A lot of pastors tell me they don’t see how doing social media could be seen as productive work. They see things like Facebook and Twitter as a distraction from real work. I understand from an outsider’s perspective, social media can seem like a waste of time. Of course, if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know it’s that it not a waste of time. However, it’s a valid to ask how someone can stay productive while running social media.
If you’re running social media for your church or an organization, you probably know the tension between checking email, social media feeds, creating content and doing the rest of the work that’s on your plate. Granted, social media may be a part of your job, but the constant checking of social media feeds and responding can sometimes leave you feeling like you didn’t get anything accomplished.
To be honest, this is something I’m still trying to work through. There’s no manual on how to stay productive and run social media. However, there are some key habits that I’ve developed that have helped me become more productive and still stay on top of social media. These are habits that I’ve refined over time that have helped me still get work done and still stay on top of social media. Interested in developing the same habits? Well here are three to start with:
Note: For me, the defining book on productivity has been Getting Things Done, by David Allen. It’s commonly referred to as “GTD” in most productivity circles. At some points in this post, I’ll refer to “GTD” in this article. For more info, I suggest reading the latest version of the book.
In the Morning, Create Your Task List Then Check Social Media
When most people get up in the morning, the first thing they do is check their social media. Maybe it’s a fear of missing out or a way to catch up on what’s trending around the globe, either way it’s become our daily habit.
The problem with checking social media first, is that it can easily set your agenda for the day. Obviously, this isn’t the most productive way to start your day. Why? Well, when you constantly live in the immediate (i.e. social media), you never step back and take a look at what really are the important things that you need to get done.
To remedy this, start your morning by mapping out what two or three big tasks that you want to get done. These are the type of tasks that provide effective change to your church or organization. Take a moment and write them on index card or some other place that you can keep visible throughout the day.
By mapping out your major tasks first thing in the morning, you’re focusing your mind on what’s important. So when you do check social media, you look at from the mindset of how it fits into what you really want to get done.
Don’t let social media run your day, while it may feel good to accomplish quick tasks throughout the day, you’ll eventually find yourself asking yourself if you really got anything important done.
Create a System for Non-immediate Social Media Tasks
One of the things that GTD methodology teaches you, is that if you have a task that can be done in two minutes our less, just do it. There’s no sense in putting the task on to-do list if you can just get it done quickly.
However, there are those moments when you’re looking at social media and you see a tweet or a Facebook comment and it triggers something in your mind that you know that you need to do. However, what that task that it triggered in your mind is going to take longer than two minutes.
Now most people hope to remember the task later and they trust that their brain will remember it. Of course, this rarely happens and when your brain remembers to remind you about the task, it’s usually at the most inopportune moment.
In order to make sure you don’t forget tasks triggered by social media, you need to come up with a solution. For some people this is writing down the task in to-do list manager (i.e. Todoist, Omnifocus, etc…). For me, I copy a link to the social media post and put it in a task manager. For you, you might find it easier to email yourself the social media post or favorite it and use a tool like IFTTT (If This Then That) to send it to your task manager.
Regardless of the system you pick, you need to create a system by which you won’t forget tasks or ideas that come in from social media.
Keep a Running Journal
One of the first things I do in the morning (other than creating my daily task list) is writing a quick journal entry on how I felt about yesterday and how prepared I feel about today. My tool of choice is Day One.
This journal helps me ask the questions about whether or not I’m not on the right track. It also let’s me assess how effective I was the day before and If I need to make change to my routines in work or social media.
At the end of the week, I sit down and review my journal to get a sense of the whole week. I then begin to see patterns emerge and then I brainstorm tasks or ideas to try out the next week. By reviewing and reflecting, I’m keeping the bigger picture of what I want to get done in front of me.
Now It’s Your Turn…
These are just three of the habits I’ve developed to become more productive. What do you do to stay productive when you’re running social media? Click here to share below.