Ok, I’ll admit it….I’m a little bit addicted to social networks. Using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ is an important part of my work, but it probably fair to say that over the course of a day I am exceeding what is needed to effectively get the job done. When you add the many different blogs and websites I check daily for great content and industry news, I am beginning to consume an amazing amount of media.
And then it becomes a default habit, something that can easily fill the day and lead you down endless clickable rabbit holes.
I’m sure I’m not alone. These days we’re consuming more media than anytime in history. Its accessible 24/7 and sometimes it seems that we are too. The lines between work and play have become so blurred that we tend to suffer an inevitable burnout.
This year I am totally rethinking how I consume media with the aim to improve my productivity and put some more space between work and play. The approach I am adopting is based on dedicated devices and apps for different functions:
My laptop (which is also my workstation plugged into larger monitor) is now only to be used for client work, “productive work” and emails.
Client work is usually run through Basecamp and Highrise. Internally, my team and I use Yammer to communicate, share and collaborate. All 3 of these applications can also be accessed on iPhone or iPad if we’re on the move.
“Productive work” is predominantly writing; reports, posts for various websites, analytics and business proposals. I use WordPress, Joomla, Google Docs for writing. I only check work emails at work.
I have decided to switch to my iPhone for social networking. Because it is a totally different device don’t find myself checking in aimlessly as much. Whereas I previously flitted between multiple tabs on my browser, I now tend to finish whatever task I am using the computer for first then, walk away and take a break from my desk when I decide to check my favourite networks. The result so far is less chatter, more concise communications and far fewer interruptions.
I have used Google Reader for years to help sort my RSS subscriptions and it has served me well, but now I have removed RSS feeds from my laptop as they also tended to distract me each day as new posts piled up in Reader demanding to be viewed. Instead, I have my most valuable feeds coming into Flipboard on my iPhone or iPad.
While I’ve been using Flipboard on the iPad since it launched, the release of the iPhone app has made it even better. Once again, it allows me to walk away from my workstation for a break or to check during idle time. The way Flipboard presents feeds and social media links is brilliant and best of all I can share to my social networks or bookmark for later at the click of a button.
Lets face it…chatting online can be fun, but its the information and links we share that is of most value and Flipboard is an excellent way to filter this. I find that I am actually discovering more information from a wider range of sources this way than going to my default lists and searches. This in turn broadens my actual engagement with my network.
Away from the office I am using my iPhone for posting my usual (non work related) Twitter, Facebook, G+, Instagram updates and chats.
So far the new arrangements seem to be for the better. I’ve been able to batch my real work, force myself to walk away for breaks (rather than be anchored to my desk all day) and differentiate more between social for work and social for play. I already feel slightly less addicted and a little more in control. (It has nothing to do with my recent decrease in caffeine consumption …really).
Are you rethinking your media consumption too? How are you going about it?