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3 Ways Social Media Can Help You Avoid Procrastination

Social media for procrastinating writers

by Jennifer on August 3, 2011

This is a guest post from Adam Green of Adam Green Media.

You heard me right. Social media really can help you avoid procrastination.

If that comes as a surprise, it’s because the situation is often the other way around. Instead of finishing an article, you find you’ve blown the entire day looking at your best friend’s vacation photos or coming up with the most witty tweets and status updates one can possibly imagine.

It was fun. But you still have lots of work to do.

The following tips will help you turn social media distractions into productive exercises. While there will always be time for the mindless perusal of profile updates, limiting your daytime exploits in social media to these activities really will help you avoid procrastination.

And be sure to read to the end. I’ve saved the best tip for last.

1. Spend time in “work-related” communities.

Those of us who make a living as freelancers already know (or have probably heard, at least) what a valuable networking tool social media can be. But if you’re only using social media for leisurely giggles, you probably won’t be getting new business any time soon.

Joining work-related groups on social media sites, however, is not procrastination.

For freelancers, LinkedIn groups are a good way to get started. Jump into the conversation and network with new people. These could be people who work for the kinds of publications in which you usually publish or they could be other freelance writers. Either way, you’re making new connections.

When you’re marketing yourself, you’re no longer procrastinating. You’re working. The more you push yourself to be active in these communities, the more likely you’ll be to participate in them over the long-term.

2. Only follow people who encourage you.

This tip is for the Twitterheads among us. If you follow a lot of people on Twitter, go down your list and unfollow everyone for whom you cannot answer “yes” to the following questions:

•    Does this person help me do better work?
•    Will following this person help me be successful?

You’ll probably find yourself unfollowing a lot of people, and that’s OK! By following only those people who inspire you, you’ll eliminate a lot of the noise that steers you off course.

And if every tweet that appears on your screen encourages you to meet your goals, you’ll be more likely to pursue them.

3. Broadcast your goals.

This tip is probably the most valuable of the lot. Use your favorite social sites to tell everyone what you’re working on and when you plan to have it done. If you have deadlines, mention when they occur.

Why should you do this? Because telling others about your goals will make you more likely to achieve them. What better way to ensure you’ll finish those last few hours of editing by telling 500+ Twitter followers that you’re dedicating your day to it? What better way to respond to a friend’s Facebook invitation than to tell him you’ll arrive at his event as soon as you’re done writing your next blog post?

These people are sure to ask you whether you finished your projects on time. Wouldn’t it be nice to tell them you did?

Social media may be a distraction for most, but that doesn’t mean writers should avoid it. Constructive use of your favorite social media sites may actually advance your career and help you meet your writing goals.

How has social media helped you with your writing?

About The Author: Adam Green is a freelance copywriter in Atlanta, Georgia. He also plays the guitar and dabbles in R analytics from time to time. If you don’t find his tweets too distracting (and you won’t), you can follow him on Twitter @AdamGreenMedia.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jonathon Miller August 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I have tried similar tactics, and it seems to work for me. The hard part is unfollowing friends on Twitter. Especially the really prolific ones that waste your time, but will be offended if they find out that you are no longer following them.

2 Adam Green August 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Jonathon, I know what you mean. If it’s personal friends who aren’t exactly inspiring on Twitter, it may help to have two Twitter accounts – one for business networking and one for friendly socializing. I realize some people could find that to be MORE distracting, but it actually works for me.

3 Emerald Barnes August 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Interesting take on social media. I have found out that I have the tendency to avoid my actually writing by getting online. However, you’re right. On Google+ I have mostly added writers to my circles. That way, we all are discussing writing and what helps and what doesn’t. Twitter is more useful for me when it comes to advertising my writing. But, I do see encouraging tweets from fellow writers.
I blog in order to get my goals out there which in turn helps with a community of fellow writers helping me reach my goals. Great post. I enjoyed reading it!

4 Emerald Barnes August 4, 2011 at 1:33 am

@ Jennifer. Sorry. I’m slightly confused. I don’t see a “buy” button either.

5 Jennifer August 4, 2011 at 7:04 am

@Emerald Sorry, I commented on the wrong post. Haha. There was another person with an “E” name that commented on a different post asking for a TOC preview of Butt-In-Chair and when I clicked on “reply” on my iPhone Wordpress app it responded to your comment instead of the other person’s. No wonder you’re confused! Haha.

6 Kristen August 4, 2011 at 8:58 am

“I’m marketing myself” has become my best new excuse to be maintaining my blog and social media. But I love the tip about spending time in work-related communities. The more time I spend on writing-related blogs, the more guilty I feel about the time I’ve spent not writing. Really nice post–definitely applies to me!

7 Emerald Barnes August 4, 2011 at 11:24 am

@ Jennifer Haha. That’s fine! I completely understand! I know how that Wordpress app can be! 🙂

8 Ondi Laure August 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Thank you Adam, I have felt that I should unfollow people, and have not. I do ignore their tweets, though. I really like the idea of broadcasting my goals, this is a great place for me to put your words in motion.
Thanks again

9 Jennifer August 7, 2011 at 6:06 am

@Ondi I’m with you. I used to follow a ton of people because I thought that was the beat way to use Twitter. But I’ve come to regard Adam’s advice as genius. After reading his guest post I cleaned out my Twitter account and now I am only following a small group of people. One great thing about doing this is now when I read thru my news feed I get all inspiration and things from people who I feel can make me more successful, and none of the random junk I used to see if my feed.

10 Kelley August 8, 2011 at 7:22 am

Very good points. Especially about who to follow 🙂

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