I’ve been struck recently by the similarities between physical fitness and productivity. When you think about it, just about everybody would like to be a little bit more productive, and/or a little bit more fit.
Both require long term commitment, but people all over the internet want to sell you on a shortcut.
Fitness and productivity are both prone to yo-yoing, being super strict with ourselves for a short time and then falling off the wagon, only to find that we’re worse off than when we started.
For marketers, systems to protect our productivity (or at least maintain a baseline level of efficiency) may be the only thing between us and a 90-hour work week.
So what does a “productive” marketer look like?
We scoured the internet to find the common threads in all the advice out there, so you can pick the habits designed to stick instead of falling victim to yo-yo productivity.
Productive Marketers are Masters of Managing Meetings
A shockingly high number of meetings are straight up unnecessary, and the ones that we do need to have could be cut in half, according to Val Wright on Inc.com:
Half of all meetings are not needed. Those meetings that are needed require only half the attendees. The meetings that take place with half the people could be completed in at least half the time.
Don’t schedule a meeting when a quick chat could solve a problem. Be selective about the meetings you agree to attend (because nobody is going to turn them down for you). And, when you find yourself trapped in the Meeting That Just Won’t End, don’t be too proud to excuse yourself.
After all, if you don’t protect your time, who will?
For more on becoming a meeting master, try these resources:
- How to Reduce Your Meeting Time by 75% Now
- Psychology Today’s take on Why Meetings Kill Productivity and how to make them better
- Advice from the Harvard Business Review on How to Break Your Addiction to Meetings
Productive Marketers Customize Their Daily Routines
People who show up and get stuff done have a plan for their day. They don’t just waltz into the building and let things happen willy nilly.
Through self awareness and a solid understanding of how our brains and bodies cycle through the day, they’ve identified when they’re best at certain tasks. And you can bet they commit to getting the right things done at the right time.
For example, creativity peaks during morning hours, so if you’re one of the many marketers whose job involves writing, design, or any sort of clever thinking, don’t put it off till the afternoon.
Putting your ideal routine on paper (or in a shared company calendar) can help you stick to it, as can conducting an end of day review each evening before you head home.
For more on finding the right rhythm for your day, check these out:
- Lifehacker article on how to Stop Working and Go Home at Night
- Science-backed productivity tips from the folks at Buffer
- Suggestions for the ideal time of day to perform common tasks
Productive Marketers Aren’t Email Slaves
I’m going to throw out some stats now courtesy of The Atlantic, which are both depressing and unsurprising:
- People check their email 77 times per day on average (the high end was 373 times per day).
- More time spent on email leads to lower self-assessments of personal productivity.
- More time spent on email produces poorer moods at the end of the day.
Most adults have been utterly consumed by the avalanche of email that buries us each day, which means that if you can dig your way out (and stay unburied), you can make a huge dent in your personal productivity goals.
Nobody is saying it’s going to be easy, but everybody is saying it’s going to be worth it.
Without further ado, start breaking your email addiction now:
- The Zen Master’s Guide to Email Productivity
- 11 Simple Tips to Effective Email Management from Lifehacker
- Entrepreneur’s suggestions for 5 Ways to Stop Wasting Time and Start Increasing Productivity on Email
Of course, these are just an ice cube on the tip of the massive iceberg. One simple Google search for “email productivity” will reveal enough ideas to encourage even the most hopeless email addict.
Productive Marketers Make Productivity a Habit
Common wisdom states that it takes 90 days of repetition to create a new habit, a behavior that is hard-wired into your brain so that you perform it without conscious thought. That means any tools or tricks you try to improve your productivity can’t be a one-time test.
Without committing to change for a decent period of time, you can’t know for sure if your tweak was worth it.
This can sound daunting when you’ve got a lot of unproductive habits to tackle. But, like long-time overeaters who end up running marathons, even the most frazzled marketer can turn things around given enough time and commitment.
If you’re looking for encouragement and motivation for the long haul of productivity, try some of these:
- 7 Long-term Productivity Habits of the Most Successful People from FastCompany
- NPR study on How Habits Form, and How to Break Them
- Increasing motivation by moving away from long-term goals, via Inc.com
Productivity Unlocks Limitless Opportunities
Charles Duhigg, author of the amazing book Smarter, Faster, Better, said during a podcast interview:
Productive people govern their own minds in a way most of us don’t. They see these choices that most of us don’t even know are there. They get more done with less stress and waste.
If you can hone in on your productive mechanisms, the short-term versus long-term debate becomes irrelevant. You can start getting more done without even trying, and keep doing it far into the future.
Other Articles You Might Be Interested In:
- Agile Marketing Agile Content Creation Tips for Consistent Production
- Skills Marketing Lifehack #3: Boost Your Morning Productivity
- Infographics The Ultimate Marketer’s Guide to Productivity Part 2: Multitasking and Meetings
- Plans Ultimate Marketer’s Guide to Productivity Part 1: Email and Scheduling
- Agile Marketing 3 Crucial Agile Marketing Skills You May Already Have
- Content Marketing 3 Essential Tools For Creating Marketing Images for Busy Beginners