The world has turned into a global village with the spread and prevalence of social media. Endless amounts of resources are now readily available at our fingertips, 24 hours a day. Whether it is connecting with friends and family far away, shopping online or even looking for career opportunities, when it comes to career prospects, there is no better tool than the internet to gather information and look for jobs.
However, that is not all that we use the internet for. Every time you pick up your phone intending to do research, you inadvertently end up using WhatsApp or some other social media platform. What was supposed to be a quick reply to a WhatsApp message or a one-minute scroll through Facebook ends up becoming a half an hour-long browsing session. This is the power that social media holds.
It is estimated that an average user can spend up to 2.5 hours every day simply scrolling through various social media platforms. If you believe that you’re safe from being distracted by social media, then think again. Here are some ways social media or WhatsApp may be ruining your career by distracting you.
Constant Addiction To Updates
If you do not control your social media usage, it can readily turn into an addiction. Studies have shown that a simple task such as self-disclosure on social media affects the same brain region that is involved when you take an addictive substance. This quick dopamine hit arising from browsing through social media can seem harmless to most people.
However, it can have serious harmful effects on the brain, just like any other addiction. The brain is rewired to seek instant gratification. When this stimulus is decreased, you start to feel irritable and bored. This is why it may be challenging to take a social media hiatus, even when needed.
Focusing On The Wrong Tasks
Although social media can be an essential tool in a job hunt, it can also be your biggest hindrance. Even the largest career platforms, such as LinkedIn, are social media platforms. You may have initially set out to search for jobs, but you end up going through various profiles and pages that add no real benefit to the task at hand.
Or, if you are having a meaningful conversation over messages with a potential employer or company, you could again be easily distracted by the numerous messages you receive at the same time. The constant bombardment of stimuli from social media and WhatsApp deters you from getting the task you set out to do effectively and promptly, ultimately compromising your work.
Inability To Concentrate After Being Distracted
According to studies, it can take our brain between 15-25 minutes to refocus on work after being distracted. So not only do you waste time while using social media, but you also require time and energy to realign yourself with your previous task to complete it appropriately.
Furthermore, there is no guarantee that you will regain the same train of thought as before, potentially jeopardising your work. For example, you may have made a mental list of a few companies you want to apply to. However, you can easily forget some of them when you get distracted by social media and then return to complete your job hunt again.
Wastes Time And Depletes Mental Energy
Browsing through social media wastes precious time that you could otherwise use for productive tasks. What’s more, the time spent on social media does not give your brain a break. When browsing through social media or going on WhatsApp, the slight rush you may feel can easily be mistaken for relaxing and giving yourself a mental break.
However, this is far from the truth. Using social media in between tasks can cause mental depletion and lead you to feel tired much more quickly. So, if you’re focused on work or searching for more prospects, it would be advisable to take a physical break completely away from your phone rather than going on social media as a distraction or respite. This way, you will be much more energised when you return to complete your task.
It Can Affect Your Mental Health
Numerous studies link social media usage to deteriorating mental health. Although most people know that what is portrayed on social media is only a fraction of reality, looking at your peers’ glamorous, prospective and productive lifestyle may lead to serious mental health issues. This, in turn, can impact your self-worth and deter you from seeking out well-paying jobs and high offers.
Social media and WhatsApp have become an integral part of most people’s lives. However, if you do not monitor their use, such platforms can hurt your career growth and ability to search for a suitable job.
Although staying in touch with friends and peers is essential and browsing through social media can prove to be a fun activity, you should limit its use to not affect your ability to work or look for excellent career opportunities.
Alex Cole is a Specialist Building Services Recruiter with Responsum. He’s always interested in networking with Building Service professionals. He loves talking football, is hoping to get on the property ladder soon, and visits Tenerife every year!