Guest post by Tony Vargas (@tonytorero)
I have a confession to make. There are a couple of weekly Twitter parties that I am absolutely addicted to! Tops on this list is the Thursday night LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) Fiestas that kick-off weekly at 8pm local time for me. I’m not addicted for the drug-like, addictive rush that some describe can come along with robust participation in social medias. I’m addicted because these parties are a time for mutual sharing & giving with a group that cares about and serves a larger cause. It really is an extension of Family time for me.
However, and here’s my confession, I invariably spend the first 30 minutes of each party pulling double duty because my first family, with whom I have the Klout score that matters most, is in the midst of our typical nightly routine at this hour.
I spend that first half hour bathing my son and getting him ready for bed while also following the LATISM party Twitter feed as well on my Samsung Galaxy Tab. It’s quite the orchestrated event to bathe my son, dry him off, brush teeth, read him a story and spend some time shooting the breeze with him as well, just as I would any other night of the week. So, if you ever find I Tweet more gibberish than normal at the beginning of a LATISM party, there’s an explanation, not an app, for that!
OK, that’s out of the way. I’m glad to have that off my chest. How about you? Does your social media participation ever cause you to feel like your life may be a perpetual exercise resembling my hectic, weekly 30 minute, multi-tasking flurries? Do you feel like you have time to adequately juggle needs & desires to dive deeper into social media participation & personal brand building while balancing this with the life you had before Mark Zuckerberg began trying to crack his way into elite Harvard social clubs? Either personally or professionally, you may find yourself becoming overwhelmed and bombarded keeping up with social media inputs. The net result of all of this activity can be a positive and negative combination of most of the following:
- Multiple connection and friend requests
- Strengthened relationships with a wider reach of people than ever before
- More concept proposals and pitches that you may or may not need
- More incoming emails, newsletters and junk mail to process
- Instant messaging alerts to steal your attention from life
- Dreaded auto DMs from Twitter you need to skillfully ignore
- Increasing level of accountability
- Increasing influx of SPAM
- Elevated exposure to the products and services
- An escalated amount of INPUT!
How do you manage it all? How do you receive and process all of the inputs listed above and manage to come out feeling like an orchestra conductor who skillfully juggles conducting your own personal life-flow & social media symphony with style and grace? How do you avoid getting to a point where, both awake and asleep, you are neuronally noodling over something you have reviewed or need to review? This is not an easy balancing act but, at the same time, the eternal optimist inside of me would remind you of what a blessing it is to simply have access to information & opportunities to acquire knowledge that can help connect you with others and inform yourself like never before. You just need to make a plan and, most important of all, STICK TO IT!
The basic framework of this plan doesn’t have to be difficult. In my case, I use three basic building blocks to making sure I constantly prioritize the big rocks in my life so that Social Media can never steal more mental band-width than I am willing to give it. Remember, you are the boss of your technology and a you have the power to pull the plug if it won’t behave itself. Here are my 3 basic building blocks:
- Establish limits to the amount of time & number of social media inputs you expose yourself to depending on where you are and what you are doing.
- Set a weekly, recurring time to process work & life inputs, both technological and otherwise.
- I have long subscribed to David Allen’s GTD Workflow Processing Methodology, which teaches you to schedule a ‘Weekly Review‘ meeting where you organize the inputs, information, tasks, etc. you accumulate during a week in order to always get: Clear, Current & Creative!
- Schedule your work & social time. I wrote an article on this topic last year about how my family has used Google Calendar to eliminate the inevitable, “I thought you wrote that on the calendar.” miscommunication. The same goes for your social media life. Schedule time both in and away from social medias on a regular basis.
The goal of this type of system is simple. Get ‘STUFF‘ off your mind and into some sort of system where you can process it when your mind has the mental band-width to get creative and innovative with it. We all have different ‘STUFF‘ that’s important to us in our analogue and digital worlds so consider how organizing and taking greater control of your social media life could benefit you. When your mind is free of the clutter that limits your creative band-width, you feel liberated and flourish like never before! And I promise you one thing: Investing in this journey, if you’ve never done it efficiently, will cause your personal, professional, social & social media times to be so much more fulfilling & rewarding and, if you do cheat like me for 30 minutes once a week during LATISM Twitter parties, nobody is likely to hold it against you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tony Vargas (@tonytorero) is a technology evangelist who has lived and worked in the US and Europe. An accomplished developer and project manager in Telecommunications, Web & Software Development, eCommerce/Banking, Knowledge Management, eMarketing and Social Media, Tony has a unique, award-winning track record of finding creative, profitable solutions to challenges for every partner he collaborates with. You can connect with Tony on TonyTorero.com, LinkedIn & Twitter.