Tools to Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder
Here are strategies to work smarter, not harder, using various tools to help manage and prioritize tasks. Using tools like to-do list apps, Microsoft To-Do, Trello, and Todoist, to organize tasks, and social media management tools, like Sprout Social, Buffer, and Hootsuite, to automate and pre-plan posts, thereby saving time and allowing focus on larger tasks.
By Cameron Katoozi, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing
Working at Heinz Marketing has been a blast. It’s almost been one full year here, and I have learned so much as I have adapted to a virtual work style. Over the last year of working remotely, I’ve had to make some major work and lifestyle changes that have helped me succeed and have led me to where I am now. But one motto I will always stand by that my first manager job told me is “Work Smarter, Not Harder”. I know it’s cliché, but keeping true to this has helped me be less stressed, work more efficiently, and prioritize my goals at work. I know I’m not the only one who has multiple reoccurring tasks that take time away from larger items. That’s why I’m going to share with you a couple of tools and how I use them to save me time and be more efficient.
The first thing I do every Monday morning when I start work is review my deliverables for the week. This includes reoccurring tasks and client-specific items. For me, this is as simple as writing down each task I have followed by due dates. This way, I can prioritize and tackle the most important items first. Once I have all my tasks laid out, I transfer them into Microsoft To-Do and attach the due dates. This way I receive daily notifications if I have something due and it shows up on my Outlook flagged items.
When writing your goals, make sure to be specific as possible. Instead of writing “build PowerPoint” say “build slide framework today” or “finish slides 5-10”. Being as specific as possible will help you down the road.
I’ve learned that simply planning my deliverables helps me visualize what my work week will look like. It helps me reduce the stress of trying to manage and remember several different tasks in my head and keeps my focus on one to two items at a time. Once you know your schedule you can block out time slots on your Outlook or Gmail calendar so your co-workers can see your availability for the week as well.
Here are some great to-do list tools that will help keep you organized:
- Microsoft To Do
- Todoist (check out the highlight of this tool from a previous App of the Week!)
Keeping up a consistent social media presence can be challenging. It requires weekly or daily posts at optimal times to reach people’s feeds when they are scrolling the most. Making content daily can be a struggle and it takes away time from larger tasks. So, what can you do to gain that valuable time back in your day? The first option is creating a strategy and pre-planning your posts.
If you’re finding yourself with no time or ideas at the end of the day to make a social media post, it’s probably better to not create one at all. It’s obvious when people make posts with minimal effort or relevance to their followers. Instead, think about creating posts a week or even a month in advance. This requires more work initially but saves hours per week. How do you know what to post for a whole month? To stay consistent you can build out social posts promoting your blog, or content resources that can be found on your website. Repurposing content can save time, help you spread awareness, and keep you consistent.
So now you’ve created posts well in advance, and you’re repurposing content – but what about the full implementation? This is where social media management tools come into play. Automate the whole process with tools like Sprout Social, Buffer, and more. You can schedule dates and times for each of your posts in advance and have them automatically post. Some tools also recommend optimal times per day for posting to get the most eyes on your post and increase click-throughs. Don’t waste your time posting on each platform (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) one by one. Instead, social media management tools will post on all channels simultaneously, saving you a lot of time.
I recommend having one or two scheduled posts per week that contain your repurposed content. This allows room for you to add your own organic posts throughout the week. This gives you a chance to be consistent with scheduled content while giving you room to create on-the-fly posts regarding current events. Consistency is key, but maintaining that human feeling is still important. Here are the top tools I recommend for your first time using a social media management platform:
Wrapping It Up
Whenever you find yourself inundated with time-consuming daily tasks, ask yourself these questions: “What can I do to narrow my focus?”, “Is there a way to automate this process?”, “How can I ease my workload?”. Expanding your martech stack with the right tools can help you save time, reduce stress, and be more efficient. Hopefully, these tools help you set your week off on the right foot by working smarter, and not harder.