Social media is a huge part of our lives and most of us will admit to squandering a bit too much time online. On a daily basis, we bounce between our various channels – posting content, checking notifications, scrolling mindlessly, and frequently refreshing feeds. It’s a constant treadmill. Whilst there’s no denying the positive aspects, business benefits, and informative nature of social media as a medium, it is also a space littered with harmful content, bad news, and toxic takes.

Spending too much time ‘online’ can be exhausting and has proven to lead to stress and mental fatigue. Stepping away from it from time to time gives your brain a necessary break but what can you do when you work in marketing and social media monitoring is very much a part of your role?

Whilst some people can impose restrictions on their social media usage when your job is to oversee and curate a brand’s feed, it’s very difficult to disassociate yourself completely, especially when you notice a new notification, DM, or public complaint. Before you know it, you are sitting on the couch in the evening, and instead of relaxing and enjoying your own downtime, you are replying furiously to queries and customer messages.

So, how can social media managers establish healthy boundaries between them and their social media feeds?

Well, to begin, if you are obliged to post content for a brand or business, a social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer is very useful. Software like this allows you to compose and publish all your posts from one place, once per day and it will make your digital life much easier.

It keeps you out of the Bermuda Triangle of ‘the timeline’, allowing you to make space for more important things and focus on other elements of your work life.

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If you are a marketer that is required to use social media for work, another tangible way to create some space in your head is to allocate active and non-active hours for your corporate usage. The time you spend online should be managed and you should endeavour to actively reduce it. You can decide on the hours that suit you. For instance, your active hours could be from 9am -11am or 3pm – 6pm and during these time blocks, you can complete all your work-related social media-based activities. You might also decide that you’ll only check and respond to DMs twice a day, during an allocated period. Throughout your non-active hours, you must stay off both your professional and personal social media channels and try introducing a healthier way to wind down in the evenings, by staying off social media after a certain point or vowing not to check your phone once you’re in bed. Creating amounts of time when you can and can’t go on social media will help to establish limits for your social media usage.

However, for some, even small changes like this are not feasible. So, if you absolutely must be on social media for work, perhaps making one of your non-working weekend days ‘screen free’ will help clear your mind. Maybe all you need is one day off the feeds to feel calm and rejuvenated. Pick any day that suits you, where you really don’t have to use a screen. Asides from urgent phone calls, maps if you’re lost or ordering a taxi, challenge yourself to stay off your phone as much as possible for the whole day.

Social media has become a huge part of our lives and if you work in marketing, it may be impossible to rule it out completely but with some tweaking and some mindful changes, it is achievable to control the time you spend on it and the influence it has on your day-to-day life.