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 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 realise 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-prioritise everything thereafter.
2. 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 for tools like Teamwork to keep your teams running a tight ship. To improve and create automatic workflows, use Zapier or Integromat. Content writers can improve their prose with the Grammarly app, which checks your grammar and helps you optimise your sentences.
3. 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 a bigger impact.
4. 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.
5. 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 defence against time creep. Block off time in your calendar for 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.
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 prioritisation, you suck more energy out of your day (and get back to living your best life).