There are only so many hours in a day, but it’s always possible to wring more efficiency out of your daily duties.
Some slice their days into timed increments. Others shut off email or delete distracting apps—or they spend $25,000 to meticulously construct a realistic mermaid tail.
Successful people tend to “relentlessly prioritize” each day’s most pressing matters, but it still comes down to the business of getting things done in a timely manner. How do you cram more in without working Elon Musk-esque 100-hour weeks?
Here are four easy ways communicators can become more efficient, productive and prolific:
1. Edit thoroughly the first time around. Hold on; editing adds time, right?
Submitting your work and words to a rigorous review process does take time. However, better to expend more effort at the front end than to suffer blowback because of a costly typo or unfortunate juxtaposition.
Posting something rude, insensitive, messy, incorrect, misleading or simply ambiguous often requires backpedaling, clarification or explanation. All that eats up hours. Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us.
Clarification: This change applies to these specific terms. We aren’t removing hyphens from all terms. Effective today, we are changing our style to remove the hyphen from: breastfeed, breastfeeding, breastfed
— AP Stylebook (@APStylebook) March 6, 2018
Taking more time before hitting publish is the best way to save time later.
2. Automate those tweets. Social media can be a productivity shredder. How often do we get sucked into a thread or embroiled in inane online conversations?
Use a tool that can help you automate and schedule your posting on various platforms. Instead of sporadically posting whenever the mood strikes, block off time each morning to load your links for the day.
Automating and scheduling your social media content saves times, builds discipline, ensures consistency and keeps the trains running on time. It’s also a solid start toward spending less time on those platforms that waste our time, make us feel bad and cause serious mental health issues.
3. Even better, delegate those tweets to Pete. Communicators—especially of the internal variety—can be quite territorial. Internal communication overlaps with a multitude of departments, and the function is often tucked into another, larger team. Tepid support and tenuous positioning lead to inevitable corporate turf battles, which can cause communicators to clutch projects that may or may not be worthwhile.
No one wants to become redundant or appear to be un-busy, of course, but a productive plate is more useful than a full one.
Are there any balls you can pass to teammates? Are there any duties, projects or pieces that might be better suited for Tom or Tammy? Do you have any initiatives you can kick over to the marketing department?
Make a list of all the things you do, and circle every item you’d like to get off your plate. Try to shed stuff that stunts your productivity. Delegate what drains you and diminishes your efficiency.
Successful communicators should have enough confidence to become delegation sensations. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign a wisdom and strength.
4. Best of all, scuttle nonsense projects. Do you produce any content that no one cares about? Here’s a freeing tip: Stop.
Of course, it pays to be patient and persistent, but have the courage to put the kibosh on consistent underperformers. Try something else, or pour your energy into what your team excels at.
Perhaps it’s time to finally put that boring newsletter out of its misery, or maybe your attempts to engage colleagues with corporate trivia have fallen flat. Whatever it is, know when it’s time to pull the plug.
Nothing frees up time and sparks productivity like retiring burdensome projects that yield no tangible benefit. That’s one of the most efficient ways for communicators to spring forward.