Article updated on 5/15/2020 (original post created 8/19/2015)
For many of us in the online marketing field, keeping up with our hefty workload can prove to be difficult. There always seems to be so little time yet so much to do, and it really doesn’t help that there’s a gazillion distractions all competing for your attention. In today’s age it may seem like you need to be everywhere at all times to be able to stay focused and get work done.
Don’t worry, if you’re not able to be everywhere (not even possible) then these five productivity hacks will surely put you on the right path to getting tasks completed in the most productive way possible.
These little hacks will help you maximize your time and productivity, so can you cut down that workload.
Hack 1 – Prioritize and Schedule your day
Schedule your day. This simple task should be done the night before or first thing in the morning. This is one of the most powerful things you can do to get the most out of your day.
I use Calendar for iCloud, but if you don’t have it there are a variety of options available. You could even simply use a hand held diary, if you feel like going analog-style. As long as you can plan your day, it doesn’t matter what form you prefer. Choose what’s best for you. Once you’ve chosen your format, the next step is to write a list of all your tasks that need completing.
I recommend following the Pareto principle. Simply put, 80% of your results will come from about 20% of the work, so you need to write all your tasks down. Then work out what the most important 20% is (the 20% that will account for about 80% of your results) and commit to work on that first before you do anything else.
Most people waste so much time on the least important things first that they never truly get anything done.
It might feel good ticking things off quickly, but all you’ll be is a list ticker that doesn’t get REAL results.
By prioritizing your tasks, then scheduling specific times to do them, you won’t get distracted and keep jumping to and from multiple tasks. Using this strategy, you can achieve better results in four hours of work than what you would normally achieve eight hours.
Hack 2 – Check your email at designated times
Only check your email at designated times. Preferably only a couple of times a day. Don’t be worried that you’ll miss something, as it will still be there waiting for you.
It’s so easy to get distracted checking emails and looking at all those new and exciting products, answer every little question that comes through or writing unnecessary emails when a phone call would suffice but it won’t get you RESULTS, and that’s what you want.
The best way to not become an email junkie is to only check your email at scheduled times and respond, if necessary, at those scheduled times.
Spend 15-30 mins twice a day on this.
So many times you’ll be in the middle of something and you’ll see that pesky email notification pop up on your screen. You’ll check it out and then get completely distracted and waste hours.
We’ve all been there, but now it’s time to take charge and just get in and out of that email folder as quickly as possible.
Hack 3 – Cut out all distractions
This ties in with the first two. When you’ve got your day planned and you’re in the middle of the action, make sure to avoid all distractions where possible.
There are so many things that can distract you (and me) throughout the day. Here are a few tips to help you avoid those distractions.
- Logout of Facebook (and other social media channels), or at least turn off notifications.
- Turn off your email notifications or logout.
- Put your phone on silent or on airplane mode (and even in a different room if you just can’t resist the urge to pick it up).
- If you work from home and your family is in the house, close the door and ask them to not disturb you while working.
- Log out of Skype or put it on do not disturb mode.
Removing these five distractions will truly make a positive impact on your productivity.
Hack 4 – Create videos with a screen recorder when explaining something
Video: Awesome Screenshot: Screen Video Recorder for Google Chrome browser
There are tons of great screen recording tools you can use to take screen shots and record videos. I really like the Awesome Screenshot extension for the Chrome browser.
Let me show you an example of how you could use it.
Let’s say you’re chatting with a web developer explaining some changes you need on your site.
…and instead of trying to explain every little thing via email and then still getting emails back with more questions it would be faster to explain by either taking a screen shot marking out the changes or recording a quick video explaining what you need doing.
This will save you a load of time. I used to build up hours over the course of a week just by emailing back and forth explaining things I need done. Since making this discovery, I’ve saved myself tons of time.
Google’s Awesome Screenshot tools are free and will really help you save time and be more effective.
Hack 5 – Create step-by-steps and templates
Create step-by-steps for everything!! Well not everything, but complicated actions that involve multiple steps.
I love creating these.
It really makes things run smoothly. It’s also great if you decide to outsource, as you can give contractors the step-by-step plan, and they can do it easily without your supervision.
In addition to step-by-steps, templates are great as well to help you work more efficiently.
If you have a process for certain tasks, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll complete the task.
Here’s an example of a step-by-step I use for promoting my latest marketing blog articles.
- Email subscribers using a fill in the blank template you have prepared. Have multiple templates available that you can simply update with relevant content and send out to your segmented lists.
- Post to Twitter and Facebook to amplify your message via social media.
- Message anyone who was mentioned in the post and ask them to share with their audience. (again use a predesigned template to save time) Here’s an example:
- Post to any relevant groups or forums. Share the content with any related groups if you think it will benefit them.
- The list goes on…
So as you can see it’s pretty useful using a process for a task like promoting a new post. That way you’re all organized and prepared. You could complete this process in less than 30 minutes. All you have to do is quickly go through each and copy and paste where needed.
Remember, if you do something often and it involves a few actions then it might be worth creating a process that will speed things up and help you become more efficient.
More productive = More Results
So there you have it, my 5 productivity hacks that will help you get more done and hopefully meaning you’ll be getting better results that will benefit you and your business.
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