6 Tips to Help Marketers Work Less and Get More Done

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

Gary Vaynerchuk definitely falls into the category of insanely busy people. He’s the co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, a bestselling author, a professional speaker, and an investor. And that’s just what he does between his TV appearances and TED Talks.

At a party at SXSW, I had the opportunity to chat with Vaynerchuk. One of my biggest questions for him was about how someone with his workload focuses his time.

“You have an incredibly busy schedule,” I said. “So how do you differentiate between busy work and productive work? Really, how do you determine what you should be focusing on to maximize your productivity each day?”

My question caught him off guard, and he didn’t know how to put it into words for a second. Then, he said he just knows. He’s now able to better determine what he should focus on because of his experience and intuition.

For people like Vaynerchuk, effective time management might be second nature. But for many marketers, it’s not.

Studies show that one in four marketing professionals work 10 or more hours a day on average. Personally, I expected this number to be higher. It’s tough to keep up with the fast-paced marketing world, and real-time marketing has made the field even more demanding than it used to be. Clearly, we’re struggling as an industry to find a good work-life balance.

A 10-hour workday does not have to be the norm for marketers. There’s a better way to get more done in a shorter amount of time. Here are six productivity tactics I use every day to work smarter, faster, and with fewer distractions.

1. Limit the Length of Meetings

Parkinson’s Law dictates that work expands to fit the time allotted to complete it. I like to keep meetings as short as possible and follow a clear agenda so I can spend more time working on important projects. The most productive meetings I have are only 15-30 minutes. Shorter meetings force everyone to be concise and to the point. 

2. Batch Your Email 

Quickly filter through your email a few times each day, and batch it for response. Flag emails that you know will take more time to respond to, and reply to those later that day or in the evening when you have more time. This keeps your mind — and your day — free from distractions.

3. Clear Your Mental Baggage

Mental baggage is very distracting and consists of all the stuff you know you need to get done. They sit in the back of your mind, and you can’t stop fretting about them. What helps me is tackling some of these items before I start a big project. Then I’m able to focus all my attention and creativity and get the project done more quickly.

4. Make Quicker Decisions

Don’t waste time overthinking small decisions. Most things are better done than perfect, and sometimes you just need to make a choice to keep things moving forward. By making faster decisions, you’ll finish more projects more quickly. 

5. Have a Clear Strategy for Your Day

Every morning, I make a to-do list that has only five items on it. These are the five highest-priority items that I absolutely must accomplish before I head home that night. Putting my tasks in perspective helps me strategize my day, make quicker decisions, and eliminate or postpone less important tasks.

6. Simplify Your Day With Digital Tools

There are plenty of great tools out there that you can use to simplify your day and be more effective at your job. I use Wunderlist to manage my general to-do list, Slack to communicate with my team more quickly, Buffer to streamline social media, and Tempo to organize my meetings and calls.

While there are certainly nuances to every busy marketer’s schedule, you don’t have to be Gary Vaynerchuk to manage your time effectively. Learning how to discern what your high-priority items are and eliminate the clutter to focus on those items will help you get more done and work fewer hours.

Brock Stechman is the co-founder of DivvyHQ, the simplest and most effective content planning and production workflow system available. Connect with him on Twitter.