What if You Can't Unplug? Being Productive While Still Checking Social Media

What if You Can't Unplug? Being Productive While Still Checking Social Media

In a few weeks, my kids will return to school and I will get back to work.  Sure, I've been working all summer, but at a much lighter load.  In the fall, things will pick up again, and I will have to find the discipline to tear myself away from email, social media accounts, and blogs for a few hours a day lest I get nothing accomplished.

Do me a favour and help me by not posting so many good thoughts online that I can't help reading. 

Re-entry is always rough.

productivity

Image: David Joyce via Flickr

My first few years of working were home were peaceful and productive; much more productive than working out of the house.  I found it very difficult to work around other people.  They would come into my office and want to talk, tell me about their weekend or a problem they were having with a student.  I would look up at the clock, seeing my day slipping away.  I often had to stay after, when the school emptied out, just to get things accomplished, uninterrupted.

My brain is sort of like one of those compartmentalized children's dinner plates where none of the food touches.  I don't do well with my social time mixing with my work time.  When I'm at work, I want to work.  And when I'm not at work, I want to be social.

Working from home seemed like a perfect fit.  No one stopped in to bother me.  I had trouble with people calling to chat during work hours, but I could always choose not to answer. 

For a few years, I got a lot accomplished.  And then I started noticing that email, social media, and blogs started taking the place of the talkative colleagues.  Instead of someone coming into my room to chat, I was going onto Facebook to see what everyone was up to.  I'd read a few blog posts under the pretense that I was looking for inspiration.  Or I'd answer emails as they came in so I would feel on top of things.

My productivity took a nose dive.  What I used to be able to accomplish in an hour or two suddenly took my entire work day.

I still don't have a solution.

Closing off email isn't realistic -- I need to be available and reachable, though I've created an "answer later" folder for all emails that can be answered at the end of the day.  Being completely disconnected from social media isn't realistic, either.  I write about what is going on; therefore, I need to know what is going on.

All of those life hacks that recommend closing the browser or creating quiet hours to be more productive won't work in my situation.

So I'm left with the hard re-entry; with trying to find balance.  And not always succeeding.

What are your best productivity tips if you need to still be plugged into email and social media throughout the day?  I'm looking to crowdsource this for everyone who can't unplug in order to get work done.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

Follow BlogHer on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/BlogHer-28615

Related Posts

Digital Detox: Leaving Social Media at Home to Take an Electronics-Free Vacation

It's bitterly cold this morning in Washington, DC, which means that I have already thought about vacations in warm climates at least twice before breakfast. What would be perfect right now would be a beach -- someplace warm -- with nothing more to do than read books, sleep on the sand, and maybe go swimming every once in a while to cool off. Though this post is about whether a laptop or smartphone features into this dream vacation.   Read more >

Am I the Only Blogger Who Loves to Unplug?

I have a confession to make: I have no problem unplugging. Hello, my name is Rita, I work on the Internet, and I frequently leave the house without my phone. There, I said it.   Read more >

Would You Be More Productive Without Email at Work?

Last week's derecho knocked out power to a large chunk of the East Coast, taking with it access to email.  While my personal study was hardly conducted in a scientific manner such as the one from University of California, Irvine in conjunction with the US Army, my findings didn't mirror theirs at all.  While researchers found that people who didn't have access to email during the work day were more productive and less stressed, I found that it didn't matter if there were still plenty of tasks I could complete for work sans email.  I was less productive, jittery, and distracted; constantly checking if email was back and wondering what I was missing.   Read more >

Recent Posts by Melissa Ford

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.