Today’s guest post is written by Shad Boots.

Unpopular wars, untrusted government, and unemployment levels are high due to recession. Then there’s the increased gas prices, the “me” mindset, terrorist attacks, and governments in foreign lands being usurped.

A lot to be negative, uncertain, or otherwise overwhelmed over, but there are some positives. Technology has advanced: A supercomputer, e-commerce, and email have all been invented to better our lives and make business easier.

Oh, wait. That was the ’70s. Sounds familiar though, doesn’t it?

See? Nothing has changed. It is hard not to feel overwhelmed and flummoxed by it all. What with the socialization of everything, the never-ending release of applications and sites and… well, you get the point. World affairs only contribute further to these feelings. But, it is manageable and you can prevail. After all, it has been done before.

There has been a lot of discussion about social media fatigue or not having time to incorporate the social tools into our lives. So how do we do it while maintaining our sanity?

Here is the secret: You don’t need to.

It’s important to remember that these are accessories for getting things done. They are tools that can be used however you see fit to achieve a self-determined goal.

Don’t feel like you need to use every tool available. You don’t even need to be familiar with them. That would be a lot like buying every saw available to cut a piece of wood, or learning how to use and becoming an expert on every type of saw.

It isn’t necessary and it complicates life. Don’t do that to yourself.

Take a step back, a deep breath, simplify, and follow these three steps.

  1. Define your goals
    How important is this? Well, that would depend. Do you value your sanity? Sit down and determine what you are trying to achieve with your online communications. Is it personal branding and awareness? Thought leadership? Sales growth? If you don’t have any goals, you can’t use any of the social tools effectively and you’re just wasting time.
    Remember: Goals, plural. We all have more than one goal. List them all.
  2. Browse the tool section
    Assess your situation. Take stock of where you are engaged now. What is working and what is not? Modify your plan accordingly, and use the right tool for the job. Don’t try to find a tool that does it all. It doesn’t exist. Unfortunate, I know.
    Remember: Different tools, different goals.
  3. Organize and execute
    Once you have in mind how you’ll use each tool, write that down in a document. Create your mission. Read it frequently to remind yourself and base all your decisions on it. Don’t lose sight of your strategy. Now, get to work mastering those tools.
    Remember: No shortcuts. You have to work to get your act together.

You have control over these accessories; they do not control you. By choosing your priorities, and freeing yourself to not be a jack of all trades, you become a master at a few.

Remember, use the tool, don’t be a tool and you’ll find yourself feeling a lot better.

What do you think? Have you limited the social tools in your kit?

Shad Boots is a recent graduate aspiring to be everything and nothing. He (haphazardly) authors the newly formed blog An Image Journey and can be stalked on Twitter.