As useful and fun as Twitter can be, it can also be both addictive and a major distraction. Many times in the past I’ve tried to write a blog post or work on some other big project and I’d lose my focus because I had Twitter open and kept getting drawn to it, wanting to tweet something, see what others were tweeting or just reply to somebody. Of course, this is a common and well documented problem with most social media sites, but I’ve found Twitter to be particularly bad, if for no other reason that it’s so simple and quick to use.
It’s now increasingly documented that multi-tasking, and just generally allowing distractions into your life is a poor way of getting things done. If you’re tweeting while trying to do your work, that work will take much longer and require more effort to do. If you don’t want to waste your time like that, try implementing these four tips when using Twitter:
The first, and perhaps most effective measure is to set limits. That could involve having particular days on when to tweet, setting time limits or even tweet limits (how many tweets you will make per day). Rather than dipping in and out of Twitter when it calls to you, putting aside perhaps an hour a day or choosing Saturday to use it when you know you’re going to be least busy, means you can really give your tweeting the attention it deserves, and thus shut it out of your mind the rest of the time.
Identify what you want to achieve
You like Twitter. You use it regularly. Why? Why are you craving all those followers and tweeting fifty times a day? So many people use Twitter without understanding what they’re getting out of it. Are you trying to promote a product? Make new friends? Interact with interesting people? Identify what you want to get out of your Twitter experience so that you can tweet with purpose and focus. Tweeting for the sake of it is a very easy-but-bad habit to slip into.
What value are you offering?
Sorry to say it, but the vast bulk of tweets are irrelevant. Tweeting every little thought and activity you have and do is pointless (and it has indeed caused Twitter a lot of ridicule in the past). If you think a little before each tweet as to whether it has value, meaning and worth, both to yourself, your followers and the wider audience, you will make your overall Twitter experience and the time you put into it much more satisfying and meaningful.
Cut out distractions
When I originally downloaded Tweetdeck, as useful as I found it to be, it was initially also a big attention whore. Beeping every time it updated, refreshing every couple of seconds… it was so distracting, it was difficult to not be drawn away from whatever else I was doing. I’ve now tamed it to the point where I can look at it when I want to. The same goes for whatever app you use, including any email notifications you might get from Twitter. And of course if that doesn’t work, just use the golden rule – close Twitter until you’re ready to use it!