When you sit down and really think about how easy it is to get distracted today, you do two things.
- You say “Hmm,” and move on.
- You take action to reduce your distractions throughout the day.
For so many years, I wasted countless hours scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, until one day I decided that it simply wasn’t worth it anymore. It was dramatically affecting my productivity, and I decided that I just wanted to be able to work with less distractions than previously accustomed to. I say and heavily emphasize less because I truly believe that working distraction-free is near impossible in today’s world. That’s not to say that it is impossible, but it is improbably. Sure, you can focus in on something and get a ton of work done, but typically, you’ll still have those little distractions, even if it’s just a passing car.
Now, there are a ton of little and big things you can do to cut down the amount of distractions that you have in your day-to-day life; however, one of the biggest ones focuses around social media. In fact, it is something that I heavily mention in my article about avoiding information overload, which can be viewed here.
If you’re like me, which in this case, I’m sure a few of you are, you have a Twitter client open on your desktop or in-browser almost all of the time that you’re on the computer. We live in an extremely fast-paced world, and because of that I like to keep up to date (or hour) with technology news, so at one point, I was following over 350 people to keep current with things. This was horrible for my productivity, and I could rarely get a task done start to finish without getting distracted by a news article or somebody’s sushi for lunch.
I tried for a while to only open the Twitter app for Mac or Tweetdeck when I had a few free minutes; however, that also took a toll on my productivity, as I would spend quite a lot of time browsing Twitter, Reddit, etc., and I would forget what else I needed to do before the day ended.
So a few months ago, I decided that it was time to cut back, and I unfollowed everyone. Then, I went back to Twitter an hour later, and I followed everyone that I could think of off of the top of my head, which was about 40 people. Over time, I’ve followed 9 more people total, including unfollowing some and following others. So my total, as just stated, is up to 49. And I quite like it there. It’s a nice even place to keep my following, as I rarely get distracted throughout the day by news. In fact, I don’t even follow a lot of news accounts anymore, as most of it didn’t pertain to what I wanted to know.
So there it is – a quick and simple explanation as to why I think it’s important to follow a small amount of people. More specifically, make these people matter. Interact with them, and get to know them, if you don’t already. It will really make more of their tweets feel like they are more relevant to you, and, ironically, you won’t spend as much time going through it if you understand it when you first look at it.