Time Management in the Digital AgeI recently attended a time management workshop at wework Dubnov, run by Assaf Chalif of Synergy Coaching, and one of the first things he said was, “There is no such thing as time management. There is only behavior management.” What he meant by that is that there are only 24 hours in a day no matter what you do, so the only way to save time is by changing the way you spend it. He mentioned the usual stumbling blocks of the twenty-first century, such as cell phones, email and Facebook which can really cut into productivity. His advice? Devote specific times to answering emails, making and receiving calls and hanging out on Facebook. For the rest of the time, turn them off.

Another drain on productivity is the non-existent multi-tasking. Humans can’t do two important tasks at once and we are slowed down considerably when we try to. What we really do is switch-task and each switch requires us to refocus on the new task, which takes an average of 12 minutes! On a practical level, that means that we should allot big slots of times to each task, instead of switching back and forth more frequently. As an alternative to spending 12 minutes being frustrated at our lack of focus, we can use that time to answer a quick email or browse our Facebook feeds.

How much time should we spend on important tasks? How many interruptions should we allow? What types of interruptions are OK and which are not? Assaf was very clear: it’s up to you. You need to decide what works for you. Some businesses require more immediate answers to emails and others allow you to go longer before writing back. Phone calls may be extremely crucial or not important at all. Test what works for you and your workflow. Make the rules and then stick with them. If you find it hard to ignore your phone ringing at a time you decided not to answer it, turn off the ringer and put the phone in a drawer. Once you have made a decision, take the choice to do something else out of your hands.

How do these principles apply for digital marketing and specifically for social media management? On the one hand, social media is built on the premise that we are all hooked up to our social networks at all times and that brands are present always. On the other hand, social media scheduling apps and notifications exist for a reason. Instead of a Facebook post here and a tweet there, be more efficient by scheduling the week’s posts in advance. Set specific times for checking for and responding to comments. Then use listening tools to pinpoint feedback which needs immediate attention.

Setting up a system and committing to it allows us to be more efficient and save time even if there are still only 24 hours in a day!

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