A content and social marketer's work is never done. Because the online world is always changing, evolving, and AWAKE, it's easy to get caught up in a laundry list of to-do items: create a new content marketing campaign, clean out your inbox, post to your social media channels, write another blog post, check your analytics, create cool graphics for another Slideshare presentation. The list goes on and on. Whether you call it decision fatigue or burnout, the results are the same. Becoming overwhelmed by content marketing tasks can actually decrease your productivity rather than increase your efficiency. With a mile-long list of action items, you may feel pressured to do a little bit of each of them, and end up finishing none. Studies also show that multitasking can increase the likelihood that you'll make a careless mistake by more than 30%. If you're in a high-profile role where your clients or business are counting on your ability to execute, that's a statistic you can't afford to gamble on.
Knowing that there are only so many hours in a day and that even the most savvy marketing mavens and digital marketing masterminds have limitations, we recommend a few tips and tricks from our favorite industry leaders to stay sane under pressure.
Richard Branson – Three Post-It Note Prioritization
Richard Branson is arguably one of the most successful marketers and brand builders of our time. His ability to create a meaningful connection between his services and products and his customer base is as legendary as a first-class flight on Virgin Atlantic. This unwavering success starts with clear prioritization. To help him quickly organize his day, he writes the top three – and only three – high-level priorities he needs or wants to accomplish on sticky notes. He then recommends ranking those goals. From there, simply back into each of those goals with the tasks that will lead to their completion. Any other action items should be deferred until the primary goals are complete. This method ensures you stay laser focused on what really matters and cuts back on unnecessary noise. Now to decide which three you will select!
Malcolm Gladwell – Know Thy Strengths
Famous author and social scientist Malcolm Gladwell has completed extensive research on what leads to greatness. He's written on the power of trusting your instinctual decision-making process in his celebrated novel Blink and studied the traits that lead to success over failure even in the face of unspeakable obstacles in his newest book, David and Goliath. We'd like to think he knows something about how to beat the odds. To protect yourself from burnout and ensure you don't become a jack of all trades (and master of none), Gladwell repeatedly champions the advice to know, and embrace, your strengths. In one of his most famous articles, he cites the “10,000-hour rule.” To become an expert on any given task or subject, you need to do it for at least 10,000 hours. If you want to be a leading social marketing manager or content marketing specialist, you need to laser focus in on tasks in service to those goals. If you know you're a whiz at SEO, but your to-do list has six tasks better suited to a graphic artist, it's time to reprioritize. Lean on your coworkers and network to leverage your strengths — and theirs. The aspiring graphic creative beside you might be thrilled to step in to support your needs or swap tasks so you can both do what you're best at. This might also be where you look at outsourcing tasks that do not fall into your strengths arena.
Adm. William McRaven – Make Your Bed
Navy Seal commander and special operative responsible for capturing Osama bin Laden offered the University of Texas simple advice to beat task fatigue in his recent commencement address. And his first piece of advice was to make your bed. Whether you want to interpret his advice literally, or extend a metaphor to the proverbial bed of your life and work, the straightforward, earnest advice rings true. Making your bed, cleaning out your inbox of clutter each morning, starting your day with clear priorities (and maybe a few Post-It notes), or getting into gear with an early jog all give you an early sense of achievement to jump-start your morning and carry you throughout the day. Even a recent Huffington Post article pointed out that making your bed each morning can actually trigger feelings of happiness! And who doesn't need more happiness as we face the social media world each day?
If these leaders can do it, so can you. Resisting the urge to jump on Facebook or Twitter every hour and not giving into the latest shiny object are tips we know to be true, but perhaps with a little prioritization and some basic success tips, we can all get a whole lot more done in our over-packed content marketing day. We want to know your top tips for staying productive in your marketing role. Share them with us here.