Journalists are overworked and overwhelmed.
In Cision’s 2019 State of the Media Report, 20% of the 1,999 respondents said “staffing and resources” were the biggest challenge to their job in the last year. And over one third said they are writing more than seven articles each week.
On top of the growing demand for content output, journalists are expected to be always listening and always engaging. Monitoring the latest news and user-generated content, as well as promoting their own stories on social media, can take up a significant amount of time in a journalist’s day.
Unsurprisingly, time management becomes a challenge and burnout is a possibility.
But social media is a critical part of the job. According to an ING study, 72% of journalists consider social media an important piece of their daily work.
So how do you find balance between staying abreast of the latest news, engaging with your audience, and getting everything else done?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we want to help you recognize some signs of social media burnout and provide you with a few tools to manage it.
Are you dealing with social media burnout?
When you’re checking social media platforms daily for your job, how can you tell when you’ve reached your mental limit?
While in no way an exhaustive list, here are a few common signs of burnout:
- Apathy: Perhaps you used to love engaging with social media, but it now causes a feeling of detachment. You’re noticing a lack of enthusiasm or motivation for this task you used to enjoy.
- Brain fog: If you’re having trouble concentrating and focusing on the task at hand, it could be a sign of burnout.
- Avoidance: Are you putting off replying to comments, emails, etc.? While you can’t go completely silent – because it could harm relationships with followers and sources – you need to find a middle ground.
- Overuse: Are you are obsessively checking your phone or computer for social updates, yet feel like you aren’t getting anything done?
- Anxiety or irritation outside of work: All you can think about is work and that post you need to take care of tomorrow. This lack of work/life balance is a common struggle for journalists.
How to get your time back.
There are many strategies for limiting your social media use and structuring your day to boost efficiency and productivity. These are a few of my favorites.
1. Set a schedule.
Try only visiting social media sites during a specific window of time. For example, give yourself an hour each morning to check messages, mentions, replies, etc. Outside that window? Close the apps or sites to avoid temptation.
You also could consider having a weekly day to unplug.
2. Turn off notifications.
If you don’t see the blinking light on your phone, the temptation to check your apps is minimized.
Need to focus on writing your next article? Try closing Outlook or Gmail to avoid being distracted by notifications for new emails.
If your phone is always within an arm’s reach, place it on mute or use the Do Not Disturb feature.
3. Filter out the noise.
Many journalists and content creators already are familiar with TweetDeck, but it’s still worth mentioning here.
By filtering out posts that aren’t relevant to your work, you can narrow your focus, avoiding distractions from the rest of the platform.
Subscribing to relevant newsletters, a slower mode of listening, is another option to focus on news relevant to you.
And if you haven’t already signed up for PR Newswire for Journalists, you can do so at https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/. We can help you create a targeted newsfeed that will send you the releases that match your coverage needs on the schedule that works best for you.
That’s my only sales pitch, I promise.
Do you have teammates that can help with social media tasks? While you don’t want to distract from their own responsibilities and projects, if spreading the workload around is an option, it may be something to consider.
5. Leave social media platforms that aren’t serving you.
Even though I subscribe to the JOMO (joy of missing out) mentality, I understand that many people have FOMO (fear of missing out) and might be checking every social media platform throughout their day because of it.
But when you evaluate the time spent on these platforms, are you gaining useful insights from all of them? Consider which platform your target audience is engaging with most; this might be the most useful one for you – the others are just noise.
In this climate of the never-ending news cycle, it’s easy to get caught up in the constant flow of information on social media.
But because journalists are having to complete more work with fewer resources, it’s important to realize your limits and create a more sustainable system to help you manage.
Kim Renfro, an entertainment reporter for Insider, had this to say after the company tested a Twitter-free week in February: “I missed it, but I think it was a good reset button for me to think more critically about what I’m doing with my time on there during the day.”
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Rocky Parker works in Audience Relations at PR Newswire. Check out her previous posts for Beyond Bylines and connect on LinkedIn. When she’s not working, Rocky typically can be found cooking, binge watching a new show, or playing with her puppy, Hudson.