A marketer's day is littered with distractions. In the fast-paced world of inbound marketing , we usually have a million different projects and campaigns either underway or in the works, which can often make it difficult to buckle down and focus on one thing. Not to mention the bajillion office distractions at any given moment. So....why not hack it ?!
You may be familiar with Lifehacker , a website that offers tips and tricks to help you get things done in your daily life. So what about some helpful marketing work hacks, or tricks you can use to save time, be more efficient, and improve your overall marketing productivity throughout the workday? Yesterday, the HubSpot marketing team got together for an offsite meeting, during which we ended up brainstorming and sharing some fantastic work hacks we use in our daily marketing lives. Hopefully, they can help you be more productive too!
General Working Hacks
1. Get a jumpstart on your day. Check email and news on your commute (unless of course, you're the one driving).
2. Keep ongoing and daily to-do lists on paper, and establish a self-reward system for completing a task (e.g. a check box).
3. Prioritize your daily tasks based on your team's deadlines and goals.
4. Set personal deadlines for projects.
5. When working collaboratively, set deadlines for others (e.g. due dates for blog post contributions, etc.).
6. Limit your interruptions (e.g. close your email, turn off your chat client, close your Facebook tab, avoid non-essential meetings).
7. Don’t be afraid to say no to requests (or say “not now,” and backlog it for later) if it’s not a good use of your or your team’s time.
8. Communicate with teammates in person. It can often save time and be more effective than communicating over email or via instant message.
9. Use two different computers (or just different browsers) to separate distracting things like email from what you're actively working on.
10. Stay sane! Take a break for five minutes every 60-90 minutes. Grab a snack from the kitchen or exercise your legs by wandering around the office.
11. Use a Google Doc to keep a list of all your personal/work passwords handy so you can access them quickly and easily.
12. Use an RSS reader to organize the websites/blogs/news sites you visit often.
13. Sign off from your instant messaging client. At the very least, make yourself invisible or mark yourself as 'busy' to prevent people from bothering you.
14. Wear headphones without listening to music.
15. Go for a walk or a run outside at some point during the day to take a break and recharge.
16. Pre-order your lunch so you don't waste time waiting in line.
17. Use non-work time to brainstorm (e.g. during a run or during a shower). Sometimes the best ideas come when you're not specifically focusing on them.
18. Work remotely , go home early, or book a secluded meeting room in your office when you really need to avoid distractions and get (stuff) done .
19. Set up self-reminder events on your calendar (or for others on your team) to remind yourself of upcoming deadlines.
20. Use your calendar to take helpful notes for meetings or events you book (e.g. include point people's contact info, detailed information, etc.).
21. Block off time on your calendar for travel or days you work remotely.
22. Schedule "fake" meetings. Block off large chunks of time throughout the week to give you uninterrupted work time.
23. Use Tungle.Me to manage calendar and meeting invitations from people outside your company who can't necessarily view your calendar. Tungle.Me syncs with your existing calendar.
24. Agree upon and plan ‘no meeting’ days with your team.
25. Always establish the purpose and create agendas for the meetings you organize to streamline productivity.
26. When planning meetings, only block the time you'll need . Sometimes a half hour can be sufficient enough.
27. At the meeting's end, make sure attendees are assigned action items to tackle afterward.
28. When attending others' meetings, brainstorm and prepare specific talking points so you don't forget what's on your mind.
29. Try to schedule your meetings in chunks . Back-to-back meetings will help keep you on schedule and won't break up other parts of your day.
30. Don’t keep email open all the time ; check it at certain designated times throughout the day, and limit the time you spend on each check-in.
31. Before you archive an email, reply to yourself using specific search terms in the body so you will easily be able to search for and find it in your inbox later.
32. Use your phone to send yourself emails with reminders , spontaneous ideas, etc. when you're away from your computer.
33. Add a "sent from my mobile device" signature in your smartphone's email applcation so email recipients know when you're on-the-go.
34. Adopt the " Inbox Zero " methodology, and treat your email like a to-do list .
35. Set up canned responses for frequently sent email responses to reduce time spent on repetition.
36. Use auto-archiving to keep your inbox from clogging up with useless email. Set up filters for email to automatically archive for such automated emails like social media notifications, others' out-of-office replies, etc.
37. Label email based on different categories of your responsibilities before you archive. This will help organize your communications and make searching easier.
38. Create inboxes for email from specific people on your team using labels and filters.
39. Try out Gmail's Send & Archive feature to save you an extra step.
40. Experiment with the Gmail extension Boomerang to schedule email to be sent later, and to return to your inbox the emails that you've sent that have not yet received a reply.
What other work hacks do you employ in your daily marketing lives? Share them in the comments and help out your fellow marketers!