Lately, I have been wondering where all the time I used to have to enter contests went. I used to have time to enter sweepstakes for an hour or two every day. Now I am lucky if I enter a dozen.
When I started entering on a daily basis in 2001 I was unemployed and married, but we were childless. It was easy to find time to enter. Then I had a baby, moved, wrote a book, launched a business, wrote another book, and all the while I found time to enter and hour or two per day.
Then life threw me a few curve balls. Everyone gets them. At that time, something had to give and it was my hobby. I stopped entering for months at a time. I kept telling myself when I was ‘back on track’ my hobby would resume as before.
Things slowly started getting better. I moved again, wrote another book and I was still not entering. It was only recently I realized where the ‘missing’ hour or two went and never came back. The same problem I have with finding time to contest is the same problem I have as social media marketer. I get caught in the Great Time Suck.
The Great Time Suck
What exactly is the Great Time Suck?
You can probably guess from the name what it is. It’s when you pop on to Facebook ‘for a minute’, then after reading a few articles, looking at friend’s pictures, and before you know it a half an hour, or more, has passed. Same with any other channel. Spending hours on Pinterest looking a clothes or recipes. Scrolling through your Instagram feed seeing what people and companies are posting. Checking out a videos on Snapchat. Catching what your favorite vloggers have to say on YouTube. Following the news, updates and insanity on Twitter, in real time!
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
What is worse, is I justify my poor social media time management on my job.
Not only do I teach others how to find, organize, enter and win, but I work with companies on designing, creating, executing and viral marketing sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways. Plus, I own a digital marketing company offering content writing and community management services. I have a lot of places to draw blame from.
A few of the excuses I like to use are:
- I need to see what is trending.
- What are my client’s competitors posting?
- Who has likes, followed or commented on my social channels?
It’s easy to point fingers. It’s easy to be the victim. It’s harder to accept the responsibility that trolling Facebook, Twitter or Instagram isn’t work, but a fine way to procrastinate getting work done, or more importantly, be present.
So, how does one escape the suck and still remain productive as a social media marketer?
Be aware you are making excuses. Excuses keep people stuck in old patterns or as a reason to keep people from moving forward. Excuses are so prevalent in today’s society Wayne Dyer wrote a book on it: Excuses Begone! Are the excuses you are using keeping you stuck or blocking your growth, both personally or professionally?
I recommend you monitor yourself for a week and consciously watch what you do and why. What are you telling yourself? Are you on Hootsuite actually monitoring and posting on the client’s account or are you reading their Twitter feed? Why do you pop onto a specific channel when you do? How much time are you spending there, doing what?
FOR GOOD, NOT EVIL
Just as you can use a knife to chop vegetables for a delicious meal or use it to stab someone, it’s not the tool but how you use it. Use your phone for good. Instead of using your phone to troll Facebook while in the loo, use it to manage your time.
I like to use the Timer feature on my phone. I set it for an hour and clear out email. Another hour for one client account. One more for my own social media marketing. I find it helps keep me focused as I am ‘on the clock’. It also helps me manage my billable client time since I know exactly how much time I spend on any given account.
I plan to also use this step to help me get back into my hobby of entering sweepstakes. It will carve out a specific amount of time each that I can use to begin winning again.
OUT OF SIGHT
One way to promote better sleep (as you are not exposed to blue light late at night) and mindfulness in bed is to charge your phone across the room. I used to keep mine on my nightstand plugged in behind my bed. Now it is across the room on my dresser. Now I just have to stop waking to the alarm, grabbing my phone and crawling back under the covers, using the excuse, “What earth shattering important thing happened over night that can’t wait until I have gotten ready and sat at my desk?”
What steps are you going to take to avoid The Great Time Suck?