Do you feel like you’re constantly busy, but rarely productive?
Digital marketers are no strangers to high-stress levels, long work days, and the challenge of juggling several tasks at once. You know that a good marketing strategy comes with many moving parts — and it’s up to you to keep everything running like a well-oiled machine.
Sometimes, it can feel like you’re working non-stop, and still failing to accomplish some of those crucial tasks you set for yourself. Why? You may be busy all day, without truly being productive.
We’ve got some productivity hacks for just this situation. These tips are often overlooked, but they can do wonders when it comes to streamlining your marketing efforts, and helping you accomplish more in less time.
Start the Day Right (Sleep, Exercise, and Eat Well)
If most days begin with dragging yourself out of bed (after a couple of hours of restless sleep), then gulping down a cup of coffee as you reluctantly examine the day’s work — you’re probably not in the right place for productivity.
It’s easier said than done, but looking after your digital marketing strategy (or, any work for that matter) means looking after yourself, first. Getting enough sleep each night, incorporating regular exercise into your routine, and fueling your brain with a healthy diet can drastically improve your performance.
A 2013 study presented at the Corporate Sleep Health Summit showed that sleep loss damages everything from productivity to innovation, and the ability to manage stress in workers. When it comes to business success, your nightly shut-eye is essential.
Control Your Communications
Many digital marketers spend their entire day glued to their smartphones, or checking their email and social media updates on a tab in their browser. Across the globe, scientists are finding that email overload is having a negative impact on productivity. Studies conducted by the University of Loughborough found that when workers have their routine interrupted by email, their tasks take as much as a third longer to complete.
Unless you’re working on an email marketing campaign, commit to checking your email no more than twice a day. You can even use email scheduling tools that allow you to designate time-blocks in your day when you can receive certain emails. For many marketers this reduces the distraction of non-essential email torrents, allowing you to focus on the tasks at hand and get them done faster.
Create a Calendar
Procrastination is a tough habit to break — particularly when you spend hours a day pinned down at your computer. The quickest way to turn your productivity levels around is to get organized. Clean up your internal processes, and design a calendar to keep you on track with a day-to-day schedule.
An editorial calendar can help you prioritize essential tasks, maintain consistency with your content delivery methods, and manage your existing projects so that you don’t fall behind. A personal calendar, or a project management system, can give you a clear outline for which tasks to tackle each day. One of the biggest benefits of creating a calendar is that it can lower your stress levels, by providing you with some much-needed structure in your work day.
Stop Trying to Multitask
Do you know how much you actually do over the course of a day (even on a subconscious level)?
Many digital marketers pile huge amounts of work onto their plates, then attempt to get it all finished at once — while they’re also checking Facebook, playing music, and browsing their emails. While you may think you’re being productive by sending extra emails during a conference call, sometimes simplicity is the best strategy.
While some people are good at multitasking, most aren’t as great as they believe they are. Doing more than one job at a time is difficult for your brain, and often leads to mistakes. Multitasking not only reduces the quality and efficiency of your work, but some research suggests that it might even lower IQ. Commit to focusing on the task at hand, and take challenges one at a time for the best (and more efficient) results.
Have Some Fun Now and Then
Sometimes, achieving better productivity doesn’t mean forcing yourself to work for hours on end. In fact, this can actually limit your creativity, and drain all the inspiration that goes into making a digital marketing campaign successful.
If you find you’re struggling to focus, or you need a change of scenery, don’t be afraid to get up from your desk and take a break. Remember, your brain naturally begins to lose focus after too much time concentrating on a specific task. You’re actually boosting your productivity (and doing a service to your job function) when you take breaks during the day. That doesn’t mean you should ignore your schedule for hours at a time — but taking fifteen minutes out to go for a walk, look out a window, head into the kitchen for a healthy snack, or simply relax can do incredible things for your productivity, and your health.
Don’t Just Work Harder — Work Smarter
Remember: being “busy” and being “productive” aren’t the same thing. Being busy simply means that you’re actively working on tasks for most of the day; no matter whether you’re completing them in a timely fashion, or whether those tasks are even relevant. The aim of productivity is to make your digital marketing efforts more efficient — ensuring that you’re getting the most value out of your time.
Since time constraints are one of the biggest challenges that businesses face, this makes productivity a huge factor for personal and professional success. If you want to be more productive, think about how you can work smarter — not just harder.
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