Time Management: 5 Must-Read Tips To Improve Your Productivity (And Your Life)
Marketers never have enough time. Whether you’re designing a new landing page, looking for a new product to promote or trying to increase your site’s traffic, sometimes any little thing you do seems to take forever.
I once spent a few days at the apartment of a super marketer. This guy made his first million before he was 25 years old.
He wasn’t overly cunning or charismatic. Even his English was not great. His most obvious source of brilliance was his time management abilities. I swear, he could create in a few hours what would take a week for the average marketer.
In the digital world, when things change so quickly, the ability to work more efficiently doesn’t only ensure you will have a life outside marketing. It means you have the chance to get ahead of other marketers. It means you can find a new trend or niche that will bring you some fast profit before the rest of the dogs jump on the bone. I’ve collected here some insights that I received from watching super marketers at work: the best habits of people who seem to do everything and still have all the time in the world.
Define your working hours
In an old-school working environment, work ends when you leave your desk. These days, work can follow you everywhere. For better or worse, you can answer emails, text messages or access your accounts from anywhere and at any time.
This should make everything happen faster but it often causes people to delay stuff. When you know that you can always just do it later, what’s the rush? That way madness lies. It’s much better to set a clear time limit for your work. This time limit will serve as a deadline that will make your work efforts more focused and effective.
Set your meetings all in one place
Every meeting takes time far beyond the meeting itself. Getting directions, driving or catching the bus, finding parking, finding the exact location… it all adds up. Whenever possible, save time by scheduling as many of your meetings in one location and on one day.
Remove unnecessary distraction
Building concentration takes effort and determination. The higher the concentration you have, the more effective you are. It grows exponentially.
When you’re “in the zone,” you can achieve in 15 minutes as much as you would get done in hours of wondering around half-focused. If you go to a meditation retreat center where people come to reach high concentration levels, the first thing you’re requested to do is to hand over your cell phone until the end of the retreat.
You know how disturbing those little Whatsapp alerts and Messenger notices can be. Even if you don’t reply, just seeing the notification can be enough to break your concentration. Whenever you need to focus, try switching off your phone. If you must be accessible during your working hours, try to limit the Whatsapp groups you are part of and other unnecessary, distracting alerts and notifications.
Time management studies usually split tasks and goals into four categories.
- Important and urgent
- Important and not urgent
- Urgent and not important
- Not urgent and not important
Usually, the hardest tasks to do are the “important but not urgent.” Both the “important and urgent” and “not important but urgent” are done immediately (I hope) and who cares about the “not important and not urgent.”
For example, replying to a major client might be important and urgent, while putting a cone in your parking meter might be not important but urgent. You probably get both of them done when you need to. However, the “important but not urgent” tasks seem to be always pushed over from week to week and they never get done. An important but not urgent task might be new marketing strategy research, new product brainstorming or service improvement meeting.
These things that are critical in the long run can end up pushed around endlessly in a dynamic working reality where new fires keep popping up and you can spend most of your time just putting them out as they appear. The best thing is to allocate a specific day and time each week that is reserved for those types of important things you never get to do otherwise. This time has to be guarded and observed religiously. It can mean the difference between long-run success or failure.
Take care of yourself
Your work efficiency depends on your physical and mental condition as well as on your ambition to get jobs done. It can be extremely helpful to take a 10-minute break every hour and stare at the horizon, so your eyes can relax.
It is very useful to walk or even run during your breaks. Moving your body will energize you and let fresh blood and oxygen run through the brain. Plus, it helps prevent a lot of long-term health problems related to a sedentary lifestyle. When you come back to work you will feel refreshed, and probably you are going to be more effective and creative. In the long run, following these tips will protect your eyes and body from chronic work-related body pain and vision problems.
Time management is an art and science. In the crazy-paced modern work environment, especially in the digital marketing world, knowing how to manage your time can mean the difference between success and failure. These tips will help you to get back control over your own schedule as well as keeping your health and life outside of work.