Let’s talk about productivity hacks for marketers.
Let me start by saying that I love a good productivity hack.
But some of the “hacks” that have been around for ages either don’t make much sense or interfere with other important aspects of our lives.
I am talking about our social lives, relationships, self care time, house chores…
In this blog post I want to talk more about the difference between dumb and smart productivity hacks for marketing managers.
Because a happy marketer is the one who manages to balance work and personal life.
Dumb Productivity Hacks You Might Want To Pass On
The marketers productivity hacks that I honestly believe are dumb are all related to multitasking.
Listen to podcasts while walking your dog…
Reply to Instagram DMs while washing the dishes…
Use these 5 tools every day to improve your Twitter engagement…
Brainstorm new blog post ideas while you are eating your breakfast…
Do this why doing that… Or anything that is considered multitasking simply DOESN’T work.
Because there is no such thing as “multitasking”.
What actually happens when you try to do two things at the same time is either “background tasking” or “switchtasking“.
So lets take for an example the “brainstorming blog post ideas during breakfast” hack.
There are a few possible ways this “productivity hack” could go wrong:
- you will end up paying no attention to what you are eating — we all know that mindful eating is essential for your health, mind and body… so you really wouldn’t want to do this;
- you will end up focusing on the food while forgetting about having to brainstorm;
- or you will end up switching your thoughts from “brainstorming” to consuming your next bite. And instead of being “productive” you could waste triple the amount of time you would have needed to complete those two tasks separately.
The Smart Productivity Hacks For Marketers That Actually Work
1. Set Long-term and Short-term Goals and Do-do lists
Setting Long-term goals
Long-term goals require time, planning and research.
Those are the things you want to achieve in the future and usually take a year or more to achieve.
As a marketer, you might be involved in one or many aspects of the marketing of your organization, client or personal brand.
Your long-term goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. and backed up with data based on the current performance and achievements.
S.M.A.R.T. are goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, and Time-bound.
And in order to be able to set a smart goal, you will need to analyze and evaluate your current business performance.
Otherwise you might end up setting unrealistic and unachievable objectives that you cannot follow-through with.
An example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
By January 2019, I will increase my website’s conversion rate from 5% to 10%, which will double my earnings. I will sign up for a CRO course and A/B/n test all elements of my landing pages until I’ve found the winning combination for my target audience.
Setting Short-term goals
Short-term goals are things you want to achieve in the near feature.
This could mean a week, a month or a year.
Your short-term goals need to be aligned with your aim to achieve your pre-set long-term goal.
And of course…
They need need to be S.M.A.R.T.
Ideally, you will want to set monthly and weekly short-term goals.
Planning Your To-do Lists
Many of you might already be using daily to-do lists.
But what you definitely should always keep in mind when planning out your day are your short-term goals.
Many people find it hard to follow-through their to-do lists, because in our field unexpected tasks appear constantly.
And if you don’t want to find yourself stuck in a swap of unfinished tasks from two weeks ago, you need to know what your MIT tasks are.
Your Daily and Weekly MIT
MIT are your “Most Important Tasks”.
At the beginning or end of each week you would want to evaluate your list of tasks and find out which are the top 3 to 5 most important (must-do) for the week.
Remember the Pareto principle?
Find the 20% of your tasks that will generate the most significant results.
You will want to set daily MIT as well.
But what about the small, ongoing tasks that you still have to do?
I am talking about those tasks that take a few minutes up till half an hour.
Each day, set a 1-2 hour time frame when you will only focus on these small tasks.
2. STOP Trying To Multitask. Multitasking Is A MYTH!
I already shared my views on multitasking but I really want to emphasize on this one.
If you want to uncover the true power of productivity you need to learn how to work on your tasks one by one.
Why would you want to go on a dog walk and listen to podcasts…
When you could simply spend 30 minutes of your day listening to the podcast, focus on really understanding the information you are consuming and take actionable notes.
Then you go for a 30 minutes walk with your dog. No phones, no podcasts. Just you, outdoors, enjoying the fresh air with your dog. Your mind needs this, your body needs this and your dog needs you and your attention.
Makes more sense, doesn’t it?
3. Plan Your Campaigns In Advance
In order to properly plan your marketing campaigns you first need to draw the big picture.
It doesn’t matter if you are a PPC, SEO, Email, Social Media or Content marketing expert.
If you really want to follow-through and achieve your long-term goals, you need to plan ahead your yearly and monthly campaigns.
You can achieve this with creating yearly, monthly and daily calendars.
While the yearly calendar will only focus on the bigger campaigns and projects and will not contain any actionable tasks, they will still help you plan out your monthly campaign efforts.
Same goes for your monthly campaign calendars. (Remember my free yearly Social Media content calendar template?)
While they will only contain the outlines of your campaigns, they will be your hand-book for planning our your daily-campaign related efforts.
Wondering how to plan these calendars?
Two free and simple solutions are Google Calendars and plain old Excel.
4. Find The RIGHT Tools and Apps For YOU
When it comes to marketing tools and apps it can get very overwhelming.
I bet that in the past few weeks you have seen at least 10 articles on topics like “30 tools for Twitter marketing” or “20 must-have productivity apps for marketing”…
I simply cannot imagine “being productive” if I have to go from one tool to another every 10 minutes trying to find the best way to complete a task.
Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself when picking the tools and apps you want to work with:
- Will this tool help me achieve my strategic objectives?
- Does this tool have all the features I need?
- Will those features really bring any additional significant value to my current efforts?
- Does this additional value justify the cost I will have to pay?
- Do I really have time to use this tool?
Summary And Checklist
If you have reached the end of this article, then you must have figured out that the dumbest types of productivity hacks are those that require multitasking.
In reality, multitasking is a made-up word created to look fancy in a CV.
While smart productivity hacks for marketers require extensive research, planning and evaluation of your strategy and marketing goals.
If you would like to be a more productive marketer, here is where to start from:
- Set long-term S.M.A.R.T. goals;
- Set monthly S.M.A.R.T. goals;
- Plan weekly S.M.A.R.T. goals;
- Know your MIT of the week;
- Know your MIT of the day;
- Set a 1-2h window each day for lower priority tasks;
- Create a campaign calendar for the next 12 months (or longer);
- Plan a monthly calendar with campaign-related efforts;
- Plan daily calendars for your social posts, email campaigns, blog posts planning;
- Research and find the right marketing tools and apps that will help you achieve your strategic objectives;