I’m constantly switching voices and roles at work, ideally at a speed that is meant to be live and dynamic, and is thus quick and sometimes brain-frying. Managing multiple accounts means more than just signing in and out appropriately, it also means managing multiple personalities and voices. I am often asked “How do you handle it all?,” as in “How do you keep your information/tasks straight?”
Just like any role, mine as a social strategist requires a specific set of skills and a specific type of mindset (if not a “certain type of person”). I’m still a product of my post-social age, though, and I battle with an abbreviated attention span. It’s a never-ending cycle: Though work leads to the shortening of my attention span, my shortened attention span certainly does not help my work. My approach (still in development) is to take control of my own shortened attention spans by compartmentalizing, so that I at least have to manually switch between sprints of thoughts. The “manual” bit slows me down just that much, and keeps me from making mistakes like tweeting something to the wrong account or getting distracted by willing myself to the black hole that is all comment threads on truly thought-provoking blog posts.
But, Mayka, you work on a computer all day. What’s a “manual switch” to you?
For me, the manual switch is visually separating my workspaces, and associating the transition between each as the time to clean slate and change gears.
Here’s how I tackle the social stuff, with light mentions of other running applications.
I work on a Mac.
Let’s just set that up right from the beginning. (Yesterday someone asked me, “PC?” and I wanted to be like “OMG shattup an’ get the fuck outta Dodge.”)
I separate my browsers into three different Spaces.
Space 1: WORK
- Chrome: This is where shit gets real. Right from the beginning. More on this in its own expanded section.
- Tweetdeck: For overall monitoring of company and client Twitter accounts. I get a chirp with each interaction.
- Whatever Else as Needed
Space 2: PERSONAL
- Firefox: Personal email, blog email, personal calendar, social sharing bookmarklets.
- Repository of Interesting Stuff: If I discover something through my Work space that applies to me on a personal level, I copy and paste it to open it up in Personal. Depending on the content, I’ll tweet, tumble, pin, post, or keep it to myself.
- FYI: I have more mailboxes than this, but they’re super niche, and I only pull them up when the necessity arises.
Space 3: CLIENT
- Safari: In the Client space, I am logged in to the client’s social accounts. This makes it easy to pop in and interact in a timely manner, and keeps things straight between the multitude of accounts I’m running.
- Hootsuite: For overall monitoring of Twitter accounts, including my personal account (and one bogus one that’s too cool to share publicly). I do not use Hootsuite for Facebook.
- GMail Inbox: Cursed thing. And yes, I rely heavily on:
- Priority Inbox: I love it. My goal is to keep the number of unread important emails low or wiped out.
- Stars: Every actionable email gets a star. If I’m really on my shit, every actionable email turns into an Asana task.
- Labels: Every thing gets a label.
- Filing things away is super helpful for me. Even spam gets immediately filtered as spam. And when it comes to pulling up that message from whenever ago, I’m usually the quickest to draw.
- Catch me in an upcoming special episode of Hoarders: Emailmongers, wherein I’m the star. (No, I’m not. Can’t catch me.)
- Google Calendar: What time is it? Where is that thing? How am I not myself?
- Co-Op: So Harvest’s time-tracking tool and the concept of a virtual watercooler walked into a bar, and…
- I get the gold star on my team for Best Time Tracking in Co-Op. I’ve trained myself to excel at “checking in” to Co-Op by pretending it’s a timepunch machine and if I don’t log my hours I don’t get credit and no 4.0. (It works in my head.)
- I also use the sidebar to prioritize my “rocks,” which I prioritize every day. Kills less trees than constantly running through Post-It notes.
- Asana: To remind me of the ongoing list of other people’s tasks and my own accomplishments. Kidding. It’s so my teammates can snoop on me while I implode at all the little things that need to get done.
- Facebook: It’s obvious why I run Facebook all the time, but…
- Unlike the average Facebook user, I typically avoid the Home Feed. Like a vain pageant queen, I leave my Facebook on my own personal profile. A lot of discovery goes on in the Home Feed because it’s designed that way, but I don’t need the extra distractions. So, I stick to my profile and attend to notifications when they’re pertinent.
- Also, after months of getting inundated with “Close Friends'” updates, I turned that shit off. TMI. Makes you really think about how much value you’re putting out there when your Close Friend Frank is posting shitty food photos every five seconds. My food photos, on the other hand, are anything but shitty. Frank, though, Frank needs to take a lesson in iPhotography.
Editor’s Note: I don’t use the terms “MPD” and “ADD” to make light of the actual medical conditions. It just feels like my industry forces me into those quixotic mindsets.