How Social Media Makes You Feel Productive (Even When You’re Not)

Shot of a younger man utilizing a laptop computer and smartphone whereas working from house


It solely takes a minute to really feel productive on social media.
You reply just a few tweets, click on like on just a few images you see on Facebook, and put up a brand new recipe on Instagram. This micro-productivity teases your mind and offers you dopamine rewards that really feel professional, virtually like actual work.

Then the minute ends. Did you accomplish something? Maybe not.
The drawback is that transferring from one app to a different so rapidly causes rigidity as a result of our brains are usually not wired to make that many selections so rapidly. We’re at all times on overload, whilst these emotions of utmost productiveness make us be ok with our work.
Feeling good shouldn’t be the identical as conducting one thing. Our brains don’t fairly grasp that, as a result of ending a process is usually the purpose, not making progress.
Think of it this manner. Let’s say it’s worthwhile to sort up a report in your boss a couple of new undertaking beginning this fall. You must put some thought into the work, and sort up sections which might be insightful.

The complete course of may take you an hour or two, and if you find yourself carried out, you may have a completed doc you’ll be able to share with others. The undertaking can transfer ahead, different individuals can contribute to the hassle, and you’ve got added actual worth to the agency.

On social media, you’ll be able to sort simply as a lot textual content, click on as many buttons, and even transmit the identical variety of bits and bytes. In truth, you’ll be able to in all probability produce extra textual content and ship extra data over digital channels. Your fingers may damage, your again aches — the laptop computer nonetheless chirps at you that it wants a cost. You drink espresso and should assume arduous.

But look again on the time you spent. Sharing these tweets, posting that content material for others to see, and clicking all of these hyperlinks mimics actual work however if you find yourself carried out, you won’t have something to indicate for it however just a few memes and quips you transmitted to the lots. No undertaking strikes ahead, no coworkers can end their very own duties, the corporate received’t be capable to present you probably did something that’s quantifiable.

It’s not excellent news for anybody.
Now, if you happen to work in social media advertising and marketing and schedule posts for a content material advertising and marketing effort, this isn’t true for you. You can accomplish nice issues for an organization and advance a trigger. Most of us don’t have a job like that. We’re all residing within the phantasm of actual work on social media and doing “stuff” that appears useful and purposeful, nevertheless it isn’t.
How do you modify that? I’m not about to recommend you keep away from the apps altogether. For one factor, that doesn’t work. Quitting platforms simply means you will discover different methods to do pretend work, as a result of pretend work is much simpler and, as I discussed, makes you’re feeling like you might be conducting as a lot (if no more) if you find yourself consistently clicking and sharing.
Instead, I like to recommend a completely completely different technique. It’s referred to as timed utilization, and it’s an thought I’ve been mentioning very often these days. (I even wrote a e book about it.) The thought is to set a timer for any exercise that seems like actual work as a approach to ensure you don’t overload your mind. It means, you set a purpose for social media (and different duties like electronic mail) inside a set window, after which transfer on to one thing else when the clock runs out.
It works. I’ve been timing myself doing duties on-line for years. It teaches you to set parameters so you’ll be able to keep away from getting caught in a loop of unproductivity that feels productive. If you wish to attempt the system, right here’s a fast problem to check your social media obsession.
If you attempt the problem, ping me by electronic mail so we will evaluate notes. After that, attempt timing your self whenever you use social media and cease clicking as soon as the timer runs out.

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About the Author: Amanda