Continuing with our reader question series, this next question comes from Joe Cheray from Wild Hearts Web 2.0.
Her question was:
“How do we, as content marketers, establish a daily plan to get more done?”
Great question. Planning your day is one of the highest return habits you could develop as a content marketer.
When you first design and implement a plan, it’s going to seem like a hassle. You’ll probably be tempted to just do things, rather than plan things out and write things down.
Once you get used to planning however, it’ll really just take you 5 to 10 minutes a day. Those 5 to 10 minutes can easily add two or three hours of productivity to your day.
Here’s how to plan your day to get more done.
Go Over Your “Urgent But Not Important” Tasks
If you’re just beginning to plan out your days, start by writing down everything you’re responsible for doing. Write down both things that absolutely must get done today, as well as long term plans that you hope to fulfill on someday.
One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it allows you to get important but not urgent things done.
For example, if you have a regular blogging schedule and you absolutely have to post today, chances are you’ll get that done. But what if you have an eBook that you’ve been meaning to write for a while that you just haven’t gotten around to? There’s a good chance that without planning, you’ll just never get around to it.
Begin by writing out all the things you need to get done, especially the things that are important to you but have no urgent deadline. Make sure you set aside some time for those things every day in your daily plan.
Structure Facebook & Email Time
Facebook and email can absolutely zap your productivity. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up spending hours doing quite literally nothing. Getting distracted by checking email doesn’t take just 10 minutes, because it can easily take you 10 minutes just to get back into mental focus.
Schedule a few set times a day to check email and Facebook. For example, check it once in the morning, once around noon and once at the end of your work day.
Once you’re off work, you can check them as often as you want. But while you’re working, limit the amount of Facebook and email time you spend. Scheduling them in helps with that.
Schedule Tasks Based on Time of Day
Different people operate better in different times of day. Some people work best late at night, while others work best early in the morning.
For me personally, I notice that between 11:00pm and 1:00am my ability concentrate drastically dips. I actually think of it as my IQ dropping. If there’s intelligent work that needs to be done, I make sure I do it when I have “high IQ” rather than “low IQ.”
There’s definitely work that can be done when you can’t really concentrate. Clearing out emails, entering your expenses into your spreadsheets, filing invoices, etc.
Schedule the most thinking intensive projects into times of day when you’re the brightest. Schedule mundane tasks into the rest of your day.
Schedule in Exercise
In his book “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” Dr. John J. Ratey dives deep into how exercise affects concentration, memory, productivity and energy levels.
It turns out exercise has an absolutely huge impact on how you feel during the day. It has such as significant impact that even just taking a break from your computer for 10 minutes to do some jump roping can boost your concentration.
Case study after case study among both kids in school and adults verifies this. My own personal experience matches this as well. Doing some light exercise mid day really boosts my concentration and dispels that lethargic feeling I get when I’m in front of the computer for too long.
So schedule a quick exercise break once or twice in your day. Something as simple as a jog around the block or 5 minutes of jumping jacks can make a big difference.
To sum up, start by scheduling your important but not urgent tasks. Set aside time for distracting activities and make sure they don’t get in the way of the rest of your work day. Schedule your most important, most difficult or most thought-intensive tasks during peak productivity times. Finally, schedule in brief spurts of exercise to help clear your mind.
These tips will help you get more done each and every day. Hope that answers your question.
What are your tips for planning and getting more done in a day?
Note from Alice about More Useful Related Contentrix Resources:
- Pomodoro & GTD Systems: An interesting overview from Derek about two helpful productivity systems.
- Prioritizing Your Content Marketing: Many of us have our priorities out of whack when it comes to building a profitable business through content.
- Setting a Personal Schedule: Some more tips from Derek to get you working productively.
- Doing Less for Better Profit: It’s true…you can do less work and more money.