How to combat social media distractions at work

Few people can concentrate on work 100% of the time. However, with the proliferation of social media platforms available to us these days, most of us are open to distraction during office hours.

Social media does have its advantages in the workplace. It can be an excellent marketing tool; a way to access work-related news, information, and inspiration; and a channel for communicating more informally with colleagues and even clients. However, it can also be a huge diversion. Tweeting, updating your Facebook status, or checking LinkedIn when you are working can provide a quick stress relieving break. When these interruptions are not managed carefully, however, they can impact on your concentration levels and result in errors, delayed response times, and inevitably even negatively affect your performance.

If you feel like you are often very busy getting very little done, here are five ways to manage social media distractions at work.

  1. Organise your time

Set aside a few hours each day for work tasks and projects that require your full attention. During this time, make it a rule to switch off all social media notifications and even close your email. It also helps to ask your co-workers not to distract you with anything that is not urgent during this time. This will give you the breathing space you need to complete – or at least make significant progress – on the projects that require your undivided attention each day.

  1. Designate your devices

A smart way to reduce social media distractions is to assign one device – usually your laptop or desktop computer – as a social media free zone. If you make it a rule that this device is for work only, you will minimise the amount of personal content that comes across your desk while you’re working. You could go even further to designate a device for personal use only, such as your smart phone, which means you will be free of work distractions when you’re at home or spending time with loved ones.

  1. Organise your desk

A tidy and well-stocked workspace sets the scene for a more productive work day. Tower has a great range of products for the office that make it easier for you to organise your paperwork and communicate with colleagues and clients. Packed in easy to use dispenser boxes, Tower Instruction Labels convey various versions of the most common office messages. Designed in eye-catching colours, they can be applied to parcels and envelopes to distinguish different types of mail or placed on invoices and statements as reminders. You can also keep your files in order with Tower Lever Arch Labels.

  1. Minimise multitasking

Many of us view multitasking as a skill. However, when you’re simultaneously answering a colleague’s question on Skype, chatting to your boss on the phone, and checking a WhatsApp message from your partner – are you really giving any of these tasks the attention that they deserve? One simple way to cut back on multitasking is to make it a personal rule not to have too many browser windows and applications open at any one time. This will minimise the risk of distractions.

  1. Schedule time for social media

Just as you set aside time for important projects, carve out some time each day to check and update your social media profiles. You could take a chunk of time, say 45 minutes over your lunch break, or set aside 10 minutes for social media every few hours. It’s important to be realistic about the fact that social media is a part of your life and to understand that you do need a break from work every now and then to prevent your concentration from flagging!

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