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.

Fall Lineup Five (The Conclusion)

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

Fall Lineup

Wahoo!

The stunning conclusion to my fall lineup five and my closing comments

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!


Here’s a quick synopsis of my top five television shows from the 2011 fall lineup

Once Upon A Time

I said I was most looking forward to this show and so far it hasn’t disappointed. It’s got an interesting concept, although as the series goes on I think the writing is actually getting weaker. So I hope they step it up a notch moving forward.

New Girl

I had high hopes for this one and I thought the first six episodes were horrible. But beginning around the Thanksgiving episode right before Christmas, I’ve enjoyed New Girl quite a bit.

Community

Well this show may not make it past Season 3. Which is unfortunate. But actually, I kind of get it. These people are in Community College and it’s about them, the seven in the study group. So what happens when they graduate?

Parks and Recreation

This show has lived up to my expectations. And even though I hate to admit it, when Ben lost his job I even cried a little.

The Big Bang Theory

I like the direction the show is going. I’m glad they’re developing more characters than just Sheldon (sorry, but too much of a good thing…) and I find myself anticipating the new episodes.

I'm very excited for new shows this fall. Here is my Fall Lineup Five for 2011. Except it's actually "autumn" because fall isn't a season it's a verb.

My Beef With Bullet Points

If you know me at all you know I love me a good list so are you confused at my beef with bullet points? I get it. And my blog agrees.

My Beef With Bullet Points

However, I’ve noticed a trend in the blogging world. Bloggers are straying from ye olde paragraph (or even ye olde complete sentence) in favour of…bullet points. Listicles if you will.

My Beef with Bullet Points

I complained about this on Twitter once, to which I received an immediate response from a blogger simply saying (I don’t know the tone but I’m going to go with a bit defensive) it’s because no one reads blogs anymore. They scan.

Fair enough. I scan most blogs, it’s true. However. If it’s excellent writing, I stick around and read. So please for the love of God write complete sentences. And paragraphs.

Actually, though, lists are an excellent tool and knowing how to use them properly is a great skill. But this little blogging trend to use bullets instead of paragraphs is not actually utilizing the list function of said bullet points. It’s merely demonstrating laziness.

For, what I’m noticing is rambling points, which could have easily been turned into paragraphs but weren’t cause, you know, “I’m busy.”

We’re all busy

Unless you’re writing a list, write your paragraphs and don’t shortchange your readers.

And if you want a quick rundown on how to format a list properly, go to Grammar Girl. She’s the best.

Here’s a brief excerpt

Experts have raised valid concerns that people overuse lists in PowerPoint presentations and for presenting complex information, but the scant attention to lists in most style guides has always baffled me because you can hardly open a Web page, marketing brochure, or user manual without walking smack into a list. Marketing experts and web designers know that most people visually scan these kinds of simple or instructional documents instead of reading every word, and that lists improve a scanner’s ability to remember key points.

To be honest this is kind of an academic article about lists. I was hoping for more opinions about when to use a bullet list and when to write a complete sentence.

I love a good list. However, I've noticed a trend in the blogging world. Bloggers are straying from ye olde paragraph in favour of…bullet points. Yuck!

Other grammar rants

Fall Lineup Five Revisited

Since we’re at mid-season in the television world, this seems like an appropriate time to revisit my Fall Lineup Five from this summer. You know, the post wherin I shared the television shows I was most looking forward to this season.

Fall Lineup

This is not to say I spend a lot of time in front of the TV. Unfortunately, I spend most of my time working a day job and, lately, crafting, freelance writing, and trying to do some sort of daily athletic activity.

But these shows have made it into my couch time and here is my report.

Fall Lineup Five Revisited

Once Upon A Time

I said I was most looking forward to this show and so far it hasn’t disappointed. It’s got an interesting concept, although as the series goes on I think the writing is actually getting weaker. So I hope they step it up a notch moving forward.

Also I find it interesting how I don’t mind watching it live. Since I’m getting so used to watching on demand I have little patience for commercials let alone waiting an entire week to see the next episode. So there must be some power in this show. To bring me outside my watching habits so smoothly.

New Girl

I had high hopes for this one and I thought the first six episodes were horrible. But since I had such high hopes, I was optimistic the actors would get comfortable with their characters (especially since it seems like the show will be sticking around so maybe they’ll feel some job security) and kept watching.

And I’m glad I did. Beginning around the Thanksgiving episode right before Christmas, I’ve enjoyed New Girl quite a bit. And my husband even laughed at the one with the towels. And he’s a tough nut to crack.

Community

Well this show may not make it past Season 3. Which is unfortunate. But actually, I kind of get it. These people are in Community College and it’s about them, the seven in the study group. So what happens when they graduate? I know the writers have been addressing this problem by taking many of the scenes off campus but honestly they’re not as good. It’s the quirky college and the weird students and of course the dean who really give the show colour.

My husband was their biggest fan and he’s only really enjoyed a few episodes from this season. I’ve enjoyed most or all of them, but I’m perhaps a little easier to please entertainment-wise.

All I’m trying to say is I think he has a good sense of comedy and so if he says the show is lagging…and then the network puts the show on a lengthy hiatus…well, even I can do that math.

Parks and Recreation

This show has lived up to my expectations. And even though I hate to admit it, when Ben lost his job I even cried a little.

This season has been creative and humorous and unexpected. Great job.

The Big Bang Theory

This one has been kind of up and down. I think they have a lot to live up to, which is difficult. It’s tough to stay on top.

But I like the direction the show is going. I’m glad they’re developing more characters than just Sheldon (sorry, but too much of a good thing…) and I find myself anticipating the new episodes.

Well that’s the quick update and re-cap of my fall lineup top five shows. And there’s more!

In the meantime I’ve added a couple new shows to my repertoire. Ever since my brush with vampires I’ve been watching Castle. As well I—by chance—caught an episode of Fringe and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. So I borrowed the first season and am planning a marathon in front of the fireplace at my next opportunity. So…June perhaps. No, July.

I'm very excited for new shows this fall. Here is my Fall Lineup Five for 2011. Except it's actually "autumn" because fall isn't a season it's a verb.

See the stunning conclusion to my Fall Lineup Five