• Brand expertise for small businesses
  • / 647-294-5835
Search Menu

Social Media Is Like a House Full of Boxes: You Have to Choose the Most Important Ones First

A recurrent theme has transpired in my life over the past few months (the last couple of weeks especially): there’s just not enough time in the day.

Since moving into our new home a little over a week ago, we’ve been going without curtains in our master bedroom – which means I’ve been waking up with the sun most mornings. And yet no matter how early my eyelids are pried open, I still can’t finish my to-do list before it’s time to close them again.

I’m pretty good at prioritizing. My friends tease me about my need for control. I like to plan. I obsess over to-do lists. I crave an agenda that dictates the happenings of my day.

And I’ve started to realize if I don’t schedule in time to sit down and relax for a few minutes, it just won’t happen. The day will be gone and I will be lying in bed before I finally catch my breath.

Too Much To Do, Not Enough Time

Of course, I know the feeling of having “not enough time” is exactly that – a feeling. It’s not the length of my days that are the issue here; it’s how much I am trying to fill them with.

So I’ve been working on letting go. My home doesn’t need to look perfectly organized in the first weeks of moving in. The dishes can sit in the sink for a little longer. My inbox doesn’t need to be tended to immediately.

And I’ve realized, once I start to let go of some areas, it becomes easier to cut myself some slack in others. I can take a week off from blogging for Web of Words. I don’t need to commit to another cottage weekend with friends (no matter how badly I’d like to). I can even simplify my social media presence. 

Simplify Your Life (And Your Social Media Strategy)

You see, there’s a problem with trying to pack the day too full. A task takes longer than expected; a client meeting gets cancelled. It never happens according to plan. I am reminded of one of my favourite quotes by author Natalie Goldberg:

“Life is not orderly. No matter how we try to make it so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, or drop a jar of applesauce.”

So instead of constantly searching for order in my day, I’m learning to do without.

This gives me the space and the mental energy to focus on doing a few tasks well, instead of doing many tasks adequately.

It makes sense. After all, I encourage my clients and readers to do the same when it comes to their social media. Instead of trying to be everywhere, and connect with everybody, focus on your niche and your target customer. Go where they are. And once you’ve found them, make the effort to reach out to them in a meaningful way. After all, if you connect with one person today in the right way, they are much more likely to click over to your website, send you an email, or visit your store than the audience of 200 you reached with a half-assed tweet.

I’d rather use my time and energy to make one person’s day, land one new client, follow up on one referral, than to disappear deep into the newsfeeds of 100.

Like a house full of boxes, the social media realm can be overwhelming at first glance. You have to find a way to narrow it down. Dig in one box at a time, use what you need and discard the rest.

Think of your most important social media tasks – the efforts that matter most to your business, the ones that bring you the best results at the end of the day. This could be a Facebook group where you connect with other local business owners. It could be a specific Twitter chat that helps you build a strong and focused following. It could be a long form post on LinkedIn that demonstrates your expertise. Figure out what these tasks are, then dedicate a certain amount of time per day to getting them done.

Push everything else out of sight, and focus on the areas that matter most.

This is how you will make the most of your brand’s social media efforts. This is how you will make the most of your marketing strategy. This is how you will make the most of your day.

When I unpack the necessities, I realize those other boxes can wait. In fact, some of them may never get unpacked – I’ll simply donate the remnants instead. Because the truth is, my time is too precious to fill with things and activities that are not bringing any value in return.

There may not be enough time to get through everything; but there’s plenty of time to get through today.


Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is the founder of Web of Words. She helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Her work has been published in Maclean's, Canadian Business, Zoomer, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and fur-babe. To learn more, check out her portfolio at and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.

Leave a Comment

Required fields are marked *.