March 3, 2015 By integrate

Learning to Disconnect

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As PR professionals we cringe at the mere thought of “disconnecting.” Why would anyone do that? What good can it do? A lot, actually.

This past week, I had the assignment to disconnect from all social media communication for a full 24 hours for my Strategic Social Media class. As expected, it was not easy. I was anxious that I could be missing out on breaking news on my Twitter feed and annoyed that I couldn’t easily connect with many of my friends who I normally talk to via Facebook. However, through the breakdowns, there were enlightening moments.

By making the most of your time on social media, it does make it easier to disconnect when necessary. Here are a few tips to make sure that your time on social media is spent as efficiently as possible.

~ Don’t forget that your personal life isn’t JUST on the web. When you want to keep up with the latest news or what your friends are up to, also think about the face-to-face alternatives like meeting up in person or grabbinga print issue of the Houston Chronicle at a coffee shop (yep, they do still print these!). It sometimes seems as if people are forgetting how to spend time together are and relying on status updates to keep up with their friends and family and news.

~ When checking in on your newsfeeds, try to do so without any disturbance or distractions. I know that it is tough to steer away from click-bait, but that is only going to take more time away from human interaction. We like to get news updates from Feedly, which is an app that allows you to consolidate magazine articles and blog posts of your interests (or your clients’ keywords) into one dashboard. Piqzel is a great app as well, developed by a local  programmer, that makes sure that you only see the news you want to see, so that your time is most efficient.

~ Download an app or Chrome extension that will block these sites during a specific time frame to better your time management. One app that has worked for me is Focus Timer. For only $3, this app follows the “Pomodoro Technique” which believes that our work should be segmented into 25-minute chunks. The app puts a timer on your desktop (which can be minimized onto the toolbar) and alerts you when you have time for a break. For example, before work I want to give myself only 30 minutes to check my social channels and I want to split that time evenly between each outlet. Focus Timer will then split up each task and set timers for each one and alert me when it is time to move on. It has worked wonders for me when I feel the need to take a break from studying, but I’m able to keep myself accountable within a realistic time frame. Additionally, when I want to block a website altogether because I know that urge for distraction is bound to arise, the Google Chrome extension, Block Site, is the way to go. This extension allows you to make a weekly schedule blocking your browser from any designated sites during a specific time frame.

All in all, disconnecting won’t be as tough if you go about it the right way, and trust me, you’ll see the benefits! We challenge you to take a day…. a few hours… ok, 30 minutes this week and TOTALLY disconnect. Let us know how your experience was and send us a tweet!

Writtney By Nancy Guiterrez