Productivity Strategy

Learn How To Create Your Own Productivity Strategy

Articles on productivity are a dime a dozen, and the vast majority of them are worthless.

The sad truth is that there is a content war being waged online today with thousands of websites pumping out tons of low-grade, generic content that are mostly written by recent college grads with little to no experience on the given topic.

Why is this?  Content creation is expensive and laborious and younger people will work for basically free in exchange for the hopes of some exposure and maybe a full-time job one day.  The Huffington Post built a media empire without ever paying a single writer and thousands of other websites use the same model.

With that said, there are lots of high-quality blogs out there creating amazing content, they are just harder to find as the big media players tend to drown them out with endless amounts of generic content.

Anytime I see a productivity post telling me I have to do something specific in order to be productive, my eyes roll.  Everybody is different and everybody has a different way of being productive.  I can't tell you how you can be productive because what works for me might very well not work for you.

Being productive does not start with learning from others, it starts with learning about yourself and what will work best for you.  You have to figure out the best way to make yourself productive.  Your body and mind are your own and it works differently than anyone else.  Once you understand yourself and how you work the best, then you can go externally and start to see examples of how others like you are productive.

The productivity articles I like are the ones that discuss the things that work best for the author and they leave it up to the reader to decide if it would be helpful to them or not.  Kind of like how Bruce Lee created Jeet Kune Do, you have to look at a lot of different productivity styles and strategies, taking the best of each and creating your own system.

Everyone is different so when someone tells you this is the only way to do it, ignore them.  Take what is useful for you personally and disregard the rest.  You'll find that you will be disregarding the majority of content you read on productivity, but the small nuggets you do find will add up and become very useful for you.

So I am not going to tell you how to be productive, though I will share how I try to be productive and what works for me.  What I am going to do is give you some things to think about and then you can decide what type of productivity strategy will work best for you.

 

What times are you most productive?

Are you a morning or evening person?  Does it take you a few hours to get going or do you have lots of energy in the morning?  Your body has it's own internal rhythm, waking up naturally without an alarm clock is the most natural way to wake up, your body knows when it has had enough rest, whether that is 6 hours or 8 hours of sleep.  Some people only sleep a few hours at night but take a nap in the afternoon instead.  Everybody is different.

Find out what time of the day where you feel like you have the most energy and mental focus and use those periods for your most productive work.  For me, I am the most productive in the morning and then later in the evening, so I use those times to work on my important projects that require mental focus.  I leave the afternoons for email, phone calls, general planning and non-important tasks.

 

What kind of learner are you?

Are you a visual, kinesthetic or auditory learner?  Everybody learns differently, which is why the school system fails many children as it teaches everybody only one way.  Having an understanding of how you best digest information can help you learn and absorb material quicker.

Are you a visual learner where you need to see something visually before you can better understand it or are you an auditory learner, where hearing it helps you better comprehend the information?   This is why some people are more drawn to reading and watching a video as opposed to listening to podcasts or having a phone conversation with someone.  Others are kinesthetic learners where they need to physically do it before they can really understand it.

Sidebar: watch my favorite TED Talk on learning and creativity here.

Most people have a dominant way of learning, take some time to find out what learning styles work best for you.

Back in the day when I was studying for the captain's test for the NYC Fire Dept, I had to memorize about 2K pages of boring manuals and procedures.  This was not going to work for me as I'm more of an auditory learner so I transcribed every page onto audio cassettes (yes, it was a long time ago) and used that to pass the test.  I would never have passed if I only read the manuals, I needed to hear it in order to really understand the material.

 

How long can you focus?

All of us have different attention spans.  Our attention span is also influenced by the time or day, how tired we are and what we are working on.  We have limited mental focus so we need to understand how to use it wisely.  Understanding how long you can effectively work before needing a break is very important and can help you better organize your day to be the most productive.

For me, I find I can focus really well for about an hour before needing a break.  I have the most mental focus in the mornings and then later in the evening.   I will work on a project for an hour and then take a 10-15 minute break.  During that break, I might respond to email, take a short walk, grab a snack, or straighten out my office.  The break can be anything that works for you as long as it doesn't require mental focus as you need your brain to take a rest before starting again.  I personally like to take breaks where I have to get up and do something active, I get restless sitting or standing in front of a computer for long periods of time.

If you find times when you are feeling mentally stuck, try some of these tips to get unstuck.

 

How do you prepare for your day or week?

One thing I will say is that if you do not take the time to plan out your day or week, you will most likely waste a lot of time and mental energy trying to figure out what to do rather than getting stuff done each day.  Planning properly will definitely make you more productive with your time.

I take an hour during the weekend, usually Sunday evening, to plan out my week ahead.  I create a list of my most important projects as well as smaller items that need to be done during the week.  I then schedule out my days using one-hour chunks of time with breaks in between.  I usually plan out the first few days of the week and then plan out the rest of my days the night before.

I find that planning my days ahead of time allows me to jump right into work without having to think or expend mental energy trying to decide what to do.

 

Paper or Tech?

I own an online marketing company and spend pretty much all of my days on a computer.  Yet, paper and pen are how I have always planned out my days.  I've tried so many different productivity apps over the years but I always come back to my paper planner.  Jerry Seinfeld wrote every single episode longhand on a yellow legal pad, so going old school on paper does not mean you are any less productive.

My advice is to try out a bunch of different methods and see which ones work best for you.  Don't be swayed because someone else or a blog post told you that using a certain app is the best way to be productive, only you know what will work best for you.

Like I said, I've always used a paper planner and have a single app, Google Keep, for basic to-do list keeping and writing down ideas when I am out.

 

These are some of the things I do to make my week as productive as possible

  • I plan out my week and days beforehand so I don't waste time mental energy doing it every day
  • My most productive times are in the mornings and later in the evenings, I use these times for my most important projects
  • I can focus for about an hour before needing a break, so I work for an hour and then take a 10-15 minute break in between
  • I use a paper planner and keep it in front me during the day to keep me on track. Apps do not work for me and keeping my phone next to me all day is a distraction
  • I get restless sitting for long periods, so I do physical stuff during my breaks like take a walk, hit the heavy bag or clean my office so I can get up and move around

 

Create your own productivity strategy

Hopefully, this will give you some things to think about and help you create your own strategy for making your days the most productive as possible.  I don't read too many productivity blog posts anymore, especially from the bigger media outlets, as they are just rehashes of the same old stuff.  If you do want to read some quality stuff on productivity, check out Zen Habits and James Clear's blog.

 

Asian Man Small Business Chinatown Shop

The Small Business Toolbox #93

The Small Business Toolbox is your place to find free and low-cost software and services to help grow your business.

The resources I post are usually easy to use and will provide some value to your business. All of the tools are ones that I either currently use or have used in the past. I don't go into much detail here so I encourage you to take some time and explore each one to see if it will be of help to your business.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for tools, you can contact us here.

Crashplan – This service has been around a long time and is great for backing up your data.  They have a free plan that allows you to backup all of your computers to any computer or hard drive you own, even off-site.  Just install the software and it will automatically backup your computers at scheduled times.  They also have a few cloud backup options for a small monthly fee.

AppSumo – My favorite place to buy steeply discounted marketing, design, and business software.  Many offers are lifetime deals for less than $50 that normally cost almost that much per month.  They also have lots of free stuff that they give away on an ongoing basis.  Some of the deals they offer are amazing, I have purchased over 40+ deals over the past few years.

EpicBeat – Find trending content in different niches and by using keyword search. Also, find influencers in any category.  Great tool for doing research in your niche, finding out what is popular and who the main players are in your industry.  Free and paid options available with paid option offering a plugin for your WordPress website for super easy content curation.

Luck is the sense to recognize an opportunity and the

Review of Missinglettr Social Media Software

Missinglettr Review: Create Targeted & Automated Social Campaigns

I love social media.  No other marketing channel allows you to reach so many people with your content.  But it can also be a beast to try and manage several social media accounts, let alone use them effectively.

But, I also know that creating content is only a part of content marketing, promoting it effectively is just as important.

Using tools to help manage your social media accounts is a necessity, especially if you are using the platform for business.  We all know what a time suck social media can be, so when I find a good tool that saves me time and increases my productivity, I jump all over it.

I want to introduce you to a social media tool I started using, it's called MissingLettr.  Here we will review MissingLettr, going over what it is, what it's used for, and a walkthrough on how it works.

MissingLettr is a social media tool that lets you create targeted and automated social media campaigns for your content.  Now, you're probably thinking, I already have a tool that lets me schedule my content on social media.

But here is a big difference with MissingLettr.

They let you create a 12-month social media marketing campaign across several of your social media profiles for each individual blog post.  Yes, MissingLettr is much more granular than other social media tools.  You can take a great blog post of yours and create a 12-month social media campaign, then set it and forget it.  MissingLettr will then activate and run your 12-month campaign for that individual blog post.  I don't know of another social media tool that will let you create a drip marketing campaign like this for every one of your blogs posts, automatically.

The beauty of MissingLettr is that all you have to do is add you blog to their platform and they will automatically pull in your latest blog posts and have them ready for you to activate.

Wouldn't it be great to create an entire social media marketing plan for every one of your blog posts?  Even your Youtube videos, how cool is that?  Maybe you can write a guest post on another website, you can create a campaign for that too.

If you are a marketing agency or content marketer, a tool like this is like gold, it will make you look like a superstar in front of your client.  What other agency would create a year-long marketing plan for every single blog post?  You, that's who.

Social Platforms MissingLettr Supports

As of this writing, they currently support the following social media platforms but they say they are in the process of adding more

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Facebook

I spoke with Benjamin DellFounder & CEO, Missinglettr and he says that Pinterest is the next integration they are working on.  In addition, they are working on a custom campaign option where you’ll be able to tweak durations, frequencies, and auto-repeat rules

MissingLettr Pricing Plans

They currently have 3 different pricing options, Personal, Business, and a free plan to try it out.  MissingLettr has a  free plan that gives you 1 website to connect, 2 campaigns a month and 1 social media profile.  The free plan is enough to test it out and see if it's a good tool for you.

missinglettr pricing plans - personal business free plans

Here's how MissingLettr makes this so easy.

Here is your overview page when you log in.  It will show you what social media profiles you have connected, how many campaigns are active and how many you have pending for you to review and activate.

missinglettr overview page

MissingLettr automatically pulls in your latest blog posts.  You can also manually add any url you want to run a campaign for.  This is the Campaign page where you can view the content MissingLettr has ready for you to review and activate.  MissingLettr creates 9 different social media posts for you, automatically pulling quotes and creating images for each one of the 9 posts, so none of them are the same.

missinglettr campaign page

 

 

Once you choose the campaign you want to review, you will see the 9 social media posts that MissingLettr has automatically created for you. The first page is where you choose your hashtags. MinngingLettr creates some hashtags for you, but I found most of their suggestions are too general and I usually create my own hashtags.  Their hashtag tool also gives you an idea of how many times that hashtag is used on Twitter, which is cool.

missinglettr campaing review page select hashtags

Once MissingLetter creates the campaign for your blog post, you then have a chance to review each post and edit the text and images for each one before approving.  I added a blog post of mine on Facebook Ads, the screenshot below is that they came up with automatically for me.

missinglettr Campaign editor page

Some of the suggestions were good, others needed a quick edit.  For each post, MissingLettr gives you several options you can slide through for the text quotes as well as the images.  You also have the option of manually editing the text and uploading your own images.  I spent about 3 minutes fixing up a few of the posts for this campaign, below is what I ended up with minimal editing.

missinglettr campaign editor finished version

Once you are happy with the 9 posts, you then move to the last step where you finalize the campaign and select what day you want your 12-month campaign to start on for this post.

missinglettr campaign scheduler page

 

And that's it!

It took me a total of about 5 minutes to review and edit the social media posts and activate it.  Now I know that for the next 12 months, this piece of content will be promoted on social media, with each post being different from the others.  Now I can work on my next blog post to promote.

Check out MissingLettr Here

You can see how this tool can (and should) be a part of your regular content promotion workflow.  Aside from Buffer, my favorite social media tool, MissingLettr is now standard when it comes to promoting my content on social media.

Have questions about how I am using MissingLettr to promote my content as well as our clients?  You can contact me here with questions, and you can also visit MissingLettr to learn more and to sign up.  They are pretty open about what is on their roadmap, so check out their blog for updates.  If you are not sure, sign up for the free account so you can test it out and see how valuable a tool it is when it comes to promoting content on social media.

 

Disclaimer: I am a paying customer of MissingLettr, but I am also an affiliate.  This means I may get a small commission if you click on a link to visit MissingLettr.  My link will not cost you any more than if you went there directly.  Hopefully, you found this review valuable if you have any questions you can contact me here.