Time Is Your Most Precious Commodity

The Passage of Time

Image by ToniVC via Flickr

They say misery loves company.  And there’s never a shortage of fellow time-strapped content marketers who are willing to commiserate with you about how little time they have to get everything done each day.

It’s one of the easiest conversations to strike up on social sites, Skype, or at meetups.  And when we find a fellow content publisher we glom onto each other like long lost friends for the opportunity to talk to someone who understands what we go through to practice our craft.

Check the list below and see if it seems familiar to you.

A day in the life of a content publisher:

  1. Wake up thinking about how to engage, entertain, or inform your market today.
  2. Sit down to check email, or feeds, or whatever tools you’ve pieced together to deliver you the latest news in your market.
  3. Search for a trend, a theme for the day, something interesting to publish that will be news to your readers.
  4. Gather your thoughts, come up with a post idea, and get to work.
  5. Publish, then get to work on syndication.
  6. Update your social networks.
  7. Reply to comments on-site and around your networks.
  8. Start thinking about the next post.
  9. Answer emails.
  10. Schedule interviews.
  11. Network and maybe get a guest post nailed down for this week.

There are countless little things that go with each of the above tasks.  And there are many more specific tasks individual content publishers undertake in a day.

So, if we find anything at all that has an inkling of a chance to save us time, we get pretty excited about it.  We content marketers also typically belong to scores of sites which promise to help us be more effective and efficient with our time.  The biggest promise of software is time savings.  The most popular software on the planet is always something that saves us time.

How to be a Time Bandit

  1. Check up on your processes regularly.  Are you using the latest technology, and using it properly, to save time and become as efficient a content publisher as possible?  Sometimes we stick to comfortable but outdated processes and tools that can be upgraded or replaced with something new and better.  Is Google Reader still the best way for you to track news?  Or should you incorporate a personal aggregation tool into the mix?
  2. Start following people who share the same burdens with you and watch for things they do/use to help them save time.  Or just ask them point blank what they do to be efficient.
  3. Fun and fulfillment.  Seek out ways to make content marketing more fun and satisfying.  This can actually be a time-saver because when you are excited about something, you can’t wait to get it “out there” for people to see and react.  It focuses you on the goal in front of you and often forces you into a mode of efficiency you’re not used to.  (Beware:  having too much fun can also stick you in a time-suck, as well!)
  4. Take breaks.  Workaholics are sometimes the least productive people, which is why they seem to have to work all the time.  Breaks can give you ideas, reset your focus, and make you more productive when you get back to your desk.  The workaholic sees this as time wasted.  But starting at your screen for 5 minutes in a zombie state is not getting much done, even though you’re still sitting at your desk!
  5. Ruthlessly throw out what’s not working.  New tools and shiny objects come into our lives daily that promise to help us save time.  Most of them don’t end up being used all that much after awhile.  But they linger in the back of your mind as things that need to be tended;.  Your guilt from not using something that you started using because it was supposed to save you time can make you “tend” to it and waste time.   If it doesn’t solve your time problem, get rid of it!

When you have a really good system for sourcing and publishing great content ideas, it is possible to get your job done in a lot less time.  This leaves more time for breaks and other important aspects of proper content marketing such as networking and working on a new product or longer-term goals.

Curation is a tool used mainly to 1)  save time, and 2) create even better, more engaging content for your readers at the same time.  Think about how you can curate to save your most precious commodity while giving your readers more of what they want.  It may seem like saving time and creating better, more engaging content would be at odds with each other.  Yet both outcomes are possible.

It’s time well spent to periodically reflect on the processes you use to do your job.  Often the biggest productivity gains are found by tweaking your process and keeping up on new tools to help you automate.

About Author: Peter Lenkefi