One of the biggest distractions you are likely to face in the day is social media. It’s everywhere. From your email to Facebook to whatever it is you do on your phone, there is a good chance that your social media use is cutting into your productivity — and probably isn’t even providing you with anything useful and fulfilling.

If you find that social media is killing your productivity, here are 4 tips you can use to reduce the impact it has on your life:

1. Understand the Problem

The first step is understanding the problem. You might be vaguely aware that you are using social media too much, or that you are prone to other distractions, but you might not understand the extent of the issue.

Keep a time journal for a week or two. You might be surprised at how much time you spend on social media. You can also use your time tracking to figure out what times you are more susceptible. I know that I am more likely to waste time on social media during mid-afternoon, when I’ve hit a slump. Understanding that helps me prepare mentally so that I’m less likely to succumb.

2. Prioritize Social Media Tasks

Many of us need to be on social media in order to promote a personal brand or to interact with customers. Sometimes email is urgent and needs to be addressed immediately. This reality shouldn’t be used as an excuse to check constantly throughout the day. Make it a point to prioritize certain interactions. You can take care of the urgent email, but don’t move on to the less important emails when you have other tasks to take care of. Divide your customer care social media accounts from other accounts so it’s easier to identify the most important tasks.

3. Set Aside Time for Social Media

I find that setting aside time for social media works best for me. This helps me focus on the essentials. When I know that social media time is coming up, it’s easier for me to keep away and focus on other things. Scheduling social time, whether it’s time to address email or time to respond on Twitter or create new Facebook posts, can help you stay focused. Plus, having a purpose while you’re on social media helps you avoid getting sidetracked.

4. Use Apps to Help You Stay On Task

One of the best ways to help you avoid distraction is to  use technology to help. There are a number of great apps that can help you stay on task. Focus Booster helps you keep on track for 25 minutes, following the Pomodoro technique. You can also use an app like Self Control (Mac users) or Rescue Time to block distracting websites for a set period of time. This can help you better focus since multi-tasking isn’t an actual thing, and we work better when we single-task.

In the end, balance is needed. You might need to retrain yourself to stop looking for distractions at each minute and focus on what will help you improve your business.

I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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