“The average person looks at his or her phone 46 times every day,” according to Time. Total across all Americans, we all collectively check our phones “upwards of 8 billion times per day”. As Americans, we’re constantly connected and often doing multiple things at once. Add in that PPC and digital marketing is an ever-changing, fast-paced industry and I’d bet we could all take some steps to increase our productivity and better manage our time.
Below are a couple of suggestions I have for how to soar at time management and productivity, as well as some tips for managing work-life balance.
Time Tracking Tools
For the same reason that you’re reading this post, time tracking tools have been popping up left and right. From Toggl to Timecamp, there’s a lot of options out there. When looking for a tracking tool, there’s a lot to consider. Here are a few things to consider when looking for time management tools:
- Are you looking for a team-wide tool or a personal tool for freelance?
- How much are you willing to spend?
- Do you want app-capabilities or is a desktop version just as good?
- Do you need it to integrate with other business tools?
I have been using a time tracking tool since the beginning of 2016 and I really like it. It keeps me focused on what I’m doing and allows me to look back at my week with a sense of accomplishment. As all PPC pros know, your best laid plans can often get interrupted, so sometimes I have had to go back and adjust my tracking at the end of the day. I have found it’s easiest to reflect on what I did at the end of each day instead at the end of the week when tasks and calls have started to blur together.
Here’s a great list of several time tracking tools for both freelance and teams – it includes screenshots and pros/cons of each tool.
Even when I’m tracking my time with a time management tool, I still like to set old-fashioned alarms and alerts. (If you have a fitness tracker, many of them allow you to set silent alarms that can also work well). Some suggest avoiding timers and alarms on your smartphone, due to the temptation to check apps, text messages, voicemails, etc.
When carrying out tasks like client audits, it’s easy to fall down a blackhole and suddenly 2 hours of your time is gone. By setting an alarm, you’re able to remind yourself of how long you’ve been working and judge if it’s time to move on to the next task on your to-do list.
Be Active During Lunch & Breaks
It can be hard to find a time for a break when you’re knee-deep in multiple projects, but studies have shown that there’s multiple benefits to physical activity including improved concentration, better memory, quick learning and lower stress levels. I’d say those are a great reason to take a lunch time stroll, stretch once an hour or take quick morning jog before your begin your day.
Not sure what you can do when you’re trapped in an office? This post about workday workouts has you covered and if you don’t want to look silly in front of coworkers, Hubspot has you covered there, too. By adding in some light activity to your day, even a few times a week, I’d say you’ll only see good things come out of it in the long run.
Switch Up Your Work Station
Sometimes switching up your work environment can be just what you needed to finish a difficult project or get rid of a case of writer’s block! Especially when it comes to creativity, I have found that checking out my local coffee shop can be great for my creative juices.
In addition, I have found that when I’m becoming less productive, standing up at my standing desk can help boost my focus and productivity. There can be a lot of health benefits to breaking up your day with some standing, but like most things, moderation is key because there can be some drawbacks to standing desks, as well. I personally have a convertible standing desk that allows me to sit or stand, which I find to be really useful because I’m not committed to sitting or standing all day long.
If you’re interested in finding a standing desk or repurposing something you already have into a standing desk, here’s an article I found when I was interested in a standing desk.
If You Work From Home, Repurpose Gas Dollars
Many PPC pros work from home a couple of days a week, if not all of the time. Since you aren’t spending money on gas, lunch, and happy hours during those days (or at least not as much as when you work in an office), I would recommend repurposing those dollars in your pocket into a hobby. Gym memberships, cake decorating classes or joining a recreational sports team would be great ways to put those extra dollars to work, while staying healthy and helping to improve your work-life balance. If you’re frequently a remote worker, these additional activities can also give you an additional social outlet.
If you want some more tips on working from home, check out this recent post from our friends at PPC Hero for some more suggestions.
According to a 2015 survey by Glassdoor, digital marketing has multiple positions that have some of the best work-life balance out there, so make sure you’re doing your part to manage your time efficiently and have a great work-life balance.