It’s a new day.
You brush your hair, scrub your teeth, and put on a pair of pants. Then, drive to the office and sit down at your desk, soaking in the morning sunshine.
You boot your machine and you notice that your coworker wants you to get started on next Thursday’s blog post.
You begin brainstorming blog ideas, reading articles on closely related topics. As you start to jot one down, you get a ping from your coworker asking you if you could share today’s blog post. You schedule one Twitter post before another coworker has an urgent request for copy.
Before you know it, your day is more than half over. And all those extra projects you wanted to start have been left by the wayside as you scramble from one task to another, trying fruitlessly to keep track of what you are doing.
This is the reality for many marketers, who increasingly wear more and more different hats. The key for getting it all done lies in using the best time management strategies. This post will help you create processes to get more done with less time.
Morning Task List/Freewriting
The first thing I do when I sit down in the morning is turn to a fresh page in my notebook. There, I write out a list of all the things I need to accomplish that day. I try to put them in order by priority and time due, but sometimes I’ll forget things and have to put them at the end. That doesn’t matter so much.
A typical entry looks like this:
Today, I need to:
-Generate three blog ideas
- Idea #1
- Idea #2
- Idea #3
-Do social sharing
- Twitter posts
- FB post
- LinkedIn Group
- LinkedIn Page
And so on.
As I complete the subtasks, I check them off. As I complete the main task, I turn the dash into a plus sign. For each small task, I create an action item. That way I can cross it off the list, making me feel that I accomplished something. This give me more momentum to continue moving.
Because I have defined goals and tasks that are broken down into manageable chunks, I am able to get a lot more down.
Another great idea to implement during this practice is checking your list from the previous day and rolling over tasks. To keep your list from getting too long or overwhelming, consider if the task is actually worth migrating over to the next day or if you didn’t accomplish it because it wasn’t crucial.
Set Deadlines for Subtasks
Don’t fall into the trap of making a marketing task due the same day that it is published. Or even the day before.
Making the entire final draft due without acknowledging the smaller, simpler tasks is a fast track for missed publish dates.
Set dates for all pieces of your content creation process, from proposal to publish. This includes the multiple edit points, the graphic being created, and all of the pieces being put together.
Having deadlines for each step of the process will keep you and your team organized while also leaving room for error or inefficiency.
Write Out Procrastination Excuses
Come up with an answer for them ahead of time. The key to this trick is already having a reply for the little voice in your head that tells you that you can, “Do it later.”
You don’t let yourself fall for your own self sweet talk.
A great way to format these is in the form of IF THEN statements.
IF I say, “I’m too tired to do that now,” THEN I will ask myself, “How do I start?”
And I will take whatever first step I determine I need to make.
Being granular with this kind of stuff make it easier to get more done. You feel like you are accomplishing more, which in turn makes you want to accomplish more because it feels so good.
Set Hourly Deadlines
One morning late last year, I was having a very difficult time focusing on my job because of current world events. I wrote the reason down, then wrote hourly priorities so I could not get swept away checking the news.
This hyper-structured methodology won’t always work, but makes it easier to benchmark your day and ensure that you are working at the proper pace.
Following these tips, when you drive home this summer evening, you’ll feel relaxed and content with the amount you’ve gotten done.
These three tips are a great start to creating a better workflow and a better organized work day. In marketing, time is money, so it is important to not waste either. These tips will help you keep focused and ensure that your best content comes out at just the right time.
What are your favorite time management techniques? How do they impact your productivity? Let us know in the comments section.