You’re constantly busy and struggling to keep up. Just when you start working on a project, someone interrupts you (yet again!) to add something else to your already full schedule. You grind all day but when 5 o’clock rolls around, you feel like you didn’t accomplish anything. Does this sound familiar? Everyone has a lot on his or her plate, especially marketers. Balancing the demands of creating original content and creating timely, relevant content can be an art. You want to be responsive, but not reactive.
So how do you do it all? Time management is a must-have skill that develops with practice and mindfulness, but there are some tips that can help you achieve more balanced, productive methods to manage the marketing madness.
Here’s how you can be as organized as possible so that you have consistent, original content scheduled, but are also free to make something magical happen when an opportunity presents itself:
- Make a list of to-do’s daily – I live by my to-do lists. During the first 10 minutes of your day, sip your coffee while you make a to-do list for the day. Write down everything you can think of, then prioritize. Just writing it down will help you get organized and in the right mindset. Personally, I like to mix up the order and start with an easy item first that won’t take too long so that I can begin my day with productivity and success. Then I mix in more difficult tasks with easier items so I don’t get overwhelmed. Check in on the list at the middle and end of the day – you can add the tasks that came up randomly or you can see what all you’ve accomplished. You’ll be surprised at how good it feels to add a check mark to the things you’ve completed. No more feeling like you have so much to do but “didn’t get anything done.” You can make your to-do list electronic or on paper. (I personally like writing them down on paper because I spend so much time in front of a screen I find it helps to look at good ol’ pen and paper sometimes.)
- Keep an electronic calendar with meetings and major content to do’s/events. This will help keep you on track and you can log into your calendar anywhere and share it with others. Outlook or Google Calendar are great choices. Use your cell phone to set reminders so that your alarm goes off and you stay on track to work on the things you’ve set out to do, when you’ve set aside time to do them. Acuity Scheduling is an easy, inexpensive online scheduler tool for appointments. It’s super simple to install and use, and even sends out reminder emails to clients. I highly recommend Acuity to anyone who regularly schedules meetings with outside clients/partners.
- Make a content calendar – I like to set weekly, monthly, and yearly content themes (with at least a set minimum number of posts to meet). I often will change them as the year progresses, but it’s important to take time and think of areas around which you can build content for your subject(s). It makes scheduling posts easier because you already know what you’re looking for and who to talk to. You can do separate content themes for different social media platforms and for newsletters. It helps with creativity and organization.
- Have a list of creative ideas/content you can pull from if needed – this is a big one for me. I keep a list on my phone and in my work notebook of content ideas whenever they pop into my head. Most of the time, these ideas come to me when I’m not sitting at my desk but when I’m out in the world doing something entirely unrelated. Make sure you are always prepared to write down those ideas so you can use them later!
- Use social media post schedulers – I’ve mentioned this before in a blog about 5 Cheap and Easy Marketing Tools. I can’t stress the importance enough of scheduling your social media posts out ahead of time makes it so you can keep your original content production on track and never let it slip away. It’s easy to get too distracted with other items that come up but saying that you’ll tweet after a meeting usually ends up with the meeting running late and you totally forgetting to tweet. Instead, set aside time each week dedicated to creating posts for at least a week out. Schedule them according to your analytics so that you’re optimizing the time most of your users will see them (which will likely be slightly different for each platform) and then you don’t have to stress. Change or edit the content later in the week if need be.
- Keep your calendar as consistent as possible – the items that you do on a regular basis should be scheduled for about the same time. For instance, if you do a monthly newsletter, try to send it around the same time. People love consistency and we do better when we have a routine. Similarly, if you set aside a time to work on Pinterest, keep it at the same time each week. The more items you can set into a set schedule, the easier it is to keep yourself organized!
Planning is incredibly important – but it’s not everything. It does give you the freedom and flexibility to stay on track, measure your productivity, and make sure you can fit everything in that is required of you. It also allows you to make sure when the inevitable spur of the moment, you must make this thing RIGHT NOW, that you’ll be able to. You can simply reschedule something you already have planned and replace it with your new content. It also empowers you so that when you do need to say “no” or “not right now” you can immediately give a full explanation about what else you need to accomplish first.
Most of all, you want to be organized and thoughtful about your content to make sure that what you are spending your time and effort on is created with your end-user in mind. Make it relevant, timely, and useful.
Do you have any time management tips/techniques that I didn’t cover? I’m always trying to learn more so be sure to leave me a comment to let me know if you liked this blog or have any advice! Thanks for reading!