In my work as a Business Coach and Productivity Strategist, the topic of social media often comes up in discussions with clients. It is not only the creation of content or the scheduling of said content it takes a great deal of time – it is also the time we spend (waste?) on social media platforms.
Words regularly used are “overwhelmed” or “lost track of time” and ultimately “I didn’t get everything done today that I wanted to”.
Social media is an integral and vital part of our business lives, however it can also be a massive waste of time. It becomes a waste of time when we use it as a procrastination tactic. Or Facebocrastination, as Adrian Meier and colleagues calls it.
In a recent study at the Gutenberg University in Germany, Adrian Meyer and colleagues conducted two studies exploring the predictors of using Facebook for procrastination and it’s effects on students’ well-being. A few very interesting statistics came out of these studies. For example, social media use conflicted with other more important goals on more than half of all media use occurrences (61.2%), underlining that media use poses a particularly difficult self-regulatory challenge for many people.
Self-control is an obvious antidote. But here’s the problem: social media use meets many of our psychological needs. It is fun and we feel part of a community. It is how we can feel connected to those around us and we can become addicted to this “feeling good” feeling. And so using social media becomes a habit. It is really easy to develop strong habits to things we find highly enjoyable. And once a habit is created is really hard to break. It becomes our default procrastination tactic. And the amount of time we waste becomes bigger and bigger.
In fact, in Meier’s research, it was found that 78% of their participants reported using Facebook six or seven days in a typical week. On average they estimated that they spent about 73 minutes per day using Facebook. That calculates to between 7.3 and 8.5 hours per week – which equates to an average workday. Yes one full work day! It is clear that Facebook (and other social media platforms) and procrastination (and time waste) goes hand-in-hand.
The bigger issue however it is this: the more we use Facebook and other social media platforms to procrastinate, the higher our stress levels become. Because the more we procrastinate, the higher our anxiety levels with regards to this particular task which we are supposed to be doing and which we are procrastinating over. So it is not just the time that we waste that is a problem (even though it IS a big problem), but also the increase in our stress levels which impacts negatively on our general well-being.
For our own sake (emotionally, physically and psychologically), I believe we need to be aware of the impact of social media use on our lives. We need to reflect on a daily basis and implement tactics to block the forming destructive habits.
Tiana Wilson-Buys is a Business Coach and Productivity Strategist. She works with business owners to help them get organised and become more efficient and effective – and ultimately to get important stuff done! Tiana offers a free 30-minute virtual meeting to help you get more organised. Book your call here.