Afternoon One & All
Freshly motivated and inspired from the post I wrote last week and the comments that it had generated I thought that it would be a great start to this week by writing a post to share with you some Time Management tips for people who are incorporating Social Media into their daily working lives.
As many of you know (or may not know) my team is pretty much Me, Myself & I – which is absolutely fantastic in one respect (the only person I need to worry about is myself) and then in another it can be quite challenging (pretty much a jack of all trades – web master, designer, site management, content creator, blogger, social media account manager, enthusiastic student wanting to learn, helpful member of my online community, researcher, sales woman to name just a few!)
A massive misconception about working for yourself or working from home is that its “easy” or a “doss” for want of a better word, and similarly people believe that Social Media is all play and no work – when infact it’s quite the opposite.
I’ve NEVER worked harder in my life as I am right now – The only difference is I only have to answer to myself, and I am lucky that I can work wherever I want as long as there is internet connection – your own business gives you choice – and thats really important to remember.
Staying focused and on top of things can be really tough at times – whether you are working as a part of a team, or like I am there is ALWAYS so much to keep on top of at any one time quite often I’ve looked at emails and things I need to do and wanted to sink my head into my hands or go quietly to my bed and hide under the covers as a way of avoiding the mountain that I had created for myself.
So how do you do it? How do you manage your time to ensure that your ROI on yourself is as productive as it can possibly be?
“Fail To Prepare …. Prepare To Fail” – Benjamin Franklin
Everything boils down to preparation (and not just in web business either – ask any chef out there – the key is in the preparation)
I’ve looked around at others and I’ve looked at my own work ethic and now I want to share with you some key points on how I think you can manage your time better so you can stay on top of the necessary tasks associated with working for yourself and managing various aspects of marketing and running a web based business.
Have A Plan – More than almost any other activity, working in social media requires a plan. To create your plan, think about what you want to achieve in your social media work. Let’s say one of your social media marketing objectives includes increasing the number of followers for your company’s Twitter account. First, set a visible, specific goal – let’s say a 50% increase in six months. Then, start listing and scheduling the actions you’ll need to take in order to achieve that goal. Repeat this process until you have a workable plan.
A plan like this helps you discipline yourself. Whenever you notice you’re linkhopping from Pinterest to Facebook to YouTube, you can stop and consult your plan. It’ll be a huge help to your time management.
Prioritize your week/day - The benefit of time management is in the measurement. You want to know how you’re using your time and whether it’s being used effectively. If you think about it time is a resource like money. Just like we budget our finances, we need to budget and prioritize our time. So ask yourself: How do you want to prioritize your time?
Begin by sketching out the big “must-do’s” every day. These must-do’s are actions that – in order to be effective – must happen today. Are there other looming deadlines in the next 5 to 7 days? Build those into your schedule and prioritize them appropriately. If you create a work plan built around priorities, then you’ll feel more free to create content and build relationships with your customers.
My day doesn’t end until the following one is on paper – so when I am back in the think tank I know exactly whats on the agenda and can get straight to it with little fuss each day. I use a really great Day Planner I downloaded from Simon Jordan – you can grab a copy here.
Do the necessary then move on - Creating and curating great content is one of the chief tasks of being a social media marketer. It can also be one of the biggest challenges. This is where Hootsuite comes in helpful: you discover blogposts, webapps or other resources you think your followers will appreciate, you can schedule Tweets and Facebook posts into the future. Say you find ten informative websites, or you have specific messages you NEED to post, or you are out of the office, in training and don’t want to miss posting opportunities – auto-scheduling is designed for this. TO MAKE LIFE EASIER – not replace realtime engagement.
People frown upon it, but used correctly this can be a lifeline when the world around you seems to be working on overdrive.
Perfection isn’t always “Perfect” – One of the greatest enemies of time management is perfectionism. That’s when you spend far too much time getting a blogpost or a Facebook status absolutely right. I’m not suggesting you slack off from giving your best, but there’s a fine balance between perfection and excellence. If you’re spending four hours writing and editing a blogpost that should only take two hours, you’re giving up valuable time to other work. And you won’t know this if you don’t accurately track your time.
Have a POWER HOUR – Distraction defeats us all – EVERY SINGLE DAY I ensure that my phone is off, all websites, emails and ways of connecting with me are off – and I strictly focus on 60 minutes of uninterupted work – and it works. It’s not until you turn off the world around you, that you realise how much the world around you distracts you! Writing this post I’ve done exactly that – I’ve even turned my music off – which I am pretty much always listening too. In your power hour you can do as much or as little as you like – I catch up on Webinars, write newsletters, write chapters from my eBook’s i’m working on – anything really that needs doing – that could even be reading a book – pick which matters to you, and in your 60 minutes each day focus only on that.
Talk To Your Peers – what works for them, you may find they can recommend some software to make your life that little bit easier – there is SO much ground to Social Media, that you can’t possibly know everything and have all the tools to do your job – This happened to me recently when Andi at Tims’ Minions did a great tutorial about using TweetAdder – to me this was a godsend, and until I sat and watched the tutorial I didn’t realise its full capability, and since introducing that to my work, i’ve more than halved my time on Twitter – with finding niche specific followers and contacting everyone that does follow me! So it just goes to show you, it does pay to talk to others – We’re all in this together afterall, and I firmly believe that sharing really is caring
Be Realistic – This is the last thing I would say to you. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t beat yourself up if you can’t take on everything and win. Personally I’d rather do one thing well than 3 things badly – set goals that you can achieve, and break it down. If you have website maintenance to do, then focus on that without thinking about Twitter updates, if you need to write blog posts, then write blog posts and don’t think about emails, and so forth.
I’d be delighted to know of any tips and tricks you may have to help with Time Management with Social Media or indeed any online work in general – so feel free to comment and share this post!