Protect your intention span from the distractions of social media

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Tonight I coined the term “intention span” to refer to the amount of time that passes between intending to work on something and actually starting work.

Intention span: The amount of time that passes between intending to work on something and actually starting to work on it.


Social media may be the leading contributor to the growth of your intention span, because it throws so many obstacles in the way of you focusing on whatever it is you mean to do.

“I’ve got to reply to that Twitter mention,” you think. “It’ll only take a minute.”

“I forgot to post that photo on Facebook!” you suddenly remember. “I have to do that before I can get down to work.”

“I owe her a comment!” you realize. “How rude it would be to overlook that post.”

If social media is your professional responsibility as well as your creative, social or expressive outlet, those rationales are even more compelling. Taking care of your social media outreach or replies is part of your “brand management” or “reputation management”.

But the reason you care about your brand or reputation is because it helps you do your work in the world. You know, the work that is beckoning to you from that Word document or Excel spreadsheet or desk full of paper, just behind the window with all the shiny tweets.

Social media will wait for you. And when you come back to it, there will be even more for you to read, share and engage with.

7 Comments on this site

  1. Wandering Wino

    So very true! I get in the trap of having my I-phone with me while working on the computer. The tweets pop to my screen and I’m instantly distracted with whatever my goals were. I have to keep a list up at my desk to keep me focused, and that often brings me back……lowering my “intention span.” 

  2. Eric Andersen

    Related: I remember seeing a tweet once saying that offline clout was inversely proportional to online Klout 🙂 I actually think they’re more directly proportional but I can understand the sentiment…

  3. Branded Items

    Productivity will be affected because of Facebook and Twitter. Somme companies require there employees to surrender their cellphones in the workplace. This concern is a great example of a FIRST WORLD Problem.

  4. kadeeirene

    Totally guilty of social media distraction – it makes it way to easy to put something off that requires more thought than a Tweet. I think it’s hard for anyone who works with social media to find a balance but it’s imperative to be productive. 

  5. custom items

    Hi Alex! Focus is lost whenever distractions like Facebook are present. I am a victim of these Facebook temptations. sometimes I prefer to work with a typewriter so that I will not have a chance to browse Facebook. 

  6. executive gifts

    Greatings Alexandra!  Facebook is the reason that i lost my job. When I’m home I am always on FB. I think I need counselling or help. Ok I will look for help, I think I can find a counselor in Facebook.

  7. Breonna

     Yeah, it is hard to divert your  attention away fromevents in social media as they rather they advert our attention away from other things 😀

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