We can all relate to the struggle: inbound marketing can make you feel like there are not enough hours in the day. Sometimes, it’s the two-hour meetings that a single email could cover; other times, it’s your colleague that keeps poking your shoulder every few minutes or a phone that simply won’t stay quiet.
I bet there’s a to-do list floating somewhere on your desk. You get one task done, your boss adds three new ones. When the week’s over, the only thing you know is you’ve been really busy, but you can’t really point out an achievement. How could you get anything done with so many distractions and time-wasters, anyway?
And all you really want is to be that kickass inbound marketer, without going crazy in the process. It’s time for productivity hacks!
Simplify the Process of Feeding the Content Monster
It’s literally a monster. With content being so important, you can’t really afford to slip up when managing your content strategy. Both content creation and finding great pieces from industry leaders can take forever (and we’re guessing you don’t really have that long, right?).
But then again, there are so many other things you need to look after, including those meetings, notifications and distracting people. It’s quite literally impossible to also scroll through your Twitter feed and read through every blog that might have some great new posts.
Luckily, there’s an easier way to keep your content and social game strong!
Build Rock-Solid Twitter Lists:
Go through the list of Twitter accounts you’re following and add each (yes, all of them!) to a list that defines it (e.g. inbound marketing speakers, mobile marketing experts, social media influencers…).
- The above step is also a great opportunity to clean out the people you follow and get rid of those that no longer represent your interests.
- Log into Tweetdeck with your Twitter account and sort your lists as you wish – now every time you log into your Tweetdeck, you will be able to choose a feed you need at any certain point.
- You can also add a feed in Tweetdeck that will only include a certain hashtag in case there is the one you want to follow.
Follow Top Blogs Through Feedly:
- Create a Feedly account and add RSS feeds from your favourite blogs and websites.
- You can either have one list or you can divide your RSS feeds depending on their topics or general focuses (e.g. social media marketing, search engine marketing).
- Check for new content regularly and remove any feeds that seem irrelevant over time.
Save Great Content You Find to Pocket:
- Install the Pocket app on your phone and the browser extension on your laptop.
- Each time you come across an article you like (e.g. through Facebook or Twitter while on your morning commute), save it to Pocket rather than hoping to find it in your browser history later.
- Posts you save to Pocket will be available to you in a plain, readable format and you can further tag them or mark them as favourites.
Don’t trick yourself into thinking that being spread across 15 tasks at once means you’re super productive – it only means you’re incredibly overloaded with work. Do you really get to focus on anything when jumping from emails to writing to answering phone calls to emails again?
Instead, aim for the state of flow: when you reach it, you can deeply focus on your work, forget and exclude all potential interruptions and actually enjoy your creativity and the entire process. Hint: it will make you happier and your results better. Your boss sure won’t complain to that!
Schedule Blocks of Your Productive Time Ahead:
- Separate your tasks as granularly as possible in order to be as focused on each of them as possible, rather than trying to do them all at once (e.g. you can divide a process of blog post writing into an outline, first draft, headline ideas).
- For each task for a few days ahead, set an amount of time you need in order to get each of them done.
- You can further divide these times into smaller amounts, so if you need 5 hours to complete, you might separate it into five 1-hour productive sessions.
- You should always only do one task at a time!
- Once you have an outline of all your tasks, carve out the time needed in your upcoming week to complete them, and try following the schedule as closely as possible (you should plan your other tasks according to this schedule!).
- A step further is the Pomodoro technique: time-management method based on 25-minute long uninterrupted work with short breaks in-between. After four of such sessions, you can take a longer break (e.g. 30 minutes).
Make Yourself Literally Unavailable:
- Set a length of time for the one task you want to keep working on without getting distracted.
- Close your email and anything else that may send push notifications on your laptop (such as Twitter, unless your task includes it).
- On your phone, set your sound settings to Silent/Priority only (Android) or Do Not Disturb (iOs).
- If possible, leave your phone away from your desk or in another room and don’t pay attention to it until your planned time is over.
- In case there are emails or calls that you can’t leave unanswered even for this short period, set exceptions to silent settings on your phone.
Follow the ‘Single Tab Rule’:
- ‘Single tab rule’ is a method of only working in one browser tab.
- If your task requires you to work in multiple tabs (e.g. when researching, comparing etc.) you should limit yourself to those tabs only.
- If there is a link within a tab you want to open in a new one, only do it once you are done with the current tab and not before.
- Don’t “just go and check something” even though you’re still working on the current tab. Do that later.
- And, yes, you might “just want to check Facebook”… Don’t. If you find it hard to avoid it, install this Chrome extension. You’re welcome.
The most frustrating thing that can happen when working in a team is a task being done twice, or worse – not being done at all. Without implemented tools and planning strategies, even the most productive teams get side-tracked.
Avoid that by using one of the tools we love (or even better – a combination of them).
Google Calendar is Far From Basic:
- Google Calendar is more that just that: don’t overlook the option to manage an editorial calendar, a project development schedule or a campaign plan within it (completely for free!)
- Because it’s already great for what most people already use it for: keeping track of meetings, appointments and day-to-day stuff, you can easily keep an eye on your overall schedule and not overload yourself with tasks.
- Use the option to share it all with any member of your team as well.
Be a Project Hero With Trello and Asana:
- These tools provide an even clearer overview of a finely granulated strategy for any of your inbound marketing channels.
- They both have a free and a paid version and you can use them for teamwork as well, allowing you the clearest view of even the simplest tasks.
- This way, you can use your time more efficiently and block out your productive time according to a whole week of tasks ahead of you.
CoSchedule Will Turn You Into a Pro:
- CoSchedule is taking everything listed above even further.
- It’s a paid-only tool that allows you to schedule your social channels, manage your editorial calendar, integrate Google Analytics, boost your old content and basically plan any of your inbound strategies with it.
- Works with teams of various sizes.
Stay On Top of Your Analytics Game:
- Having some time carved out for reporting each week or month at the same time will keep you from being distracted from other tasks.
- Set a recurring report from Google Analytics to be sent to your email address daily, weekly or monthly.
- Have a set amount of time on that day to analyse your reports and create action points based on that.
- Create the same plan for any other further reporting such as social media: you can schedule reporting using a tool such as SumAll, or you can simply log into your analytics at a set time each week or month to run your reports then.
- Do this between all of your team members!
That’s it – we’ve given you some new ways to boost your productivity and some tools to help you along the way. Hopefully, you will now be able to work more focused and bring your inbound game to a new level! Have you been using any of these tips? Are there any tips you would add to this list?