The days seem to be getting longer, but for marketers, there’s no time like the present.
With so much to focus on — from changes to Facebook’s privacy rules to updates to the Instagram algorithm, marketing can often feel like a game of whack-a-mole. Rather than running from one thing to the next, here are some time management hacks for marketers that can make your day more productive — and less stressful.
1. Focus on Tasks Linked to Revenue
Do you ever leave work feeling like you were busy all day, yet wondering what, exactly, you accomplished? It’s easy to lose time on so-called “busy work” — answering emails, sitting in meetings, and responding to news alerts — without actually achieving anything. There are so many distracting, shiny objects: email, social media, meetings, calls. Before you realize it, the day is already over.
Try this experiment: keep an eye on your daily activities over the next week to see how you’re spending your time. ClickTime’s time tracker or a gadget like ZEI can help you see what takes up most of your energy and attention during the workday. Then, recalibrate. What activities are helping you directly achieve your marketing goals (and thus, gain revenue), and what activities are simply getting in your way? Focus on the things that have the highest impact on your business, and re-prioritize everything thereafter.
2. Maximize Your Minimum Effort
Have you heard of the 80/20 Pareto rule? Simply, the Pareto rule states that 20% of your input can produce 80% of your return. This is a key principle for marketers and for time management overall. First, it means 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. Therefore, you can streamline your marketing efforts to target those select few — and spend less time, energy, and resources on far-flung marketing efforts to the whole universe of potential customers.
Likewise, as a productivity hack, it means that 20% of your time can produce 80% of your results. The Pareto rule lets you focus on the few things that are truly important on your to-do list. It feels great to cross everything off your to-do list, but spending time on small tasks is preventing you from focusing on the larger items that will have bigger impact.
3. Set Productivity KPIs
Key performance indicators are a marketer’s best friend (or worst enemy, depending on how your campaigns are doing). You likely already have KPIs for your social media channels and marketing initiatives. Did you know you can also set informal KPIs to see how you can best use your time? Hack your to-do list to make it more specific, measurable, and action-oriented. Rather than “write social media posts,” your KPI should read “write 10 Instagram posts by Friday at noon.” This gives you a better sense of how long a task will take, and motivate you to allocate time accordingly.
4. Automate As Much As Possible
Bring on the robots! The best time management hacks? Having free tools do your work for you. Buffer and Hootsuite are good options for scheduling your social media posts ahead of time. Mailchimp and Customer.io let you automate email campaigns. Hubspot and Marketo can help streamline your lead generation and inbound sales funnels. For marketers, these tools can turbo-boost your marketing campaigns in no time.
As for your personal productivity, look to tools like Asana and Trello to keep your teams running a tight ship. Content writers can improve their prose with the Hemingway app, which checks your grammar and helps you optimize your sentences (or try Grammarly, a free alternative).
5. Do Some Freewriting Every Morning
Unless you’re a morning person, you spend the first hour at your desk just trying to wake up your brain. Freewriting is a habit that can help you save time and produce better content, regardless of how energetic your brain feels in the AM.
The idea behind freewriting is simple. Before you start your day, sit down with a notebook and pen. Spend 10 minutes just writing — whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be a great work of literature, or even make sense. For writers, this exercise can get you past writer’s block. For everyone else, freewriting will bring perspective to your work and help clear your brain to focus for the day. Some people use this time to create lists, and head into the day feeling more organized. No matter what form your freewriting takes, spending 10 minutes before logging in can help you manage your time more efficiently the rest of the day.
6. Make Your Calendar Work for You
Sometimes, one of the hardest parts of time management is defending your actual time. Working in an office comes with lots of interruptions, distractions, and commitments. Make your calendar your first layer of defense against time creep. Block off time in your calendar for “fake” meetings to give yourself uninterrupted work time. Pad offsite meetings with travel time to reduce the stress of rushing from place to place. Set up self-reminder events in your calendar to keep track of deadlines. Add a scheduling integration like Calendly to cut down on email traffic and make it easy for people outside your company to find time to meet with you. When possible, block off time to work remotely! Being offsite can help you manage your time without interruption.
Take a deep breath, carve out some time for your headspace, and use some handy tools to take control of your workday. By using your calendar, marketing automation hacks, and some strict prioritization, you suck more energy out of your day (and get back to living your best life).
This article is originally published at ClickTime by Emily Heaslip.