Online marketers have a lot of things they have to do to get their message out to their audience. Everything from researching and writing blog posts to tweeting and keeping social media updated. Add to that the constant SEO and campaign monitoring. Of course, there is still the client work. How do you stay on top of it all? The simple trick is lists.
Yes, lists. You might be using lists already‚Äö√Ñ√Æscratching to do items on a yellow pad or setting them up in Outlook. They probably aren’t working for you very well, though. The reason is that you are not using them correctly.
As a small business you have a lot going on all at once. You have you daily meetings, tasks and work. Then you have your strategic goals, both short-term and long-term. You should create corresponding lists for each of these and integrate those lists into your daily activities.
Start by thinking about what it is you have to do every day. This might include writing a blog post, tweeting, adding a Facebook update, and so on. Anything that takes more than 5 minutes should be added to your list. If it is something that must be done every day, add it to the list. This is your daily list. You know you have to do this no matter what, so you should tackle this list first.
Start with the easiest stuff first. There are couple reasons for this. First, because it’s simple you are not likely to try to put it off, so it will be easier to do. Second, by having accomplished something for the day you actually set yourself up to handle more challenging items successfully during the rest of the day. This will make it much easier to get through your list.
This is a list of items that needs to happen in the short term, say within the next month or so. Maybe you don’t need to do it today, but you need to do it eventually. This might be drafting a campaign plan, performing a project post-mortem, or some other such activity.
Review the items on the list and think about how you can break them down into smaller activities. If you are drafting a campaign plan, you might break down each of the tasks necessary to do it like gathering research information, analytics data, and so on. By breaking down this bigger list item into smaller list items you are able to tackle the item far more easily. You can do this over time by adding the smaller task items to your daily list.
This has the effect of making each item more manageable. You also break down the psychological barriers of tacking a large task and trying to put it off. You will also find that thinking about ways of breaking the larger tasks into smaller tasks that you’ll have a better understanding of what needs to be done overall, make it that much easier.
Long-term lists are much like the short-term lists, expect they have a much longer time span, say six month to a year. Again, consider the main items you have added to your list and then break each one down into its constituent parts to make them more manageable.
Here are few things you’ll want to do for each task (and sub-task).
- Include every task in your lists.
- Keep your lists together so you have access to everything and have a big picture view.
- Break your list items into manageable tasks to make them easier to tackle.
- Prioritize each item on your list.
- Always start your day off with the simplest or easiest daily list item first, then move on to the harder tasks.
- Focus on one list item at a time‚Äö√Ñ√Æmultitasking is a myth and it will ruin your productivity.
- Review and update your lists regularly.
Using lists will help you be far more productive and get things done. Make sure you give yourself time to get everything done. Breaking each list item down into the smallest, most easily accomplished task and starting with the simplest one first will make getting through your list much easier.