Time Management Tips for Content Marketers
Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.
Overall, this advice from Sam Levenson is great. But, many content marketers stick only to the part up to the semicolon.
And before they know it, tasks start piling up.
It happens to the best of us, and we’re all familiar with that feeling when a deadline creeps up on us and rears its ugly head.
Procrastination hinders all walks of life and lines of work, so bloggers, content marketers, and other freelancers aren’t the only ones suffering from this syndrome.
As a matter of fact, studies say that almost 20% of the adult population could be qualified as chronic procrastinators.
There are various reasons why we procrastinate. However, instead of dwelling on them or beating ourselves up for not being more productive, we’d be better off discussing effective solutions for the problem.
Put Together a Game Plan
Before you start working on your time management, it’s crucial to identify all these annoying time leaks and be aware of what you’re doing wrong.
It’s very easy to lose track of time when you’re working on your latest post, and that’s why you need to be in control of every single part of your workday.
If you plan all your tasks and activities the night before, you’ll have a solid framework as a reference.
Creating to-do lists and checking the completed items off them has a powerful psychological effect as we feel a certain sense of achievement and satisfaction upon a finished task. This, in turn, motivates us to move on to the next one.
A recent research study has shown that making plans and writing your tasks down (on a piece of paper) significantly reduces the anxiety caused by all the activities waiting to be done.
Make Your Plan Flexible
Sometimes an urgent task comes along unexpectedly. That’s why your schedule needs to be flexible enough so that you can rotate your tasks and squeeze in the one which requires your immediate attention.
This will require not leaving all your assignments for the eleventh hour, because in that case, it would be virtually impossible to make some room for the last-minute additions.
Find Your “Golden Hour”
We’re talking about the time frame when you are your most productive self.
If you notice that your focus is at its sharpest in the morning, make sure to reserve this part of the day for your most important and challenging work.
It’s also a good idea to take biological factors into consideration and analyze your circadian rhythm to see how your body and mind operate. That is when you’re most alert and when exactly the afternoon slump kicks in.
Forget About Multitasking
Many business professionals brag about being able to multitask believing that this practice testifies about their advanced skills and capabilities.
But, it appears that multitasking is no more than a buzzword and a myth which has no real foundation in psychology. Namely, Professor David Meyer of the University of Michigan believes that the human brain simply isn’t wired to perform two or more task simultaneously.
Moreover, if you try to juggle multiple tasks at the same time, it will take you more time to complete them, and the results won’t be satisfying as you’ll be more prone to making mistakes.
Set Time Limits
If you tend to get carried away while you’re working and to spend too much time on a particular task, you should think about setting time limits.
This will add a sense of urgency and prompt you to focus on whatever you’re doing at the moment.
Needless to say, if you’re a remote employee or a freelancer with an hourly rate, you need to track billable hours and create reports for your clients.
An intuitive timesheet calculator can help you in all the above-mentioned cases, and both give your productivity a boost and show your clients how exactly you spent your time while being on the clock.
Declutter Your Workspace
Physical clutter can seriously hurt your ability to focus and be productive.
And this isn’t just a logical assumption, but a scientifically established fact.
A study by researchers at the Princeton University of Neuroscience Institute has found that a messy, cluttered environment interferes with the brain’s ability to concentrate and process information.
Keep everything on your desk organized and clean up things at the end of each workday.
The same goes for your inbox, which means that you should delete all those irrelevant emails and unsubscribe from newsletters that you don’t read.
Make a habit of using consistent file names when saving documents as this will help you find them easier.
Schedule Your Breaks
Taking regular breaks is a must. Or else you’re headed for burnout at full speed.
This won’t happen if you carefully schedule each break.
There are different tactics, and you should pick the one which works best for you.
For example, according to the Pomodoro Technique, it’s advisable to take a 5-minute break after every 25 minutes of work. After four 30-minute cycles, you should take 20 minutes off.
If you prefer working in longer time blocks, then a 90-minute work interval followed by a 20-minute break might be your cup of tea.
Keep Distractions at Bay
No matter whether you’re working in a traditional or open-plan office, or from home, different kinds of distractions can kill your focus and ruin your flow.
According to a survey:
- About 50% of U.S. employees blame their cell phones for destroying their productivity
- 44% think that the internet drags them away from work
- 36% accuse social media of turning them into slackers
Luckily, there are some simple steps that you can take to prevent all these digital and other distractions from sidetracking you.
- Switch your phone to airplane mode
- Use noise-canceling headphones
- Install a distraction-free word processor
- Use a website blocker
- Limit your social media time
- Inform your co-workers that you’re busy and that you don’t want to be interrupted
- Check emails at certain, predefined times
- If everything else fails, resort to the final, desperate measure – disconnect from the internet
- Repurpose and Recycle Evergreen Posts
There’s no need to waste your time and energy looking for a relevant and captivating blog post topic if you’re swamped with other work.
You most certainly have those evergreen pieces of content which have been generating traffic steadily ever since you posted them.
So, why not revisit them, update your points and perspectives, add new findings, and refresh them with the latest stats and research studies?
This way, you’ll both save yourself a lot of time and give your top-performing posts an additional boost by polishing them.
Use a Topic Idea Generator
Although researching keywords and topics for your new blog post is the most important step in the process, there are tools that can help you do this more quickly when you’re strapped for time.
HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator is one of them, and though you shouldn’t heavily rely on it to pick up the slack, it can be a helpful instant solution.
BuzzSumo can help you identify the most shared and top performing content and point you in the right direction.
How many times have you had an excellent blog post idea that escaped your memory?
Probably more than you can think of.
That’s why jotting down all your ideas, plans, puns you can later use as catchy headlines, and valuable sources is an amazing way of capturing your flashes of inspiration and saving them for later.
Different tools like Google Keep can come in handy and allow you to make your own scrapbook of ideas and resources.
Delegate and Outsource
Sometimes you’re too overwhelmed with work, and you can’t possibly do everything on your own.
There’s no need to push yourself too hard because you’ll spread yourself too thin, and the quality of your work will drop.
Instead of that, delegate your tasks to a co-worker or a reliable professional from your network.
Outsourcing your work is also something that can be a good solution, especially if that’s something that’s not your expertise. You can hire a VA who could do your administrative tasks or a designer who could take care of your visuals.
Look After Your Well-Being
Mens sana in corpore sano (A healthy mind in a healthy body).
Given that your job is sedentary, it’s of vital importance to exercise regularly in order to stay fit and healthy.
The risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease is increased in people who sit for long periods of time.
Exercising and a healthy diet won’t only help you minimize the side effects of spending so much time in front of your screen, but they will also increase your energy levels and enhance your memory.
Another important factor is staying hydrated, as your brain needs water in order to function properly. Even mild dehydration can affect your cognitive performance.
So, make sure to:
- Drink water regularly
- Exercise every day, or at least take a walk
- Sleep 8 hours a night
- And not to skip meals – especially breakfast
As simple as some of these tips might be, even experienced content marketers tend to ignore them, but if you start implementing them one by one, your workflow and efficiency can significantly improve.
You may also want to read: 12 Tools For Your Website Security, Facebook ROI & Project Management
Marko Maric is a marketer who’s been involved with several startups over the years. He’s currently working at Clockify where he’s trying to make the world a more productive place. You can tweet him @mmmaric
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