Learning how to switch off when you work in digital marketing [especially during a pandemic] comes with its own particular brand of stress
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I love telling my housemates that me looking up memes is *technically* on my Asana board for the day. I love being able to work from basically anywhere that has a stable wifi connection and very good coffee. But the blurring of lines between personal life and work life is its own beast when it comes to social media and digital marketing.
For starters, you can’t help always being “on”. Knowing what the latest TikTok trends are, keeping up with who’s making waves on each platform and paying attention. This can bleed into your personal life and before you know it, you’re that person at dinner who’s glued to their phone because you can’t stop consuming content.
Secondly, there’s really never an end in sight, there’s always something else to work on. Done with your content calendar for January 2021? May as well make a start on February! With the multitude of platforms within digital marketing, there’s always something you could be working on which makes it difficult to know when you should stop.
Thirdly, it can wreak havoc on your relationships. After a full day of creating content, writing content and replying to comments and DMs, the last thing I often want to do is reply to my own personal messages, calls and DMs. It can also make it difficult to bring something new to conversations with people, if you’ve already watched all their stories that week and know exactly how their dentist appointment went and already sent a love heart emoji to their Instagram Story of their new houseplant.
These are a few of my tried and tested ways to ensure you completely clock off these holiday season.
Write a bucket list.
Habits are formed by responding to a cue with an action consistently enough to make it second nature. When you see your phone light up, you’ll often grab it and pop in your passcode without realising what you’re doing. Even if you find yourself relaxing, your hands can feel empty or your mind restless when you’re not swiping up on TikTok video after TikTok video.
Write a list of things that you’ve been wanting to do for while in a notebook, like reading one of your books in your collection, taking up a cooking class or trying out boxing. Whenever you feel the urge to check your phone, have a look at your list [do NOT save the list on your phone], and pick something to do for that day.
Social media free time
Set aside an hour or two everyday where you leave your phone away from you. I tend to do this around midday when I’m on my break at work. I leave my phone at my desk and go to another part of the house to eat, read or watch something on Netflix. This gives your mind a break from the constant scrolling and also helps to remove it as a distraction when you’re trying to do something else. It also helps calm your mind and focus on doing one thing rather than flipping from one task to another.
Breaking out the old alarm clock
During the holidays, it’s a great time to go back to basics and wake up with an old fashioned alarm clock! Leave your phone to charge in another part of your home so you’re not tempted to engage in the morning scroll-a-thon. It also reduces the likelihood that you’ll stay up on night scrolling through Instagram Reels and only notice when the sun has come up and you haven’t slept a WINK. [I’ve done it, you’ve done it, this is a judgement free zone.]
Before I head off on holidays, I like to have a look at my apps to see what’s hanging around that I don’t actually use. Throughout the year it’s easy to accumulate a lot of free downloads of apps you may have needed that one time when that person told you how good it was and you felt rude so you downloaded it in front of them, and never downloaded it again. Free up that space on your phone. While you’re at it, do a notification cleanse. Only have notifications on for the most urgent apps you have and silence the rest. It’ll make a huge difference when you’re back and work with less distractions.
Invest in a community manager or scheduling app
If you’re a solo business owner, influencer or personality, it can be hard to clock off if you’re the only one available to reply to messages. Invest in a good scheduling app like Sked or Sprout Social, and/or search for a trusted community manager as a contractor for the time you’ll be away. This gives you the peace of mind that your socials will tick along fine while you take a well deserved break!
No matter what you get up to, we hope you have sometime to yourself to unwind and unpack this garbage dumpster fire of a year. Take it easy and be kind to yourself!