3 Productivity Hacks (Plus a Sprinkle of Wisdom) For Marketers

Productivity hacks for marketers can mean the difference between loving your work and hating it. Trust me, I’ve been there.

As the VP of Account Management at Megawatt, my calendar is full. My days are jam-packed from client meetings to leadership huddles to 1:1 coaching, managing, and mentoring. 

Plus, work is, of course, just one part of my life. I’m also a mom to three busy little boys, ages five and under, each with their own interests, needs, and schedules. It can be a lot. Have you seen an overtired toddler try to have dinner at 6 p.m.? If you haven’t, picture Gremlins

Gremlins review – Spielbergian satire still has bite | Horror films | The  Guardian


My days are busy, but because I have spent time studying and testing time management approaches, I’ve found a few rules that help me hit deadlines, stay in control, and minimize most work stress.

Productivity Hacks for Marketers

Many of us marketers (and let’s be honest: workers in general) find ourselves with more on our plates than we know how to handle. We have to balance the strategic and planning-heavy sides of our jobs with the actual writing and editing. Then there’s the coaching, mentoring, professional development, and staying on top of trends and best practices. It can be a lot!

I’ve helped many coworkers overcome these challenges by implementing productivity strategies and “hacks” that help them stay focused on the right things at the right time. Here are my three simple productivity hacks for marketers. (Though I think they can work for anyone!)

1. Prioritize the glass balls

Do you ever find yourself at the end of the day looking at your to-do list and wondering why nothing got done, even though you started 100 different things? We all have competing priorities.

But real talk: If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. My advice? Create a process to help you prioritize faster. Doing so will help you tackle your to-do list more efficiently and in the right order. With clarity around prioritization, you can get the most important tasks done well and on time. (And let the plastic balls drop.)

(Source: Unsplash)

Here’s the process I follow when prioritizing my to-do list:

  • How do these tasks relate to my top priorities within my role?
  • When is the task due? 
  • Is it something I can complete on my own or do I need input from others? 
  • Is this a “light lift” or a “heavy lift”? Something that requires deep thought or something that can be done when I’m feeling less sharp?
  • Is this a task that will be best completed all at once? Or can I split it into chunks of time over a few days? 

The answers to these questions help me prioritize my to-do list and stay focused on the tasks that have more urgency and importance. 

2. Pick the right strategy for you

We’re all unique. Some of us are left-brained, others right-brained. Some of us are creatives and others are task masters. None of that is inherently good or bad, but it means each person must find a process that works for them to manage their time. Here are three options folks on our team use:

In-the-Box Thinking
At Megawatt, one colleague of mine time-boxes. She plans her day based on the amount of time she believes a task will take and blocks off her calendar with each task. This helps ensure she’s not interrupted during those times and the right things get done in the right order.

Tomato Timers

Another colleague uses the Pomodoro Technique approach. He uses Tomato Timer to track how long various tasks take. This approach not only ensures he’s taking appropriate breaks to deliver great content without burning out. It also helps him better understand how long various tasks actually take (and, therefore, how to time-box accurately, when needed). 

The Yogi Way

And since I’m a doer by nature, I lean toward the Zen To Done (ZTD) approach from Zen Habits, specifically around planning, doing, and routine. I’m a creature of habit, so I structure my days similarly whenever I can. This helps me feel more in control of my to-do list and stay focused on the task at hand. 

Not sure if any of these approaches are for you? Check out this great article from Trello that highlights seven different productivity methods. There’s something for every brain and work style!

3. Take more breaks

I’ve been known as the workhorse for my entire career (ok, my entire life). I’m reliable; I get things done. And I take pride in my work, so I put time and effort into everything I do. I’m obsessed with delivering great experiences and end products. I care deeply about coaching my team to help them achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves. 

But here’s something fundamental I’ve learned: You can only be the workhorse for so long. Just as important as the ability to prioritize your tasks is the wisdom to take breaks. Build in time to go for a walk every day. Take more vacations. Step away from the hectic schedules and the day-to-day routine to give your brain the chance to reset. 

I read a great quote once that I frequently remind myself of: “Schedule a break for yourself or your body will do it for you.” (Burnout is no joke, especially these days). 

Unsure how to recognize burnout in yourself or your team? Check out productivity software ActivTrak’s whitepaper on “The Manager’s Guide to Burnout.”

Ultimate Bonus Productivity Hack: A/B Test It

Ok, it’s not an actual A/B test, but hear me out. I already mentioned that no single time management or productivity method will work for everyone. It’s also true that what works for you today might not work tomorrow. What works in one work situation or for one type of task might not be effective in a different context. And your style or preferences might change over time. So it’s wise to be open to trying new strategies. 

One of my Megawatt team members and I frequently laugh about the reality that, as type A as we already are, we often try out new time management and productivity strategies to ensure we’re still being as efficient as possible. 

It might sound silly, but adjusting your mindset to see your schedule differently can help you think more creatively, structure your day more efficiently, and ensure you don’t find yourself in an endless cycle of same-old, same-old (Groundhog Day, anyone?) that in itself lead to burnout.

Balance Comes from the Top

At Megawatt, we encourage our team members to take vacations and mental health days whenever they need them. Our working hours are flexible. We offer half-day Fridays and a full week off for the whole company at the end of the year. (Read more about our culture and benefits here.) Our goal is to give people flexibility and autonomy to work the way that suits them best — whether that means time-blocking, taking the occasional call while dog-walking, or working from the beach. After all, we’re human first.

best practicescontent marketingproductivitywork-life balance

Meg Scarborough
Meg Scarborough

Meg Scarborough is the CEO and founder of Megawatt. She has been a B2B tech content strategist for over a decade and enjoys working with clients in the cybersecurity, AI, machine learning, IT, and Dev/DevOps spaces. In her spare time, you can find her testing new recipes or hanging out with her family and small menagerie of pets in Boston, MA.

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