As a writer or social media manager, you are responsible for delivering high-quality content, often on tight deadlines. But as a creative person, it can sometimes be difficult to “force” creativity when you’re not feelin’ it… but you still have to deliver.
As someone who has been doing this type of work since 2015, I’ve come up with some tips and tricks that help me stay productive.
Last year’s time management article was one of my most-loved, so let’s build on that with my top five productivity tips!
Tip #1: Plan Ahead
Planning is critical in the work that we do. Depending on your employer or client’s niche, it’s important to research themes and topics that will resonate the most with the target audience and deliver the best possible organizational results.
For example, is there a busier time of year or season? Will there be product or service launches in the near future? Are certain holidays going to be important for the organization?
With this information in hand, you can dedicate the time necessary to create engaging content or marketing campaigns during those specific times of the year.
For instance, if it’s a holiday season and your client sells decorative items, you can highlight some of your client’s best and most popular products with videos, social media posts, success stories, and more. All of that content takes pre-planning; it’s stressful to try to execute on the fly.
If you’re juggling multiple clients or projects, pre-planning also helps save your sanity.
Tip #2: Batch Your Work & Delegate
Be smart and savvy with your time and tasks. I will often set aside days or times of day for certain clients or projects. I’ve even begun outsourcing the work I don’t enjoy as much, such as research, compiling stock photos, and administrative work.
Here’s an example of batching your work:
Mondays – Take most of your meetings.
Tuesdays – Write social media posts.
Wednesdays – Write blog posts.
Thursdays – Research and engage in ongoing learning.
Fridays – Administrative tasks and project planning for next week.
^ Honestly? My days aren’t this clear-cut! What’s more typical, in my world, is setting aside 2-4 hour blocks of time for batching my work. Do what works best for you.
A smart and successful content writer knows that their career will only be sustainable if it supports their lifestyle, so make sure your batched work (and delegated tasks) prioritize your own health and wellbeing.
That’s why I want you to make sure that you also put time into your schedule to recharge, enjoy hobbies, eat, work out, and rest. We are all more productive when we have this time off so our creative energy can rest and recharge.
Tip #3: Find Your Productivity Sweet Spot
Learn what times of the day, week, or month you are the most (and least) productive, and maximize those time periods.
Are you more productive in certain times of the day, such as the early morning when it’s quiet and nobody’s around to distract you? Make plans to grab a cup of coffee at your local coffee shop (or make some at home if you’re a work-from-home lover, like me!) and settle in with your work during your optimal time.
I find that I often hit a creative lull in the early afternoon. That’s when I’ll take a step back from my computer to eat lunch, walk my dog, and sometimes run errands. Logging back on in the evenings isn’t always optimal for work-life balance – but I can’t help it if I’m sometimes my most creative at 9 p.m.!
Hitting productive days of the week can also be important. I find that I’m often burned out on meetings by the end of the week, so I do my best to never have meetings on Fridays.
Respect your own energy levels and plan your meetings and work time accordingly.
Tip #4: Utilize Proven Strategies such as the Pomodoro
Have you heard of the Pomodoro? Here’s a website that provides a great explanation.
Essentially, because the human attention span is short, we’re naturally inclined to get distracted during our workdays. But when we really need to get work done, working in small chunks of time and taking regular breaks helps us be more productive rather than trying to get everything done at once.
The typical Pomodoro – and the one I use the most often – consists of 25-minute working sessions with 5-minute breaks. Repeat as needed, such as taking four Pomodoros and then a longer break, and see what works.
To stay on track with your time, you can also use a time tracker or an app like Focus To-Do or Forest.
You can also set up your environment for success, such as listening to certain types of music when you really need to focus. I enjoy instrumental and classical music (no lyrics or I’ll start jamming!) when I’m in a deep work session.
Tip #5: Find a Team to Motivate You
When you’re feeling unmotivated or tired, it can be easy to get into a creative slump or hit the dreaded writer’s block (here are five ways I overcome writer’s block, btw!).
It really helps to be connected with others who do the same work that you do. Join supportive Facebook groups or hop on a Zoom with someone you know well. You may not be doing the exact same work, but you can definitely work together.
You could also meet up at a local coffee shop or online to do some co-working! You’ll keep one another accountable and you’ll feel more motivated to complete your creative tasks.
I’ll leave you with one more resource: The Goaldigger Podcast is one of my favorite podcasts, and this recent episode dug into productivity tips from a variety of work-from-home women. I found a lot of great nuggets throughout the episode that are worth trying out – so if none of mine resonated and you’re still looking for more, I encourage you to check it out.
Did you find any of these tips helpful? Find me on LinkedIn and let me know!