4 tips on how to avoid a Twitter-induced productivity loss

Categories productivity

It hasn’t been a long time since I’ve been using Twitter. I’m just getting the hang of it, following the bloggers and the book authors who’s materials I enjoy, news tweetters (local and global) and some random people that make my day happier through their tweets, so I don’t consider myself an expert and you shouldn’t either.

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Photo by Louis Abate

What I have noticed though is that Twitter is pretty addictive once you really understand what it is, and what it’s not. Once you understand that it’s not just a website where you tell the world that you are just about to take a shower or eat a peach and you really start to use Twitter you’ll notice this too.

Ever had the feeling that you really want to see what the people you follow have to say right now?

Ever pressed refresh on you browser or clicked “Update tweets now” in you Twitter client twice in a couple of minutes?

That’s called “a distraction”.

It’s what makes you less productive by getting you out of your “flow”.

Humans are not multi-tasking. We just like to think that we are!
Once you are distracted and you loose your focus on the task at hand it may take a couple of minutes or even an hour for you to get back you rhythm.

So here are my four tips on how to avoid a productivity loss:

1. Don’t check Twitter updates very often
Checking what’s up on Twitter every second destroys your concentration. It isn’t really helpful either.
When you feel the urge to press refresh or to click that “Update now” button – just stop.

If you have a Twitter client go to the settings window and set the auto-update frequency to a large value, like 2 or three hours. This way you won’t see the pop-up that often and you won’t feel the need to see what everybody is saying.

In time you will get accustomed to the reality that tweets are not critical.

2. Only follow people that deserve it
If you will follow the first tip, this second one is a must!
By checking Twitter only once or twice every day you will accumulate a lot of tweets, tweets that you will have to either read or ignore.

Making sure that you only receive high quality tweets from high quality tweeters will make your time using Twitter more pleasant.

You can do this the simple way – just unfollow anybody that annoys you or that tweets things that you have no interest in (like getting rich instantly by clicking on a link)

3. Use a client that has good filtering
If you follow the first tip and check Twitter messages rarely you’ll soon have a lot of them to read. Even if you follow the second tip you’ll still have a lot of them so a good client that has good filtering will help you read what you are interested in.

Just filter by what you are interested in or by author and get the most out of the Twitter experience.

4. Only tweet if you have something valuable to share
One would say that if so many people are tweeting, a lot of interesting content is generated. Wrong!
Most of the Twitter content is noise. People announcing their third pizza for the day, people charming you into “winning a million dollars” or even automated bots auto-messaging and auto-following everybody.

You can help stop some of the noise and make yourself more useful (by not spending you whole time tweeting useless stuff) by just tweeting interesting content that adds value to your followers.

That’s it for my 4 tips on how to avoid a Twitter-induced productivity loss. Please leave your thoughts and experiences using the comment box.

Preemptive strike: If your job is monitoring Twitter for product-related complaints, if you are a marketer or publicist using Twitter as a business model or if you are a Twitter spammer you can just ignore everything that I just said.

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