Time is of the essence, particularly in this current fast-paced burnout world we live in. Digital marketers and influencers work round the clock wearing many hats to beat crazy deadlines, attend to multiple client requests, create and develop shifting content strategies — all while battling anxiousness, procrastination and distractions.
Any strategy that shortens the time we spend doing something is a welcome addition to our busy technology-driven lives.
As a marketer or influencer, you need strategies that will;
- make your life less stressful
- manage your time better
- enhance productivity levels
- optimize your workflow
- leverage the right tools
- keep you in control of your projects or campaigns
- eliminate multitasking
- and help you excel in your work.
Tips to Improve Your Time Management
#Tip1. Create a game plan
Before you embark on your time management, it is vital to identify all the distractive time traps and develop a robust framework that controls every part of your workday. With the urgent/important matrix that advocates for priority levels, you plot your day according to its urgency or order of importance.
- The urgent and important task is done now.
- The not so urgent but still important task is entered into the diary for later.
- The urgent but not important ask is delegated.
- The not urgent nor important task is gotten rid of.
A prioritized action list (To-Do list) tracks the tasks that you need to do and checks off the completed items. Action is what sets in motion a series of productive hours and a satisfying psychological effect once done.
Note that the plan should not be too rigid. There are urgent last-minute additions that show up unannounced, so give room for such tasks and be flexible enough to rotate the others.
#Tip2. Set time limits and schedule breaks
Setting time limits is beneficial when you spend so much time working on a particular task that you lose your sense of time. It also helps you focus on the urgency of the task at hand.
If you do freelance work, then tracking your billable hours goes without saying. It helps show your client and yourself how you spend your working hours. Brings me to my next point; take regular breaks.Overworking yourself is not being productive, you will burn out, and mistakes creep in.
It is essential to recalibrate your mind with scheduled breaks. A challenging task, especially, does so well with a fresh mind and perspective. Use downtime to catch up with the latest news online, check up on your loved ones or go for a walk. Pomodoro technique allows you to set time limits and take a 5 minutes break after every 25 minutes of work and a 20 minutes break after four cycles.
Speaking of time frames, work out when you are most alert and productive and schedule the golden hours to solve your most important and challenging work. Alternatively, you can decide to eat the frog during this time – doing tasks you’re likely to procrastinate on – before you move on to the fun stuff. That sense of accomplishment will boost the rest of your day’s momentum.
Remember to do one task at a time. Multitasking is counterproductive and takes more time to complete.
#Tip3. Limit number of tools
Just because a new shiny productivity app or tool has been launched does not mean you should install it. The danger of incorporating too many tools in your workflow is that they will slow you down, making it counterproductive.
Instead, only add tools that help advance your skill set and pull data from multiple sources that you require. TimeTackle, for example, allows you to export data from your calendar to Excel either in CSV format or spreadsheet.
#Tip4. Eliminate distractions
A digital marketer or influencer almost exclusively works online, which means chances of encountering distractions from social media platforms that turn you into a slacker are very high. You should limit access to all the distracting content and websites with website blockers such as RescueTime or StayFocusd, available as a Chrome extension.
When you are in work mode, avoid responding to calls, emails or notifications in undefined times. If necessary, switch your phone to airplane mode. What you are doing at the moment is more important and needs to be completed, not left unattended.
#Tip5. Expand your skill set
Influencers tend to pick up new skills along the way due to the nature of their work. Having learned several skills in your repertoire makes you a valuable asset wherever you go.
Especially if those skills save your time and improve speed in your workflow.
#Tip6. Learn to delegate and outsource
Remember, we mentioned that the urgent but not so important tasks should be delegated. Less work in your hands means you are less overwhelmed and have more time to tackle the more pressing tasks.
Your co-worker also gets the chance to grow through their increased performance and productivity—a win for all. If you are alone, do not spread yourself too thin or the quality of your work will drop drastically.
Outsource the services of a freelancer or virtual assistant to lift some of the workload. They can write content for you, design your visuals, do admin work, etc. while you focus on your most important and urgent activities.
#Tip7. Opt for verbal conversation rather than email
Emails are the go-to forms of communication when one wants to keep it professional and as a reference for official correspondence. But if you wish to get work done at a steady pace, emails slow down the process.
Face-to-face conversations are ideal, but if they are not an option particularly for those who work remotely, then tools such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or Microsoft Teams come in handy. The quick, real-time responses move the conversation forward and fasten resolution of tasks.
#Tip8. Learn when to say No
A tremendous part of why we overwork ourselves is because we say Yes to every work sent our way even when we are drowning. The pressure to do right by our colleagues is sinking. Not only will it result in below-par work, but you’ll suffer for it mentally, physically and even socially.
Learning when and how to say a polite but firm No is a skill. When communicating your stance, control your body language, words and voice tone. Communicate to your colleagues or superior about what you are currently working on to manage expectations. They can then decide to seek an alternative solution or wait a bit longer.
#Tip9. Declutter the workspace
A cluttered physical environment interferes with your focus or how you process information. Having an organized space is inviting and helps you get to business with minimal or no distractions.
Keep your working space tidy at all times. Declutter your digital space as well, and this includes clearing your emails or unsubscribing from unnecessary newsletters. Store your notes, content ideas and resources in apps such as Evernote, OneNote, Trello or Google Keep. Organize your documents with consistent file names.
#Tip10. Repurpose evergreen content
Evergreen content is the most read and shared content for so many creatives. Evergreen content is timeless (relevance) and of excellent quality (traffic). Leveraging this captivating content by repurposing it and sharing on social media can drive steady traffic to your site and maintain your online presence.
It can be in the form of infographics, quote graphics, social media posts or threads, downloadables, video clips or podcasts. Before you repost and distribute your top-performing content, update your perspective, and refresh the content with new findings.
Time management is a critical skill to develop at work, at home and in your personal life — to optimize your workflow and efficiency. With these few tips, we hope that your journey as a marketer or influencer (or any other department in your life) will be more productive and enjoyable. Don’t watch the clock; keep going. Put these time-saving tips to good use in your day to day.
Which time management techniques have worked for you?