How long are you spending on digital marketing each week? You can guess or you can know.
This is part two in a series of podcasts and posts on getting ahead with your blog content. Last week I set the challenge. This week I’m measuring time.
How long do we actually spend on digital marketing?
People ask me this question all the time and I tend to fumble the answer. I don’t want to lie but I don’t actually have the statistics.
I think I spend a day a week on content but is that true? If I’m going to get ahead with my content I need to know the answer. I also want to know where on earth all that other time is getting spent.
Find out how I got on this week including my audio diary
Where I am now:
Last week my sister in law revealed that she thought I worked in my PJ’s. I was horrified. I’m 12 years into running my own business and I’d say I probably work in my PJ’s maybe four days a year, usually because I’m sick.
No, I like most workers have a daily routine.
I get up at 6am, I shower, dress, have breakfast, read the social media news and I’m sitting at my desk at 7.30am.
I take a lunch break and try and finish work by 7pm
The routine has been crucial for keeping me productive. If you don’t have a daily routine yet, implement one, it’s going to help your productivity no end.
When I started my first business I had a laptop sized space on a desk. Stuff, cluttery stuff (not mine) surrounded me. I’ve grown over time and now I have a room in my home. I have a big desk that is almost empty. I have space to think and work and more importantly, I can close the door at the end of the day and switch work off.
It’s good for my head and it’s great for my productivity. My office is where I go to work and that’s it. I installed a PlayStation here two years ago but I think I’ve only used it once since I did.
This isn’t a space for non-work related fun.
If you can’t find space in your home look for co-working space elsewhere. You’ll always be more productive if you have an allocated working area.
It’s so easy to skip lunch. I know office workers who sit at their desks for lunch but I try to get out of my four walls for at least 1/2 an hour a day. Going for a walk, getting a bit of shopping, even eating in a different room will reset my brain. I come up with some of my best ideas over lunch.
It’s easy to think you don’t have time for lunch or a break but your productivity will go up, you’ll procrastinate less if you switch off for even a short time during the working day. If you haven’t tried it yet give it a shot.
If I want to achieve my goal I need to write one blog post a day for the next 2 weeks.
A series like this is handy, I already made progress. I wrote a chunk of this the week before publication and I’m finishing it two days ahead. It’s not a lot but it’s better than my recent last minute rushing.
To see how I can find time in my week to write content I first need to find out how much time creation is already taking.
Enter, the time sheet
How long do tasks actually take?
It seems like this would be an easy question to answer but I know I’ve been getting it wrong. I plan my day every day, I allocate chunks of time to tasks yet I still seem to be behind schedule by lunchtime. The only way that you can actually know how long you are spending doing tasks is by timing them.
I created a timesheet to keep a record of the time spent. I have become a slave to the stopwatch on my phone that keeps a record of the time I’ve spent.
The timesheet I’ve created contains 5 Columns
- Task: The task at hand
- Allocated Time: How long I thought it would take
- Actual Time: How long it really took (timed using the stopwatch on my phone)
- Distractions: What got in the way of me doing it faster. Include procrastination, unexpected phone calls, interruptions from the cats here
- Category: At the end of the week I want to know how much time I spent on marketing, work prep, paid work, admin etc. So I’m giving each task a category.
There’s a section for additional tasks completed and how long they take. I added this because some days I’ll have a task from an email to complete that I hadn’t planned or I’d suddenly find some time to do an additional task, it all needs to be measured.
I create a new form every morning and pin it on my wall. The plan is to run this system for a working week so I can assess my time better.
The first issue that I encountered was that I was rushing. I saw the time as a challenge and was working really hard to get stuff done in that time. It’s great to be hyper-productive like that but just like a crash diet is unsustainable.
It’s not possible to keep going at that pace. It’s the tasks that I think about and spend time on that I do best. I had to take a step back.
The purpose of the timesheet wasn’t for me to work faster, at least not yet, it was to know how long tasks actually took.
Once I slowed down I settled into the system. I’m happy logging my time at a sustainable pace.
If you’re interested in hearing my blow by blow audio diary on working with the time sheet be sure to listen to the podcast above.
If you want to join the challenge download your timesheet here
What I’ve learned so far
It’s early days but I’ve already started being more efficient. When you are working against the clock you begin to understand how important that time is. I’ve created some checklists, the wall behind my desk is beginning to fill up with them. These ensure I don’t have to go back over and over again to edit something I haven’t completed properly.
Knowing exactly how long tasks are taking means I’m looking for ways to do the tasks more efficiently. I’d already implemented some systems in my routine tasks but I’m looking at adding more.
How far ahead am I after week one?
Let’s not take our eye off the ball. I’m trying to get a month ahead with content. Currently, I’m 1 day ahead. Not a great step forward but I know after I understand my time better and allocate it better I will get there. My goal for next week is to be three days ahead.
My next task is to map out my week realistically. Now I know how long things take I want to find regular timeslots for them in my working week. We’ll discuss that in next week’s episode.
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