How Twitter Helped Me Meet My Deadline
Twitter is often seen as a distraction – a place where arch procrastinators hang out and egg each other on to new and higher levels of avoidance. In my experience, this couldn’t be further from the case. I have found some of the most productive people on the web through Twitter, and rather than encouraging my inner slacker, they actually helped me to meet my deadline for my thesis chapter, which, incidentally, was due in today.
So, having now finally finished my chapter (which is soon to be winging its way to my supervisor), I thought I’d share a few pointers on how you could also use Twitter to help you to increase your productivity, and meet your goals on time.
- Accountability: Announce your intention and the time frame that you intend to complete it in. Once your time is up, report back on how you did. I found that when I did this, I not only made myself a promise to do the work, but I also promised my 162 followers. I also discovered that when I did announce my goal, I received replies wishing me luck, and when I reported back, replies of congratulations. Greatly encouraging!
- Support: Of course, I didn’t always meet my goals. Sometimes life got in the way, sometimes I had a set back in the research, sometimes the words just wouldn’t flow. When I reported back that I’d hit a stumbling block, I was sent such wonderfully supportive tweets, that it became easier to forgive myself for my lack of progress, and to start anew the following day.
- Called Out: If you have stated your intention and your time frame for completion, and then you loiter around, your followers will call you out. I actually so appreciated this, because as much as I know I’m capable of getting down to work, sometime I need someone else to nudge me into action. Actually, I know of no greater cure for procrastination than being caught doing something when you’re supposed to be working!
- Downtime: I’ve heard Twitter being compared to a water cooler for those who work from home, and, when you need it to, it can certainly work like that for you. If you’ve been plowing through books of dense literary theory, as I was, it’s fun to drop in and engage in some light chitchat. In fact, I’d go further than that, and say it goes towards recharging the brain cells, and helps you to return to your task refreshed.
- Celebration: Once you’ve achieved your goal, you get to report back the good news, and that, in many ways, is a great reward in itself. Reading congratulatory tweets was a lovely way to celebrate all that hard work 🙂
Now, of course, there are a lot of other offline supporters that have helped me get to my goal this week, and they know how much I appreciate them and their relentless encouragement. But with this post, I wanted to redeem a little of Twitter’s reputation as an instrument of idleness. Twitter is merely a medium – you are ultimately the one who determines how you use it, so make sure you use it well!
I also wanted to use this post to say thank you to the following folk from my Twitter network who held me accountable, gave me encouragement and support, and who have shared in my achievement: Joanna Young, Captain Stardust, Xarah, D Mcordell, Chris Garrett, PetLvr, Roland Hesz, Tom Breeves, Evil Angel 277, Nick Cernis, Karen Swim, Anna Lenardson, Linda R. Moore, Alina Popescu and WendiKelly. Thank you 🙂
What unexpected uses have you found for Twitter? Where do you find support online when you need it? Do you use Twitter to increase your productivity?