“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity;
From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein
Over the past few weeks I found myself thrown into two “emergency” projects which absolutely needed to get done. Unfortunately, they needed to get done on top of my regular duties of running social media accounts. These situations happen, and you can either get upset about it or get smart about it. It was time to find out how well our social media content machine performed under pressure. Here are some rules I followed to keep things running, I hope they will help you as well.
No goal left behind
After attention shifted to other projects, it was easy to lose focus on what’s important. Every morning I took 5-10 minutes to write down key goals relating to our social media accounts that needed to be done that day. I saved time and achieved laser-focus by having a clear-cut game plan ready to execute during the short window of available time.
3 goals To rid my mind of clutter, I would ask myself, “what are the three things I absolutely have to get done today in social media?” I knew that it was highly unlikely that in the middle of chaos I would suddenly ascend as an efficiency robot and crank out the 10 goals I was originally thinking of writing down. Keeping the number of goals low increased the probability that they would get done, and kept me focused on the big picture.
Specific and quantifiable -Having a vague goal is worse than having no goal. I use specific quantifiable goals to keep myself accountable and realistic on what I can accomplish during the day. Examples:
Write a blog // Write a 400 word blog on the topic of Facebook Ads by 3pm
Engage the social media community //Engage with at least 5 people through Twitter
Post awesome content //Post 3 articles on topics of retail marketing
Keep goals visible-I usually write out my goals by hand on a piece of paper and pin it to the wall where I can easily see them at all times. In the middle of big projects and tight deadlines, work areas tend to get cluttered, and time will be wasted having to go through all of the files just to find a piece of paper.
Heavy lifting first
A common practice in social media is to do most of the heavy lifting in the morning or beginning of the week and post supplemental materials afterwards. By using Tweet Deck (alternative HootSuite) and Buffer, I scheduled core updates throughout the day. A steady stream of pre-scheduled content saved me the time and the worry of having to search for content during the day. All I had to do was check for replies and post anything interesting I saw at a glance. Whether it’s scheduling posts or writing a blog, make sure to knock it out of the park early in the day so it doesn’t weigh on your mind while you’re dealing with your emergency projects.
A good thing to have at all times is an emergency bank of content to post. On top of Google alerts, I have bookmarks set up for each client with subfolders. One of the subfolders is titled “Quick Hits”, which contains 3 bloggers I know will have articles I look for and post frequently. Having 3-5 pieces of content to post can keep the heat off your back long enough to deal with the emergency. I keep unfinished blogs, links, pictures, and ideas in an “emergency” folder on my computer for the same reason. Starting an emergency bank when things are slow will pay huge dividends when things get hectic. Do it today.
In the face of adversity, it is important to stay calm and stick to your guns. Remember that your coworkers are some of the best resources so don’t be afraid to tag one of them and ask for help if possible. Emergency projects are challenging to deal with, but give an opportunity to innovate under pressure and fix the holes in your social media routine. This is what works for me. What helps you weather the storms that interrupt your daily routine?