We’ve all experienced the feeling of being pulled in every direction and accomplishing what feels like zero. Being stuck in that place isn’t just uncreative and uninspiring, it’s purely reactive and incessantly exhausting. If you’re switching tasks faster than switching off the light at night, it’s time to clean up your schedule and start compartmentalising.
One way to get out of this frustrating place is by dropping the tasks that aren’t crucial and prioritising the rest. Maybe it’s stepping away from a partnership that isn’t serving your core market. Or taking the focus off PR while you put essential building blocks in place (like a strategy around engaging followers).
The second is outsourcing and automating so you can focus on creating the exceptional brand you set out to create. Consider tasks that repeatedly take up the most time, then figure out if you can outsource or automate them.
In a saturated market, every moment spent on tasks that aren’t serving your niche or developing your brand is revenue lost. From batch tasks to de-cluttering your inbox, these automation tips can free up time – and focus!
Categorise and batch tasks
It takes less than two minutes to lose sight of a task when you have a million things on your plate, and a lot longer to reclaim focus when you switch from job to job. The premise of batching tasks is blocking out time for things where you need similar focus – whether it’s blog writing, strategy or design. Batch work lets you turn off distractions, create flow and complete tasks faster.
Tame your inbox
Don’t sweat time crafting the perfect spiel time and time again. Canned responses are pre-written emails you can store in Gmail or Outlook and pull out whenever you need a sharp response, fast. They’re especially useful if you answer similar questions continually. Just whip out the canned response, customise to the recipient, and send. Email scheduling is equally convenient if you batch work. It doesn’t just stop you breaking focus later, you can also schedule responses when your audience is most likely to read them. Gmail plugin Boomerang lets you pause incoming emails until you are ready. In-built AI is an added extra that lets you craft stronger emails by predicting the likeliness of receiving a response. Another upside is letting a client think you are up working at 5am, when really you have scheduled!
Automate email marketing
How do you communicate to a follower or customer whenever they opt-in or make a purchase? Automated email marketing isn’t just vital to nurture every step of the customer experience. It’s essential to growing your email list, which can be the single largest revenue source in business. There are many email marketing platforms like Mailchimp, which let you start for free. Platforms like Infusionsoft are more complex. These allow you to segment lists and see what topics subscribers are clicking. This enables you to serve up the most effective customised content when you are ready to scale up.
Schedule your social media
Instead of continually jumping into every place you post, schedule social media in a platform like Buffer, Social Sprout or Later. These come full of added features like finding and reposting user generated content, creating a shoppable feed and seeing what works via analytics. It’ll stop you getting caught in the scroll too.
For some more time saving tools for content marketing tasks, read: 10 Free Marketing Tools Small Business Owners Can Use
Automate some personal tasks
While automation often makes us think of marketing funnels, you can also use it to save time on sending things like birthdays vouchers or advice at certain times of the year. These small gestures can have a real impact, and they are easy to schedule.
And why stop at work? A few things we love to automate in our personal lives are fresh produce (find a local supplier who drops straight to your door), lunch (UberEats or Deliveroo) and subscription boxes (there’s one for almost anything, from makeup to clothing). So come the weekend you can skip finding a car park and waiting in queues to maximise your downtime!