We’ve seen the statistics, we’ve studied the infographics, and read the stories that make us sweat. There’s no question Modern Marketers are overworked, overloaded, and overwhelmed. So how do you maximize your productivity in order to focus on what really matters? How do you navigate your daily workload efficiently to once again find the joy in the work that you love?
We curated industry research and came up with six tips that will help you organize your day and allow you the freedom to be as productive as possible AND take a deep breath once in a while.
6 Pro Tips to Keeping Sane and Maximizing Productivity
1. Plan your day before it begins
Organize your day before it officially begins. That way, the morning doesn’t start off as a scramble from the minute you walk in the door and remain that way until you leave to go home.
While you are in the shower or on your commute, start thinking about everything you have to accomplish that day. Organize a mental list and write it down first thing after arriving at work.
Document your to-do list using your favorite tool—Zapier offers a comprehensive list of to-do apps based on the functionality you’re looking for—and make it a habit to return to it throughout the day. Physically writing down your tasks and crossing out your accomplishments will create a sense of reward and encourage you to continue.
Prioritize your most important tasks based on your individual and team deadlines, then tackle the hardest ones first. Since your day is only just beginning, you will have more energy and the potential to be more efficient than if you were to wait until later in your day.
2. Work on improving your focus
Improving your focus is a fundamental component to tackle if you want to enhance your productivity. The more focused you are on each task, the more efficiently you will accomplish your goals.
There are a lot of marketing tools that can help improve your productivity. But, it’s easy to get lost in the swirl of using a tool for the sake of using a tool, and unintentionally decrease your productivity by using too many. Limit yourself to using the few tools that work for you—and make sure they perform different functions.
Turn off your instant email or chat notifications and, instead, establish a specific time during your day to dedicate to email. Whether it’s five minutes at the end of every hour, or twice per day for half an hour, commit that time to email and only email.
3. Avoid unnecessary interruptions
Forty-six percent of employees rarely, if ever, leave a meeting knowing what they’re supposed to do next, according to Wrike’s 2015 Work Management Survey. Clearly communicating with people up front can reduce miscommunication and prevent follow-up interruptions, allowing you to stay focused on one task for longer increments of time. Communicating with team members in person, instead of digitally, will help you resolve confusion, address concerns, and make plans in a more efficient and straightforward manner.
If you get too distracted while at your desk, perhaps you can find a day to work remotely or book time in a secluded room to make sure you are completely focused and not worried about any unnecessary interruptions.
Consider investing in a quality set of noise canceling headphones. Drowning out the natural ambience that fills the office will help you stay focused, and wearing noticeable headphones will send out a signal to everyone around you, that you are not to be disturbed.
4. Minimize meetings
You have a page full of daily tasks you need to accomplish. You have personal and team deadlines and would like to be home at a reasonable hour. So why are you spending all of your important time stuck in meetings that don’t require your attention?
Simple fix: Be intentional about how you schedule meetings. If you can get across the same information in a quick group huddle or a stand up meeting, do that instead. Consider investing in a chat tool like Slack to keep your team communicating efficiently outside of meetings. Average Slack users experience a 25 percent decrease in meeting volume.
Designate “no meeting” days. Without meetings on those days you can focus all your attention on conquering your individual to-do list.
Finally, do not be afraid to push back on meeting requests if the task doesn’t need immediate attention. Enter those tasks into your new to-do list app—see tip #1—and return to them once you complete high-priority items.
5. Take care of yourself
Feeling overwhelmed and overworked is not good for your health, and likewise, bad health makes you more susceptible to feelings of stress and being overwhelmed. It’s a vicious cycle that you can interrupt by simply taking care of you.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep. If you’re tired, it’s much harder to stay focused throughout the day. Getting a solid amount of healthy sleep is an essential habit to adopt. Insomnia in the workforce leads to 11.3 days of lost productivity each year, which correlates to an annual loss of $2,280 per worker, according to Harvard University research.
Make sure you’re giving yourself little breaks throughout the day. Even 10-minute breaks will give you time to prepare for your next task and give you a moment to catch your breath. The most productive 10 percent of employees are not putting in more hours than everyone else, according to statistics from productivity app DeskTime. Actually, they just better understand the effectiveness of taking breaks throughout the day.
Remember to exercise. Exercise is associated with enhancing our cognitive processing, helping us to focus, learn faster, and keep our memories sharper, according to a study from the National Institutes of Health. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to stay physically active when you are busy, but even just half an hour of exercise each day can get your blood circulating more efficiently to your brain, make you feel better, and help you remain confident in your ability to tackle the rest of your day.
6. Set yourself up for success
Seventy-seven percent of working adults admitted that clutter hindered their productivity, according to a 1,000-person survey conducted by OfficeMax. It’s worth spending a couple minutes at the end of your day cleaning up your workspace so it’s welcoming and organized for you when you arrive the next morning.
Sanity is Attainable
It can sometimes feel like a rare occasion when you’re able to leave at the end of the day having accomplished everything you set out to do that morning. Keeping these tips in mind when you start each day of work can improve your productivity, and hopefully, help you feel the satisfaction of a job well done at the end of your day.
Not every moment can be scheduled to perfection and there will always be unforeseen obstacles, but perhaps, with these tools, those obstacles will not seem quite so overwhelming. Bookmark this article so you’ll always have these productivity tips available for your reference.