How to Avoid Social Media Overwhelm

Overload. Burnout. Addiction. Whatever you call it, social media overwhelm is real and reduces our capacity to connect…ironically.

How to Avoid Social Media Overwhelm

I heard a stat the other day saying we look at our phones an average of 150 times per day. I don’t know if it’s true but when I’m deep-down honest with myself I wonder how many times I look at my phone. A lot. And why? Much of the time I’m not doing anything. Opening apps, refreshing feeds, seeing if that was my phone that buzzed.

And that’s just checking what other people are posting. What about posting itself? How much time do I spend thinking about social media? If I’m deep-down honest…more than 150 times per day. Thinking about strategy, researching tactics, and testing tools can be a full-time job if you let it.

So what can be done about social media overwhelm?

Oh, lots. First of all, you can take the extreme approach by avoiding it, banning it from your life, removing apps from your phone, or doing a social media detox. All those things are fine—but extreme. If you’re trying to grow your platform going off social media, although good for your mental health, doesn’t help you grow. What if there was a way to have the best of both worlds? Limit the time you spend on social media/in the digital world but be present when you’re there?

Yes, I’m trying to paint a picture of you being intentionally social rather than mindlessly scrolling. Not a crazy thing! I think you can do it!

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Here are my top five tips for avoiding social media overwhelm

  1. Create a strategy
  2. I do this for a living so of course I’ll recommend building a social media marketing strategy. This isn’t hard but you do need to spend some time thinking about what you want to get out of social media. Why are you there? What are your goals? Who do you want to connect with? Figure these things out and everything gets easier from here. (Want some help? Here’s my Five Step Social Media Strategy for Writers.)

  3. Create a posting schedule
  4. Your posting schedule (also known as a content calendar or social focus) is a lifesaver. Instead of showing up going “I need to post today but I don’t know what to dooooooo,” you say “OK, so my focus today is encouragement so what do I have that’s encouraging? On one of the accounts I manage I created a basic posting schedule to help me come up with content but to also remain consistent. Mondays: Contests or opportunities, Tuesdays: General knowledge, Wednesdays: Ask a question, Thursdays: Contests or opportunities, Fridays: Article share. See? There’s a posting schedule, just like that. (If you want to go deeper, here’s my article on how to create a content calendar.)

  5. Choose your focus (ahead of time)
  6. You can’t be everywhere. So which network will you focus on? There is a lot of advice out there for which networks have the biggest payoff but you will need to decide for yourself what works. A couple questions to consider when choosing your social networks: Where are you most comfortable online? Where are your clients/readers most comfortable online? (You can go deeper on choosing your social networks here.)

  7. Get help
  8. Whoa. But we writers are solitary creatures! Yes, but we also tend to get in our heads and spiral. When you’re feeling social media overwhelm creep up, get help. This could be by speaking with a mentor or colleague, taking a course/learning a new skill, or hiring someone. The point is, get help. (Here’s a great story about a time I was asked for help and we ended up re-launching JenniMarie’s photography business.)

  9. Use scheduling tools
  10. Use them like they’re going out of style. USE TOOLS! They not only help you organize your social life, but if set up right, they allow you to focus on what you need to and filter out the rest. The right scheduling tools will keep social media overwhelm at bay and help you reach your social and business goals. (Here are my 15 best apps for freelance writers, including my favourite social media scheduling tools.)

    OK! That wasn’t so hard was it? Now get out there and be social!

    I heard a stat the other day saying we look at our phones an average of 150 times per day. I don't know if it's true but when I'm deep-down honest with myself I wonder how many times I look at my phone. A lot. And why? Much of the time I'm not doing anything. Opening apps, refreshing feeds, seeing if that was my phone that buzzed. And that's just checking what other people are posting. What about posting itself? How much time do I spend thinking about social media? If I'm deep-down honest...more than 150 times per day. Thinking about strategy, researching tactics, and testing tools can be a full-time job if you let it. So what can be done about social media overwhelm? Here are my top five tips for avoiding social media overwhelm.

Top Five Spring Cleaning Essentials [roundup]

SPRING CLEANING ESSENTIALS

I know the snow isn’t gone for everyone but it is for me (although I’m still waiting for the sunny days) and as a result I’m feeling the itch to get my spring cleaning on and bin the purge. But I know I can’t do it all. To avoid overwhelm and failure, this year I’m keeping things streamlined and simple. Here are my spring cleaning essentials for the busy person who has better things to do but still really really really wants to spring clean.

Top Five Spring Cleaning Essentials

  1. Make a plan
  2. I love this spring cleaning planner from Living Well Spending Less. Not only does it force you to clarify your “why” and break down your cleaning plan into manageable steps, but it gives you space to write your top five spring cleaning goals. I love it! And even better, it’s a free download for a limited time.

  3. Make your own cleaners
  4. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be expensive. If you download the spring cleaning planner jump to page 13 for a bunch of DIY cleaner recipes. Of course my favourite is my DIY Shower Cleaner followed by my DIY Window Cleaner.

  5. Purge your closet and create a capsule wardrobe
  6. I’ll admit, this is the one I haven’t quite completed. I do quarterly “wear everything in my closet and get rid of everything I won’t/can’t wear” events but haven’t been able to pare down my wardrobe to a capsule-size…yet. But it’s a goal. One I’m circling. I love this how-to guide from The Urban Umbrella although if you’re just looking for a cheat sheet, this is a good one.

  7. Sell your extra stuff
  8. I love this tip from Side Hustle Nation. Embrace the purge, then sell it. Just because you’re not using an item doesn’t mean it’s not valuable or usable. In fact, it may be just what another person is searching for. Why not make a few bucks off your spring cleaning? I don’t know about you but it sure motivates me!

  9. Spring clean your email
  10. No kidding! Just because you don’t trip over your virtual files doesn’t mean they don’t overwhelm you. I remember a time when 600 emails in my inbox was normal. What!? Too many! These Email Inbox Management Tips from Fizzle were just what I needed to take my overflowing inbox by the horns and get it down to zero. True story. I got my inbox to zero and every Friday I spend a few minutes getting it back down to something reasonable. And I can’t tell you how amazing it feels.

Alright! These are my spring cleaning essentials—I hope you find some inspiration from this list or at least the courage to tackle one pile of junk this season. Oh, and I hope you’ll get unburied from the snow soon.

I know the snow isn’t gone for everyone but it is for me (although I’m still waiting for the sunny days) and as a result I’m feeling the itch to get my spring cleaning on and bin the purge. But I know I can’t do it all. To avoid overwhelm and failure, this year I’m keeping things streamlined and simple. Here are my spring cleaning essentials for the busy person who has better things to do but still really really really wants to spring clean.

Surprisingly, These Are My Top Five Apps

Of course I use a lot of apps, as most people with a smartphone do. Because you have to use apps to use your smartphone.

But when I began thinking about the apps I use the most, like every day, I realized I use some more than I thought I did.

Top Five Apps I Used in 2012

IMDB

I know, right? Exactly WHAT am I doing using this app every single day? Through some serious reflection I came to the understanding that I talk about arts and entertainment constantly. I like knowing trivia, following the careers of certain entertainers (ones I like and ones I’m amused by mostly), and answering the question “Where do I know this actor from?”

What I’m still trying to figure out is if this is a seriously bad habit, an uncontrolled addiction, or an interest I’ve been ignoring.

Instagram

It’s funny because I don’t actually use this app much, maybe once a week. However, I scroll through the posted photos two, three times a day. It’s probably the layout, so phone-friendly. I actually prefer other photo services to Instagram but they don’t have as good apps.

So…thanks everyone I follow for posting such interesting and addictive photos to keep me coming back!

Words With Friends

To those who have followed this blog for a while, it should be no surprise I’m crazy about Scrabble. However, it should also be no surprise I’m not a fan of the actual Scrabble game because of the “Scrabulous incident” a few years back. Turned my stomach.

WWF is a really great second—it’s interactive and of course it helps that everyone I know plays it so there are always loads of games on the go.

Dropbox

I started using Dropbox a couple years ago for work…and it kind of snowballed from there. Everything is integrated with Dropbox. Everything. OK, not everything, but a lot. I know cloud-based systems are all over the place now, so why stick with the old guy on the block, but I haven’t adapted to any other system as quickly as this one. I love that I can go from my work computer to my phone, to my home computer, to my tablet, and back again.

I especially love not having to remember external hard drives or thumb drives anymore. And emailing myself documents? Pft. That’s so 2011.

Facebook

This app is the one I’m least enthusiastic about including in my Top Five. Because it hardly ever works anymore and I resent how much I rely on Facebook to keep up with my friends.

My goal for 2013 is to replace this app in my Top Five with something more important, like Podcasts, or my Calendar (those are both in my Top Ten).

Other apps in the up-and-coming category? Here’s the shortlist:

  • Songza (recent discovery, haven’t given it enough time yet)
  • Cineplex (love it, quite handy)
  • Run Keeper (if it’s going to make the Top Five, I’m going to have to get running more!)
  • Netflix (what can I say, I’m a loyal convert)
  • Hootsuite (ask me more, love this service)
  • Scramble (My resolution for 2013 is to finally BEAT my sister-in-law at this game ONCE!)

And now is my official plea for your app recommendations. I’m always looking and welcome your suggestions! Happy New Year!

Finding Excitement in the Every Day

Ever since I acknowledged my severe lack of note-taking of late I’ve really been trying to do better.

Finding Excitement in the Every Day

And I have been. I keep a notepad by my computer (with a pen) and whenever I have a thought I write it down on my “blogs to write” list.

And yet, I come to take a look at it when “it’s time” and I think man these ideas suck.

Mostly I guess it’s because there’s nothing much happening in my life. I mean, there’s the usual but it’s so…every day.

Perhaps my goal should be to find interesting stories in the dailyness of life. Because finding stories in new and exciting places is so easy.

Finding good stories when life is boring is…well now that’s a challenge!

Fall Lineup Five (The Conclusion)

Well, it’s official. All of the shows from my Fall Lineup Five seem to be coming back for another season.

Wahoo!

I was a bit worried there for a while, and still NBC is the only network to officially announce their schedule so far (in which Community DID make the list), but in reading around the Interweb it seems the TV reviewers/junkies out there are quite confident the rest of my Top Five will be returning.

So that’s good news.

This is the first time I can recall where I made a guess of shows that I might like before I’d seen them. A bit unlike me, but also a fun test. Not sure if I’ll do it again next year though. It was quite stressful rooting for all these shows, hoping they’d make it based on no more than my hopes for their story lines.

Yes, quite stressful.

Ahh, who am I kidding. See you next fall TV schedule!