Meet Fiddly and Niggly
There are those little jobs in everyone’s working week that are fiddly, niggly, time-consuming and don’t require any real thinking power. Things that pull you away from the bigger picture and break up your day into fractured little blocks. Before you know it, mid-afternoon is hovering at your shoulder and you don’t feel like you’ve completed any satisfying projects or made a strategic impact. The time bandits have been on the attack again.
For me, those time bandits used to be things like regular social media posts, which can kill your productivity; email and telephone follow-ups to people who had downloaded content or clicked on links in newsletters; and time spent repurposing blog posts and creating short-form content.
The Distractions of Social Media and How To Sidestep Them
On the whole, social media can be time-consuming and distracting. Content curation can be a chore, and hitting the phones can sometimes be daunting, frustrating or just lacking a razor-sharp focus. But all these activities can make some incremental difference to your business and need to be carried out.
It has been said before, but to use time more effectively in the future it’s worth spending a block of a few hours now to get something sorted out properly for the long run. This can either mean putting in a bit of up-front effort to automate a task or getting yourself into batch processing mode.
Social media, for example, can be automated by setting up a tweet recycler using Statusbrew or similar.
Enter The Statusbrewer
I use the free version of Statusbrew to auto-post evergreen content on Twitter, at least once each day. I have around 30 tweets set up, so that it doesn’t get too samey, and the content only repeats every month and no sooner. On top of that, I tweet relevant timely information, as and when I choose to. The great thing about using this combined approach is there is regular social content coming through from me, so I don’t need to keep on top of my own posts every single day, and can comment on others’ news instead.
Use Batch Processing
I use batch processing quite a lot too. One good example is my regular Friday songs, under my stage name of Kurt Faraday. Every Friday I learn, sing and play a new song. The problem is that I need to set up my tripods, cameras and lighting rig every Friday, and this takes time. So I’ve taken to blasting through three or four songs in a session and then releasing them on a weekly basis, freeing up my time to focus on other things.
I batch process articles for some of my blog sites as well (www.sciencecavern.com and www.hackthegym.com to name just two of them). Sitting down for a half day, early in the morning when my brain is still fresh, and powering through a handful of articles is not only a time-efficient way of driving new content, it also strengthens my creative muscles, making me a better writer in the process.
Mechanise or Socialise?
Automating the small stuff and getting good at the process tasks makes me more efficient and allows me to spend more time focusing on the bigger picture and getting my strategy in place.
Use automation, use batch processing, but never forget to retain the human element. Stand on the shoulders of robots when you need to, but make sure you’re still smiling and waving like a human being.