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As a marketer, you spend so much time juggling emails, content, social media, and more. You could definitely do with extra hours in the day—but that’s just not possible. So how do you boost your productivity and effectiveness, without having to find more time in your already-too-busy schedule? Below, we’ve explored 12 key productivity hacks that’ll aid your digital marketing strategies, maximize your time, and ease your stress levels. 12 productivity hacks to aid your digital marketing campaigns From knowing when to delegate to using automation tools to your advantage, there are a number of ways you can get the most out of your day. Plus, once you get into the habit of using these hacks, you’ll soon find that the process becomes much easier and you become a pro at using your time with maximum efficiency. 1. Avoid those time-consuming distractions There are so many things vying for your time, some important, some not so important. For the latter, try to get rid of these distractions as best you can. This means avoiding social media where possible. If you can, disable all notifications for social media sites so they aren’t popping up in the middle of your productive work sessions. With U.S. adults spending an average of 45 minutes per day on social media, there’s a lot of time that could be going to better use. And this also goes for your smartphone. Even though you won’t want to cut yourself off from family and friends completely, try to remember that sending one message often leads to a stream of others. If it can wait until you’re on your lunch break or you’re on the bus on your way home, leave it until then. If you find it hard to avoid messages and social media notifications, try putting your phone in the drawer out of the way. 2. Cut back on your meetings Another time-consuming part of your working week is meetings. But how much work actually gets done in a meeting? According to recent surveys, the answer is, unfortunately, not a lot. Around 50% of meetings are seen as a waste of time, and since the average worker spends a whopping 4.5 hours in meetings per week, workers feel like they’re wasting a lot of time. At the very least, that’s a big chunk of time that could be going to better use. To overcome this, try: Allocating specific times and dates for meetings: Don’t just attend a meeting whenever it crops up. Rather, ensure it’s planned in during your allocated meeting time—unless it’s an emergency. Limiting the duration of your meetings: After 20 minutes in a meeting, the average person’s attention begins to wander to other things, like what else they need to be doing. So try and keep meetings short and snappy, around 15 minutes long. Setting an agenda: So you can stick to the aforementioned time, be sure to put an agenda in place and email this to the other attendants. Think you’ll face backlash for taking a stand? Think again. As more and more research crops up saying that many meetings aren’t solving the issues they’re meant to, more people will start saying no. Consider this an opportunity to start a trend at your office and you might be surprised how many of your peers feel the same. 3. Master multitasking Are you reading this with hundreds of different tabs open, an email half-written, and the phone ringing in the background? Then you understand the concept of multi-tasking. However, while many of us attempt to multi-task, we actually end up wasting time going back and forth to different tasks and not accomplishing much of anything at all. We lose concentration and ultimately forget to finish a key task. Instead, multi-task your way through the day by focusing on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking becomes about working solidly on one project a time, though you work on multiple projects throughout the day. 4. Don’t count hours, count the work you’ve done A lot of us might claim, “I’ve worked 60 hours this week.” However, if we broke down our working week into productive time and wasted time, we’ve probably not accomplished as much as we should have, or even as much as we think we have. Instead of counting how many hours you’ve been working, start looking at how much time you’ve spent being productive. This will incentivize you to get more done—especially when you realize how ineffective your current working methods might be. A great tool to use to track your productivity is RescueTime: This tool helps you understand how much time you’re being productive and—more painfully—how much time you aren’t being productive. It also allows you to set yourself goals, block distracting sites, and set notifications for when you spend too much time doing one thing. 5. Learn to delegate As a marketer and/or business owner, it’s understandable that you want to control everything. However, this can often lead to ineffectiveness and ultimately burnout. Instead of trying to have your hand in everything, take a look at the tasks that take up a lot of time and be honest about the ones that you could re-assign to another professional. Once you divide up your work and even outsource some parts, you’ll soon start getting through your to-do list without sacrificing the quality of your work. In fact, you’ll probably see an improvement. 6. Batch together tasks for specific days As we’ve already seen, multi-tasking and switching from one task to another isn’t the most productive way to perform at the optimum level. It’s inevitable that you’re going to lose time or quality as you move from one area of your business to another. Instead, get more out of your time by following leading marketer Neil Patel’s productivity hack: batch together specific tasks on certain days. If you assign particular days for certain tasks, you’ll boost your productivity because you’ll be able to focus on each task without distractions and your brain will stay in writer mode, or curator mode, or whatever mode you need to do your work and do it well. For example, you may use Mondays to curate content, Tuesdays to build promotions, and so on. 7. Set aside some time for emails Despite email being one of the most important communication methods for your business, your inbox can consume a lot of your time if you let it. Do you ever find that you’re in the middle of doing something only to get distracted by replying to an email you’ve just received? To avoid this, try giving yourself certain times in the day to read and reply to emails, e.g. the start and end of the day. Then, unless something urgent arises, you can leave your emails alone for the majority of the day and stay focused on the task at hand. 8. Take control of your own calendar The thought of allowing people to book your appointments, arrange to meet you, and schedule certain tasks for you may be appealing, but is this lack of control over your own schedule causing inefficient working patterns? To outsiders, the free time you have on a Tuesday morning may be the ideal time for them to organize a lengthy meeting, but you may need that time to get an important project done. Rather than leaving your calendar open to your colleagues, block out specific times for yourself so you can get stuff done. That way you can ensure no meetings will interrupt your flow. 9. Make some goals for the year ahead Enthusiasm and motivation aid productivity, but likely some days you feel more motivated than others. To foster inspiration day-to-day, start setting goals for the months and year ahead. You can use your yearly goals as long-term aspirations, e.g. boosting profits by X amount, while your monthly goals can be more short-term. Divide your monthly goals into weekly tasks and use these to structure your week. As you tick off each task and goal, this will help you feel one step closer to your overall goal as they’re all aligned and working toward the same outcome. 10. Enlist the help of automation software and other tools Thankfully, in today’s technologically-advanced world, there’s a lot of tech that can help improve your productivity. Look at how you can automate certain processes, e.g. sending emails, delivering quotes, and posting on social media. Automating a task—whether you can automate even just one task or twenty—will free up your time to complete more high-level work. Equally, you may find that there’s a tool that can help you streamline your tasks. From RescueTime, which we mentioned above, to a simple tool like Google Calendar, these tools can help improve how efficiently you use your time. Also consider saving time by learning keyboard shortcuts from some of your favorite sites. Be selective in the tools you choose, though, so you don’t end up spending all your time organizing your tools rather than letting them organize you. 11. The Pomodoro Technique: Set up 25-minute working increments The Pomodoro Technique consists of working solidly without distractions for 25-minute intervals with 4-5 minute breaks in-between. This way, you become less likely to get distracted while working because you know a short break is coming up in a minute. You end up focusing more intensely for longer periods of time, ultimately accomplishing more than you would have without it. Even though 25 minutes doesn’t sound long, the time frame works with humans’ natural short attention spans. When you sit down and you know you’ve got 25 minutes to achieve something, that task gains your full focus and allows you to get more done. Image Source: Medium Entrepreneur Chris Winfield employed this technique and found that he was able to get a 40-hour working week down to just 16.7 hours. To test this method, simply set a timer for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break when the interval is up. Repeat three times before taking a 15-minute break. Then repeat the entire process. You may find that you’re able to fit 6, 8, or 10 of these 25-minute increments into your day and you’ll definitely be amazed at how much you can get done in 25 minutes. 12. Take some time out regularly As well as these regular 5 and 15-minute breaks, it’s important to take some extra time out for yourself. This could be an hour of meditation, walking, reading, or journaling, but make sure you schedule this time into your day. Research shows that the one-hour lunch break boosts productivity, improves well-being, assists creativity, and aids healthy habits. While it might be tempting to work through lunch, taking a break to rest, relax, or get to know your coworkers can boost your mood and make your more effective in the long run. You might also want to set aside time for professional development. This will be time you use to gain new perspectives and skills, and, therefore, productivity. There are plenty of classes available online, so you can fit your learning in your newfound, efficient schedule. Wrap up Breaking your productivity down into manageable chunks will help you get started making those all-important tweaks to your schedule. Start with one productivity hack at a time and see how it works for you. Changing too many aspects of your schedule at once can become confusing and make you revert to your old, inefficient ways. Once you’ve adjusted to one hack, add another until you reach peak efficiency. Soon, you’ll have established a productivity-enhancing routine that not only sees you getting more work done but achieving a higher performance level, too.
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