those posts about celebrities and their children who look so much like them.)
My goal for August is to realign my activities on social media with my goals as a writer and an editor. I will continue to post my sunrise photos on Instagram, which filter through to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Blog posts will continue to be written and their announcements will continue on various social media channels. And I will continue to interact with my support network.
I will know if I have realigned my social media habits with my desired activities if I manage to keep my time spent on social media and reading blogs down to less than 20 minutes a day on average. That's 10 hours across the entire month.
I can do this, and I'll keep people apprised of my progress via my personal blog.
August for me starts tomorrow. So, you can expect to see less of me on the social media from now on.