How To Save Time In a Distracting Online World of Social Media, Email & YouTube – Without Pulling the Internet’s Plug!
With these 7 time-tested approaches and simple tweaks to online time management, you will chart your smooth course through the turbulent waters of Web based social networking – and create a lasting impact on Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and more… in just 10 minutes every day.
Time Management Challenges Even Hercules Didn’t Face!
Greek mythology tells us how Hercules performed twelve labors for King Eurystheus of Tiryns. It took him 12 long years to do exotic and exciting things like kill the Nemean lion, clean the Augean stables, and bring back the Golden Apples of the Hesperides.
That was the stuff of ancient heroes and legends. Today, you and I handle similar challenges every time we log on to the Internet!
Online time management is a real struggle for everyday folks. The Web has become ubiquitous – and now it has gone mobile, chasing after us on our cell phones, iPads, and other mobile computing devices.
But it doesn’t come with extra hours to indulge in these distractions – which is what fuels our growing frustration and stress levels as we try to squeeze our growing task list into a shrinking work day, made even shorter by diverse online distractions.
Then, Email – Now, Social Media
15 years ago, most of my time online went to managing email. With a thriving Web business and dozens of websites, my email inbox was constantly full, and I kept checking it every hour (or more often) – and relied on personal time management software to streamline my work.
Today, even though I’ve disciplined myself to limit email to 15 minute segments twice daily, the time saved can be easily gobbled up by the enticement of engaging on social networks.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube are but 5 of the behemoths in this space – and if I linked out to each of them from here, you’d probably never finish reading this report!
You’ll need skills in online time management and motivation of a high order to control your impulse to click away – and never come back.
This isn’t all you have to battle.
There are hundreds of other niche networks on which you can easily spend the greater part of your waking hours, while your efficiency goes down the drain!
- So how to take back your time?
- What is online time management?
- And what is the trick to getting things done, without having to unplug the Internet?
7 Helpful Tips To Better Online Time Management
These easy, quick-to-implement ideas will help maximize the value of your online networking.
1. Focus on One Platform at a Time
Having Gmail, Twitter and Facebook open in different windows of your Web browser is a surefire way to throw an hour or two away. Set your timer for the duration you are able to focus on social media, and devote it to one platform at a time.
Maybe it will be Facebook. Log on. Check your Wall for posts. Share, Like or Post a message for your network. Answer your private messages. Check on the Groups you are on. And, when the time you’ve assigned yourself is over, close the browser window and return to other work.
This sequence will be effective with any of the social networks you are active on.
2. Really Engage With Your Network
The biggest advantages to working online are:
- unlimited research potential
- collaboration and networking
At your fingertips lies a vast plethora of information, all of it accessible at the click of a mouse button. That’s one of the most compelling reasons to use the Internet for your work, no matter what field you’re in.
The other benefit is its global reach, which lets you partner and collaborate with people anywhere in the world… without even leaving your seat!
Intensely and intimately engaging with your audience online is an excellent use of your time. By dedicating most of your effort to doing this well, you will maximize your investment.
3. Realize Your Limitations
Accept that you won’t ever read everything that’s on the Web. It’s like a gushing fire-hose of information. Trying to drink your fill from it will leave you gasping for breath – and desperately short of time.
Carefully choosing the bits that you want to consume, and that can be fit into the limited time at your disposal, lies at the heart of intelligent online time management.
4. Organize Yourself Well
Each online network or service has its unique features, style and culture. Use each one intelligently by adopting these characteristics in a way that brings you the highest value – without wasting your time.
This may mean using a tool like Tweet Deck for optimizing Twitter. Or installing a mobile app for Facebook. Or downloading your email to an offline client.
A few quick minutes devoted to organizing yourself better can save you many valuable hours over time.
5. Use Your Discretion
Pick and choose the people and activities that you’ll engage with online.
Some people are extremely noisy, chatty, or even funny. Having them in your network may end up wasting too much of your time. Though it may appear you’re having fun, in the end you’ll fall short of your important goals.
And whenever you find yourself being distracted by things and folks in your network, bite the bullet and take them off your list.
Remember, you’re going to focus only on important things – and that extends to your online time management also.
6. Centralize Your Networking
It is tempting to flit from one online site or service to another, trying to keep up with what’s happening on each. But if you’re hopping from Sokule to EmpireAvenue, and from Reddit to Plurk, all in search of news of your network – stop!
Invite your friends and contacts to ONE spot of your choice. Limit your engagement to that single network. You’ll save precious hours from just that simple tweak to your online time management.
7. Ignore Shiny New Things
Every social network tries to boost the ‘stickiness’ of its service. That makes sense because they are rewarded by advertisers for the attention of their users.
But it’s bad news for you, because what keeps you sticking around their website is taking you away from YOUR “important work”!
So learn to ignore these devices.
- On Facebook, it’s an eye-catching red button that’s hard to resist.
- With Gmail, it’s a notification of new email.
- On Twitter, it’s that frequently refreshing screen with news updates.
- On WhatsApp, there are many, all working together to keep you hooked on the network.
If nothing else works for you, close the windows/tabs in your Web browser, shut down the programs, tools and apps, and focus completely on your important tasks.
Time Management and Motivation
Does all of this sound abstract and impersonal to you?
Ok, let’s make it more concrete and definite, so that you’ll be motivated to try out this style of online time management.
I’ll focus exclusively on Twitter, and show exactly how to limit yourself to no more than 10 minutes a day on this service, and still reap rich rewards from engaging your audience.
By adopting a similar approach to your work online, you too can enjoy all the benefits of the Internet – without wasting your work day browsing around aimlessly.
Online Time Management : How To Do Twitter – In 10 Minutes a Day
1. Limit the people you follow:
I follow no more than 40 people on Twitter at any time. This lets me engage in more personal, detailed conversations with a few friends, and nurture deeper connections rather than indulge in superficial chitchat with a crowd of strangers.
2. Check your time line:
I still use Twitter’s Web interface (no tools or apps for me) and start by quickly scanning my timeline for any interesting news.
3. Explore Links:
Whenever something sounds interesting, I open the link to it in a new window. Only after I finish scanning the entire time line do I view each link in turn. This saves precious time, as the page loads with graphics, video or other content.
4. Share Interesting Tid-bits:
Whenever I find something that might interest my followers, I tweet it. I’ll re-tweet interesting posts, and credit the author (which makes them happy, and wins me new friends!)
5. Engage in Conversations:
When my friends are online, I reply to their tweets or reach out for mini-conversations which only take a few minutes, but help nurture an ongoing relationship.
6. Give value:
Each time I visit Twitter, it is with the clear intention of delivering value to my network. Maybe by sharing an inspirational quote. Or a joke. Or a link to something nice. A profitable tip. Spotlighting a person. Whatever.
7. Know When to STOP:
Many Twitter users don’t know how and when to stop. It’s important to learn this for effective online time management. You can leave quietly. Or sign off with a tweet, explaining when you’ll be back.
Remember these tips – and you’ll easily handle Twitter in 10 minutes a day.
Think about how these principles apply to other online services or networks that keep chipping away at your limited time, and you’ll be able to intelligently save time as you pursue your meaningful goals – while harnessing the power of the Internet.
The key is being able to focus exclusively on your most important tasks. In one of the Ming Vase Time Management guides, “How To Focus“, we get deep into this aspect of online time management.
You’ll discover dozens of ways to concentrate on what you’re doing, and reveal a tested-and-proven system to retain focus without becoming stressed or frustrated.
Online time management can be fun – when you know the right approach and practice it.
On the Time Management Tao website, we have plenty of material to guide you to the best ways to manage your time – by tapping into 3 simple and powerful principles.
We’ll show you a way and style of management of time that is rooted in balance.
You’ll learn how to:
- Find your center – know WHAT to do
- Understand your order – know HOW to do it
- Pick your timing – know WHO to use & WHEN
And to continue receiving tips about saving time and boosting your efficiency, make sure you sign up for our free email newsletter – the “Time Taozine” – by filling in the registration form here.