April 2016

Warm-Up: Finding Focus in a Social Media Minefield

Warm Up

One of the best things about the Readathon is the opportunity to connect with hundreds (thousands!) of other readers. But over the course of several years and multiple Readathons, I’ve come to realize that the draw of other people and that glorious beast known as social media can cause me a little trouble, at least when it comes to actually reading. If you’ve participated before, you’ve probably experienced something similar: You wake up with big Readathon plans, grab your book and breakfast, but decide to check out the challenges or #readathon hashtag before cracking the spine. The next thing you know, you’re almost an hour (maybe two!) deep in an internet rabbit hole that you didn’t intend to follow.

While I certainly don’t want any of us to avoid the internet on the day of the Readathon, there are a few tricks to maximizing your reading time and avoiding the timesuck of social media. I’ve found that the more frequently I hop on the internet, the more likely I am to get distracted and waste time. Remember that the Readathon challenges are up for more than just an hour, so even if you want to participate in all of them, you don’t necessarily have to log in hourly. Plan to check out the challenges, the hashtag, visit blogs or cheer after a specific amount of reading time passes (maybe at the start of every other hour).

Using a timer or app to do reading sprints can help with this, too! I really love Forest, which can be used as either a phone app or browser extension, and blocks out specified sites while you focus for 25 minutes at a time. Each block of focus time grows a tree, which you can see planted in your own little virtual forest. It could be extra helpful for Readathon as a way to keep track of your total reading time and stay on the book path throughout the day.

Do you have any tips and tricks for finding balance between social media and reading during the Readathon?

Thanks to Shannon from River City Reading and @rivercityreadng for this post!

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4 thoughts on “Warm-Up: Finding Focus in a Social Media Minefield”

  1. The first readathon I participated in, I tried to keep my blog and my Instagram updated. It was a huge pain so now I just focus on Instagram. So pick one form of social media and stick to it.

    My other tip is YES engage with social media. Commenting on others’ Instagram posts means that they’re commenting on mine at 2am (when I’m most tired) and makes me feel less alone.

  2. I’m so bad with this! I left Twitter since my last readathon so it’ll be interesting to see if not checking in there will make a difference to my page count. Aaaanyway, my tip is similar to the one in the post, only I reset my phone alarm each hour instead of using an app. At the start of every hour when the alarm goes off I quickly update my blog, check out the official Dewey post for the hour, maybe do the challenge, and then pop onto Instagram to like and comment on the newest posts. If I don’t do the challenge I might drop by a couple of blogs instead. This usually takes no longer than 15 minutes or so, and breaks up each hour nicely so I get a breather from intensive reading! I also find that doing it this way creates a kind of rhythm and structure that helps power me through a lot further sans napping than I might have managed otherwise!

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