scheduled content

What does your schedule look like?

When you think about your schedule – how do you feel?

For many business owners, there’s an UGH feeling that comes up.

Whether it’s having too many things to do, feeling that time is being wasted, or not knowing how to fit everything into your day, there are so many ways that your schedule can feel out of control and not productive. And not being organized with your time will probably lead to decreased productivity, more stress, and less money (UGH).

So let’s talk about it. I’m going to share some tips and tricks that can help you feel a bit more in control of your schedule.

What do you need to get done?

First things first, you need to be clear on your priorities. Think about the tasks you perform regularly and how much time they should, and do, take. Start keeping a list if it doesn’t come to you easily, so you can see how much time you have to work with. For example, just because a large portion of your business needs to focus on client calls doesn’t mean that there isn’t also administration work or content creation that needs to be done.

By mapping out what tasks need to be on your schedule and how much time they need allotted to them, you’ll have a better sense of what to schedule in your week. It doesn’t need to be precise, just a general guesstimate is good to start (but go for specific if that’s easier for you!).

What are your main task categories and approximately what percentage of your time do you need to allocate to them?

What are your main task categories and approximately what percentage of your time do you need to allocate to them?

 

Take care of you

An unhappy you is likely an unproductive you.

Don’t forget to schedule things for yourself, whether it’s something like coffee with clients or friends, the gym, or even the little things like lunch and breaks.  Blocking time for this kind of thing keeps balance in your schedule and gives you a buffer of time to work with.

Take that information and use it to block certain times of the day during your work week. A basic schedule like the one below works fine, or you can schedule in blocks of 15 minutes. If you know that you have to do certain things – whether they take 5 or 45 minutes - dedicate time to it. Commit it to a time and lock it in.  Commit to going to the gym like you commit to a client call – because it’s important.

Having it in your schedule also takes away the guilt of doing something you feel like you shouldn’t be. If it’s in your schedule, it’s accounted for. If you decide to do it on the fly, you may feel like you’re shirking more important responsibilities.

Can you block off your week to make sure all the things that you HAVE to get done have a specific time and are prioritized?

Can you block off your week to make sure all the things that you HAVE to get done have a specific time and are prioritized?

Appointments that work for you

When it comes to filling in time that you have dedicated to appointments with clients, make suggestions based on your preferred availability instead of working solely around your clients’ schedules.

Maybe you decide Tuesdays are your days for client calls. Start with the 8 am slot, then then 10 am slot, then the 1 pm slot, etc. Once you fill a day of appointments, start another day. This is far more effective for you than a call at 10 on Monday, a call at 1 on Tuesday and a call at 3 on Friday. It means you can dedicate other days and times to focusing on other tasks – admin, writing, development, outreach, networking, etc.

While there are always exceptions, try to keep in control of your own schedule so you can work efficiently. Many of us hesitate to “boss people around” by suggesting a time to meet instead of working with their schedule, but valuing your time and being assertive about your needs will streamline your entire process and benefit the client in the long run.

Pick appointment days and appointment slots and give people times instead of letting them rule your schedule.

Pick appointment days and appointment slots and give people times instead of letting them rule your schedule.

Systems

This isn’t a natural one for me because I tend to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person but systems can REALLY help in so many ways. They help you know what to expect of yourself and they help other people know what to expect of you.

For those with multiple clients in particular, set up an operating system with each to determine how you will spend their allotted time. Include details about the nature and timing of the tasks to be done, their expectations, your expectations, and the amount of communication to occur between you. For example, let them know what time of day or week you will be working on things for them so they don’t think they always have access to you (I know of someone who would only answer emails one day a week for one kind of task. You were not to expect an answer from her on any other day of the week. It was simply the way she worked and people had to work with that).

Set expectations for turn around time. If someone takes four days to give you feedback on something when they were supposed to get back to you in two, the timelines are no longer the same and you shouldn’t be expected to work within them.

Work together so you are both on the same page about how the job is going to look from a time perspective, and be willing to bill for your time. It’s not worth it if you’re worn out and not making money!

What will you try first?

Remember that not all these tips work for everyone. Experiment with and adapt different techniques until you find something that works for you and your business. You and your clients will benefit from being more organized and efficient, and less stressed. Leave me a comment and tell me if you use any of these, or which you’ll try out first!

Content management tip: schedule!

One of the best ways to manage your online content is to create a lot of content at once and then schedule it out to last for awhile.  In today’s video we talk about why that’s a good idea, even though some disagree.  

Watch it and then leave a comment below letting us know if you schedule content, if you’ll try it now, or if you’ve had any issues with it!

 

 

To tweet or not to tweet during tragic breaking news

Last week, when news broke on social media channels about the Boston Marathon explosions, there was nearly immediate pressure for brands, businesses and individuals to cease all prescheduled content, though a quiet minority advocated business as usual. A number of different reasons were expressed for or against continuing business content. Most the views were pure black and white - either business as usual or pause all business promotion.

Tweeting through tragedy - perspectives

I prefer a moderate approach, but I’d like to offer a different perspective on each of the arguments I encountered.

1) Promotional content was seen by many as insensitive in light of the Boston Marathon news. Others felt that Twitter needed to be an open channel for communications; turn off all the promotional noise.

Twitter is always an open channel for communication. It’s also always a repository of noise. (Most) savvy users know how to control the volume through the use of hashtags, lists and unfollows.

2) Many felt that since tweets don’t stop when thousands are dying every day in civil wars across the world, then there is no reason for them to stop for Boston.

It’s true - the tweets don’t stop for so many other tragedies around the world every single day.

But isn’t it possible that the businesses geographically close to those tragedies ceased communications? Boston is close to home for those of us in North America and people travel from all over the world (thought primarily North America) to participate. I would not blame one single person in Europe, Asia, Australia and other places for continuing their day as usual.

3) Alongside pleas for sensitivity were complaints about those complaining about scheduled content.

I never know how to take tweets that are complaining about someone complaining, but in this case a friend made a good point. She stated categorically that they were annoying when she found it quite easy to ignore the scheduled content. (See? Savvy users get good at filtering, even on the fly.)

4) There were folks who felt there was no reason for any business or any individual to change social network activity, because life goes on.

Life does go on, but in the hours just after tragic news breaks, the openness of the audience has to be taken into consideration. From a purely selfish perspective of wanting their eyeballs on my content, are those hours the best time to continue with the status quo?

That answer might be very different depending on the locale of your audience. In the case of the Boston Marathon, many North Americans were riveted to the news for hours after it broke. 

5) You can’t spend all day watching the news. Distractions are healthy.

This is true, likely even more so when the enormity of the news is so hard to comprehend.

What’s the right answer?

All these concerns leave businesses with the dilemma of what to do. It also re-ignited the never-ending debate about scheduled posts. (This debate is exhausting…maybe we should just agree to disagree.) Those against scheduled content cited the Boston Marathon as a perfect example of why it’s a bad idea to schedule. Whether I put content in an editorial calendar or book it to go from Hootsuite, it’s still planning. There is no way to anticipate in either circumstance what could potentially happen in the world. If we worried about how every tweet was going to be perceived in light of the breaking news, we’d never tweet anything.

Whether you have scheduled posts or not, it’s possible to remain ignorant of the news even if you’re actively using a channel. Personally, I was monitoring a conference feed when the news broke. Had I not flipped over to Facebook, I wouldn’t have known and likely would have tweeted seemingly frivolous live content.

Large corporations have more resources than small businesses. They may schedule content, but there is greater capacity to monitor. Keeping tabs on breaking news is likely included in their monitoring practices (to some degree). This is rarely possible for small businesses. In light of this, there needs to be some understanding of the challenges of being a small biz in particular. However, let’s not crucify big businesses either. No business can have someone watching everything on social media 24/7/365. 

Listen and Act

The ultimate barometer for your choice is your audience:

  • Are they tweeting about the news constantly?
  • Do you see complaints about promotional content?
  • Have they specifically asked you to stop?

After considering all of those things, what does your gut tell you to do? Do that and you’ll make the right choice for your business.

What else do businesses need to factor in when deciding how to manage social media activity during breaking news? And how did you respond to the news out of Boston last week?