As the world of marketing is expanding rapidly with the continuous growth of the internet, digital marketers are becoming ever more stressed, and it’s not unjustified.
It can be very stressful trying to keep up with the ever-changing rules and trends in any industry but nothing can quite compare to that of the online marketing world.
The continuous changes of the internet lead to increased hours and stress-levels that are through the roof, with many marketing professionals finding that they have too much to do in a 40-hour week.
One of the most notable changes that we are seeing in the working world of the 21st century is a shift away from glorifying a 60-hour work week to celebrating a healthy work-life balance.
Digital marketers need to learn to work smarter, not harder.
Working smarter, not harder has become somewhat of a cliche but it’s vital in the world of digital marketing if you want to keep your sanity.
There are several key ways to working smarter instead of harder which we will take a look at below.
Change up your Workflow
This may seem pretty obvious but it’s something that most people struggle with.
It’s very difficult to change things up once you are used to working in a specific way
Here are a few tips for improving your day to day productivity.
Plan your day
This may seem like the most basic step and an easy one to leave out but it’s possibly the most important.
If you plan your day properly and know what to expect throughout the day and what you want to get done, it makes time-management so much easier.
Have a clear schedule of every meeting; where it is and what time, alongside a to-do list of tasks and projects that you will be working on during the day.
Prioritize the most important by putting them at the top of the list and make a note of the tasks that you have to get done that day.
This way you have full control over what you must get done on a particular day and what you could push over to your list the next day.
Of course, unexpected and urgent tasks will always pop up during the day and you will need to attend to them.
But, having the to-do list cuts down on the time you spend trying to decide what you need to do next and also gives you a clear focus for the day and what you want to achieve.
Start with the hard tasks
It’s a lot more motivating to get the most taxing and urgent work done first.
Work on the most important tasks early on, when you still full of energy.
This will also ensure that you not sitting at work late at night trying to finish a very important task because other roadblocks came up during the day and you weren’t able to get to it.
By getting an important task done, you will also more than likely feel motivated throughout the day to get stuff done.
Work in sprints
As much as your schedule and to-do list allow it, try to work in 45 minutes sprints.
This means focusing solely on a specific task for a 45 minute period.
In other words ignore your email, close facebook and pay no attention to anyone around you.
The idea is that you can focus on the task with no distractions and hopefully check it off your list.
For tasks that will take longer than 45 minutes, try break them down into multiple to-dos.
After the 45 minutes is up, spend the next 10 to 15 minutes checking emails, reading an article, chatting with colleagues or even taking a quick break. Then once you’ve caught up, start your next 45-minute sprint.
Keep your email clean
Once you get into the habit of ignoring emails and allowing your inbox to creep up to 400 + unread emails, it’s very difficult to get out of.
But having a Zero inbox is so vital.
You could dedicate parts of your day to working on emails.
Only leave the ones that you need to respond to directly by the end of the day as “unread.”
Also, try to respond to as many as you can as they come in or within an hour or two of receiving them.
This way you won’t be left with a build-up of emails that you have to attend to all at once.
There are so many automation tools out there now that could make your job so much easier.
These tools empower marketers to work smarter and not harder by freeing up the time to focus on work that needs their full attention.
The internet has also created various opportunities to outsource as many online jobs as you like. But for today we will be focusing on integrating tools.
Here are some of the most valuable integrating tools.
Boomerang for Gmail
This is a great tool for keeping your inbox clear.
Boomerang for Gmail allows you to schedule when emails are sent and also enables users to move emails out of their inbox and automatically bring them back at a scheduled date and time when that specific email is needed again.
In summary, it allows you to schedule emails, mark them to return to the top of your inbox to remind you to reply and get a reminder to chase up responses you’re waiting for.
It also lets you set a recurring email such as a calendar invite, that you can send at an interval of your choosing (for instance, every week).
Being able to file away important emails, knowing they will come back when needed is extremely freeing to digital marketers.
Pocket, previously known as Read it Later, which you may have heard of, is a great app and web service for managing a reading list of articles from the internet.
If you come across an interesting article that you don’t have time to read or may need at a later stage, you can simply save it to pocket and go back and read it when you have time.
Essentially it’s a place to quickly save, discover and recommend the most interesting articles on the web, with a “save for later” principle.
You can save multiple links straight from the internet or even Twitter to Pocket and have them integrated into one cross-device place, where you can access them at a later stage.
Rather than spending hours of your day manually extracting data, crunching numbers and creating reports and then having to repeat the whole process again, you could simply automate the report generation.
This will not only save you loads of time but also help you to be more organized, impress your boss by creating sophisticated reports, and increase the frequency of analysis.
You can choose to automate your reporting, daily or weekly, and you can even schedule reports to be generated and emailed directly to clients if necessary.
Another great thing about automated reports is that there is far less chance of human error.
This means results are more consistent and reliable, saving time and money.
This is a social media management tool that is easy to use and will save plenty of times.
It lets you see and interact with all different platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram and much more. The free version will allow you to link three ‘accounts’ and these will be your various channels.
You can get a complete overview of all relevant activity by simply creating “streams” that could include new followers on Facebook, @mentions on Twitter or group comments on LinkedIn.
HootSuite is also great for scheduling social media posts, engaging with influencers and monitoring follower engagement. This means you can centralize all your social media tasks on one centralized app, rather than having to attend to each task separately. It’s a great time-saving app that allows you to create a professional social media plan.
There are also plenty of other social media management tools to make your social presence more streamlined. It is all about finding the set up that works best for you.
The above tips and tricks are just a small fraction of ways you can streamline your working day. The key factors when it comes to working smarter instead of harder are to question everything you do, find and implement processes where ever you can and know the true value of your time.