How I manage social media & tech tools, work, etc while increasing productivity
I've been a lazy blogger but I hope to change that in 2018. Posting on Twitter took over blogging for me and then Whatsapp took over from Twitter. People ask me how come I have a lot of time for social media. The simple answer is: Social media and social communication are very powerful tools that have really helped me, so I continue to use them while finding ways to make them bring more value to me and things I work on. But let's get into this particular blog post. :-)
A GhanaThink member, Mohammed M Jaward of the Barcamp Tamale (#Bctamale) team asked me a few questions sometime last year. These are questions I have been asked a lot. I want to share the answers here. I hope you might learn one or two things from this.
Q1. What courses did you take on social media?
Editor's note: Maybe this question comes from our certificate issues in Ghana? :-) You can take courses on social media, but I like learning by doing more.
A1. #MightyAfrican: I didn't take any courses. I just used the social media platforms, looked at how others who know better use them, learnt from things others do, and read a few articles about social media. Basically, if I want to do something and I don't know how, I google or I ask someone.
Q2. What blogs do you read?
Editor's note: It's important to read, especially as a younger person.
A2. #MightyAfrican: I used to read a number of blogs - mostly African related- before but not really anymore. Because I hardly blog myself now. I subscribe to Medium and read what they send me. I also subscribe to Quartz, TechCrunch, AfricaPractice, TechNovaGH, Ventures Africa, & Pulse (Ghana + Insider). There's a lot of content out there. It's key to find relevant content and even better to have the content delivered to you.
Q3. What applications are you using to do all that?
Editor's note: Apps were built for a reason. You should start using more apps.
A3. #MightyAfrican: I use Twitter, Facebook, Pages Manager, Google+ a lot. I have started to use Instagram more. When I figure out how to make SnapChat work for me, I'd join. It's not a priority now. I consider Whatsapp to be social communication, not social media.
It's important to link social media apps. It's great that on my Android phone, I can share content from one platform to another, so easily.
I have never really used Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, etc though I know many people who use social media for work use them. I think I'm able to use the actual apps quite well so haven't worried much about third party ones.
Q4. How do you manage all the emails?
Editor's note: Jaward is sure I get a lot of emails because I send a lot of emails too, more than the average Ghanaian, I guess :-)
A4. #MightyAfrican: I hardly get emails I dont want to read. I filter emails into different labels - I have labels for GhanaThink, Barcamp Ghana, Junior Camp Ghana, and still have one for Museke even though it is dormant now.
I filter all notifications, updates from websites into other folders.
If I have to address an issue by email, and it wont take much time, I do it then. I take email that seriously. If it's important, and I cant do it then, I start addressing it and save it as a draft.
I dont keep hundreds of unread emails. I never have more than 30 unread emails after going through my email which I do every weekday at least.
I love GMAIL, especially how the app is improved from time to time. I google GMAIL tips so I can use it better. I love the way how it works with other Google apps, especially Docs, Sheets, Calendar & Maps.
Q5. How do you manage all the whatsapp groups?
Editor's note: I am in more than 100 Whatsapp groups and I am very active in at least 23 of them.
A5. #MightyAfrican: Naturally, I have began to use Whatsapp more than Twitter. I don't use Whatsapp on my laptop because when I get on my laptop, I'm focusing on work and don't want Whatsapp notifications every minute.
I don't stay in Whatsapp groups that are not useful to me or would have hundreds of messages that don't matter or are not 'serious'.
Whatsapp is important for networking, content sharing & gathering, discussions, etc. So I use Whatsapp a lot for work, learning, sharing, etc.
If you set a tone for a Whatsapp group, have rules and implement it, it continues. If you have serious people, you have serious conversations, etc. Once these are in place, you don't need to do as much management, people manage themselves for the most part. There must be discipline.
Each Whatsapp group I am in is useful to me. I still haven't figured out how to mute groups on my Android phone. Lol.
Q6. How do you manage your time to do all that?
Editor's note: Lots of people ask me how I manage my time because it seems I do so much
A6. #MightyAfrican: I make technology work for me so I cut time and cost. I'd rather email, whatsapp or use social media than make a phone call. I'd rather email a letter or document than print, and go submit it. If people would require to do something that is bureaucratic, I take them less seriously.
Currently, I work in the youth & tech spaces. If I have to work on something, and I can't make it relevant to those spaces, I don't or don't apply myself to them. This ensures that when I am online or using tech tools, I can get almost every kind of work done. I don't work on many offline things, I have been cutting them out.
If you do something long enough, you become familiar with it, you work smarter and faster and you become more competent. It saves a lot of time. Try it.
If you're going to be stuck on a task, don't be stuck on it. Professionalism & competence rewards for time as much as it rewards for quality. I seek help if I need it so that I get things done faster. If something hasn't been done yet in a team project, it should not be waiting on me, it should be the responsibility of someone else.
And when people tell I'm so busy, I say I sleep more than 6 hours almost every night. And I still have time to indulge in sports, scrabble and sudoku.
These are based on my #mightyafrican experiences but I'm sure people can learn from it.