The world of digital marketing is fast-paced. It’s easy to start your day with a plan and then get lost in a sea of changes, social conversations, and sometimes, even a little drama. Yes, you do need to stay on top of what’s happening in the digital world. But you also need to create boundaries and manage your time so that you can get your work done and move on with your life. No one should be stuck online 24/7 — even digital marketers (especially digital marketers).
If you’ve been struggling under the weight of your campaigns lately, take heart: help is available. Start with these easy de-stress strategies to make the most of your day.
Multi-tasking Isn’t Always Best
We’re sure that’s not what you wanted to hear, especially since so many people who work in the online world are proud of this ability. The harsh reality is that staying focused on a single task is more efficient. With multi-tasking, you may feel like you’re getting several things done at once. The truth is that you will get each one done faster (and at a higher quality, too) if you give each task individual focus.
Be Clear on Deadlines
Don’t let a client or boss give you a project without a clear deadline. Ask for something specific versus a vague time schedule. This will help you to avoid surprises when someone changes their mind about when a project should be finished – or suddenly decides it was due yesterday, leading to chaos. Deadlines also make it easier to organize your more time-sensitive tasks over those you can work on bit-by-bit at a slower pace.
Incorporate Breaks into Your Day
Your body needs breaks and so does your mind. People working in the digital world know their eyes need a break from the screen, too. Make sure you are taking your lunch or dinner break – and no, that doesn’t mean playing solitaire for five minutes. Get up and move away from the computer! Take a walk every hour or so for 10 minutes or do some stretches. Do not spend your day working non-stop. You’ll exhaust yourself and the quality of your work will suffer, which can lead to big losses.
Categorize and Delegate
Believe it or not, you’re probably doing far more work than you should. As a digital marketing manager, you need to categorize your work. Figure out what tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant (VA) or to a fellow member of your marketing team.
Tasks that you consider urgent either need to get done right away, or they need to receive an immediate time slot on your calendar, so you can finish them faster. Tasks that aren’t as important should either be set off or delegated to another team member. Stop wasting time on tasks that aren’t moving your goals forward!
Pick Up the Phone
Look, it has nothing to do with being an introvert versus an extrovert. Digital marketers can be either, and both are just as good at what they do. It is sometimes far faster and more efficient to pick up the phone and have a quick conversation than it is to play email tag over the course of an entire day.
Need something that isn’t important to your day or that will take time for the other person to put together? Shoot an email. Need a quick piece of information, like the login for your organization’s Facebook Ads account? Pick up the phone and get the answer you need.
Work in Time Blocks
Working in digital marketing means we’re always connected to our phones, email inboxes, and social feeds. These are all important, but they are also distractions. Set aside a 25-30 minute chunk of time where you will stay 100 percent focused on the task at hand. Do not, under any circumstances, check your phone or email during this time. Set a timer and focus on finishing as much of the task as possible during this time slot. Take a break and then start again.
Thinking this sounds like Pomodoro? You’re right! It’s a slightly-modified version of this and other time management strategies. Use the Tomato Timer if needed.
Set Meeting-Free Times
Meetings happen. Long, boring, wasteful meetings happen, too. Make sure you put some time on your calendar, especially on Mondays and Fridays, where meetings cannot be scheduled. Make it clear to your team that meetings can’t be scheduled during these time blocks – and don’t be afraid to tell them why, either. You just might find they’re happy to get on board.
When you do meet, keep it focused, short, and sweet. Thirty minutes is a meeting; four hours is a collaborative work session.
Try to have your meetings in small standing spaces or while taking a short walk outside (this still works if you are a contractor; that’s what headphones are for). If you do need to meet indoors, have an agenda and ensure the session has specific, defined purposes. You do not need a weekly “team meeting” if there is nothing new to discuss. It eats up time and frustrates people.
Password Management Tools
How often do you find yourself digging through emails, looking for your password book, or sorting through Post-It notes searching for a password you need? Those minutes add up. What starts as five minutes per day becomes 25 minutes a week…or nearly two hours each month.
Use a password storage solution like LastPass or 1Password – this will save all your passwords and keep them secure from hackers, too. Apps like these will let you auto-fill any password you need, at the click of a button. Remember to password-protect the app (the only password you’ll need to remember!), so that no one who randomly sits at your computer can access it.
Look for (the Right) Automated Tools
The digital marketing world is inundated with tools…tools for SEO, tools for finding topics, heck there is a tool for just about any task. You can now automate content curation, social media posting, and even PPC management. Tools are fantastic, until setting all those settings becomes a job in and of itself.
So, here’s how to do it right: Before you adopt a new plugin or program, judge it carefully to ensure you don’t sink more time into it than you would by doing the task by yourself. When you do find the right tool(s) for the job, it can significantly cut back on the amount of time you spend on mundane tasks.
Don’t Micromanage Every Task
In the online world, getting the job done is often more important than making sure it’s perfect. Of course, you want to put out the best work possible, but you shouldn’t spend a week having a dozen sets of eyes look over the same work. Trust your content creation teams (or yourself) to come up with the best digital content possible. Have a realistic number of internal checkpoints and then let the work go.
Yes, you will miss the mark from time to time. There will always be someone who thinks an ad or blog could have been written in a different way. Let go and move on.
While the digital world is a busy one, you still have control over your time and how it is spent. The more organized and focused you are, the less time it will take you to do everything that needs to get done. No one likes to work at the computer all day and night. If all else fails, and you’ve cut back as much as you can, yet still need help, it may be time to hire a digital marketing agency to give you a hand. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help – it’s part of running a stable and successful business!