I've been following the likes of Emily Ley and Lara Casey for a while, and I love what these women espouse -- having offline time or social media free days so that you can focus on cultivating what matters most.
And it all sounds great, honestly! I know I would love time off social media and the internet in general so that I can stop getting caught up in highlight reels and comparisons and focus on doing the work. But I repeatedly tried and failed to really achieve true offline time... Simply because my business was wholly online.
I spend almost all of my time on my computer and internet daily, answering emails, engaging on Facebook Groups and Pinterest, researching and doing work online. How am I supposed to go offline and stop engaging in the spaces that are bringing me business and keeping me top of mind?
After a month or so of tweaking, I found some tips that help me stay focused and intentional with my online time, and hopefully they will be as useful for you too.
STEP #1 :: Reevaluate how you use your online time
Sounds duh, but hear me out. There's a formula of sorts for this. I gotta admit, as much work as I do online, I also spend a lot of time just hanging around and scrolling through social media platforms and forums. It's scary how fast an hour goes by when you're scrolling mindlessly!
So really track your online habits for a week. How much time do you spend on each social media platform, and why are you on it? Be truthful! It's okay to spend time mindlessly scrolling (some days, this is what helps me get out of bed), it just needs to be tracked. Also take note of how much time you spend advertising and engaging online for your business, and how well each action performs for you.
For example, I spend most of my "work" time on Facebook in two main groups, one of which is a mentoring group I paid for. The non-paid group serves mainly as an advertising platform, and I get on average 56 views for every promo post I make on Wednesdays in the promo thread. It's a zero-cost, low-effort, medium-return action item, but the bonus is, 1-3 of those people who visit my blog post end up signing up for my $27 classes, too. What this means for me is, if I consistently post every Wednesday, I will have some tangible results. I can also add to that by searching the group for keywords and offering help for questions that relate to my business.
Action: Post recent blog post promo thread, engage in 3 others
Best day to take action: Wednesday
Time Taken: 10 minutes
Results: Average of 56 views added to blog post + 1 class sign-up
I also spend time in my paid, mentoring group mostly on Mondays and Fridays. We post our goals on Mondays, and I take the time to look through the threads on the group to see if I can help with anything, or if anything is of interest to me. Then on Fridays, I come back in to report my goal score for the week, and do the same thing as Monday.
Repeat this for all social media platforms you find yourself constantly on.
STEP #2 :: Pinpoint trends and make adjustments
After the evaluation, you should be able to quickly pinpoint highlight "peak" days and times where being online will garner the best results for you. For me, it is M/W/F, but tracking if posting on Wednesday itself will bring more views VS the results of posting in the thread on Friday instead will help me decide if I can bring the peak days to two days instead of three.
Find your non-negotiable days (for me it's accountability in the paid mentorship group on Mondays and Fridays, which take me quite little time anyway), and then make adjustments on the other days to fit this schedule. Try to whittle the "peak" days down to 2-3 days a week and not more. Weekends can or cannot be included, it totally depends on your schedule and trends you've identified.
STEP #3 :: Allocate time and schedule it in
With your "peak" days and times in hand, put them into your schedule reasonably. When do you wind down and can spend a bit of time scrolling through and engaging on social media? How well do these times play with your "peak" days and times? What trends have you recorded from the different times you've posted over the last week?
Find the best intersection (best results X fits in your schedule) and BINGO! You've got your golden periods to make magic happen online.
It will take some testing and tweaking, but you should be well on your way after about a month. After this, it'll be a breeze to schedule online and offline time, and stick to them (most of the time - progress not perfection here!).
10pm - Post goals on thread in FI
10.05pm - Engage in all threads since Friday in FI
10.30pm - Research trending Pinterest posts and repin
6pm - Post goal score in FI
6.05pm - Engage in all threads since Friday in FI
6.30pm - Post blog ads/links to RT, BS and CWB
7pm - Evaluate FB ad results and boost FB post of the week
TOTAL TIME ESTIMATE: 2.5 hours
Your small great task:
Download the easy cheat sheet PDF here and start recording data so you can minimize your mindless online time, and take much-needed offline time to spend doing what matters!
To make things simpler for you to track, I've created a FREE online time tracker PDF for you. Click to download here.