Fighting to muster the motivation to work smarter, act faster, and play harder? These productivity habits will send you well on your way to becoming a more successful marketer.
If there’s one single characteristic of successful marketers is that they all have busy schedules. What separates them from the rest isn’t only the quality of the work they produce; it’s how they use their time. In other words, productivity is one of the critical processes behind their success.
In the past decade, productivity has become one of the most sought-after topics in the modern non-fiction genre. On Amazon alone, there are more than 93,000 products related to productivity, 42,700 of which are books. Marketers want to know how to be more productive so they can too make their companies more successful (as well as their careers).
The books and products a marketer consumes aren’t what makes them more productive; it’s the habits they develop over time.
Even though habits have a profound impact on one’s life, they are rarely discussed in the media. People like tips and hacks; things they can implement right now, not processes that take months or years to develop.
Today, let’s explore three key habits all marketers have to be more productive.
If you are like most marketers, you likely spend most of your daily hours sitting in front of your computer. This habit tends to negatively impact your posture, which is not only detrimental to your health; it can wear you out and decrease your productivity.
The solution? Get out and exercise.
Anyone who trains regularly can assess the positive impact exercise has on their life. Exercising can help you feel more energetic, optimistic, and focused. There’s more to exercise than the pleasant feeling it gives you after you are done with it.
A study carried out by scientists from Stanford University showed that your mental willpower is directly related to your physical well-being. Some of the benefits of adding exercise to your daily routine include:
• Faster learning
• Improved concentration
• Prolonged mental stamina
• Sharper memory
• Lower stress
• Better job performance
Another study done by a team of Swedish scientists found that exercising during work time can reach the same or higher productivity levels than those who don’t exercise. The good news is that those who exercised during work times needed two and a half hours of exercise per week to see positive results.
Vasco Pinho, a DevOps Engineer from Hotjar, has confirmed the positive results from exercising on his productivity:
“I started exercising randomly in college and slowly noticed that my mood and ability to concentrate increased when I exercised early in the morning. It’s especially good for making the morning productive; it’s something you can 100 percent control about your day, which makes you feel good and establishes a baseline for the day to come.”
Meredith Wood, Editor-in-Chief at Fundera, also feels exercising on the morning has helped her improve her productivity, focus, and energy:
“My favorite productivity hack is a 7:10 am Barry’s Bootcamp. It gives you so much energy, and you feel accomplished walking through the door at work. Adopting this habit has drastically increased my focus and energy at work.”
If you aren’t the kind of person who likes exercising, especially if it means breaking a sweat every morning, don’t despair. Doing something as simple as taking a walk and breathing fresh air can help you out, which is what Twila Liggit, Head of Content at TEDxSeattle, recommends:
“Taking an afternoon walk around the neighbourhood helps get the blood flowing, reconnects me with the world, and boosts my brainpower to finish the day strong.”
Wake Up Early
Having busy schedules and endless tasks in the calendar can get anyone to lose focus. Instead of waiting until the end of the day, develop the habit of waking up earlier. With the time available you have in the morning, you can work both on your professional and personal goals.
Many successful business people and entrepreneurs wake up early:
• Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 am
• Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO, wakes at 5:30 am
• Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, gets up at 5 am
• Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor-in-chief, is out of bed by 5:45 am
• Richard Branson rises with the sun at 5:45 am
• GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt gets up at 5:30 am
• And the list goes on.
The reason why so many successful people wake up earlier is directly related to improved productivity. In 2010, a study from Harvard biologist Christoph Randler found that compared to people who reach their highest productivity in the evening, those whose performance peaks in the morning:
• Are more proactive
•Get better grades in school
• Have better job performance
• Earn higher wages
Twila Liggitt says waking up earlier in the day has helped her work at her best:
“I wake up and get into the office early because that’s when my brain is at its best. It also helps the office be quiet early in the day, so it’s easier to get tasks done without office chatter or unscheduled meetings.”
Take Time to Focus
With busy schedules and endless to-do lists, it’s easy to lose focus. To counterattack this problem, marketers have adopted the Pomodoro Technique. In the simplest terms, this technique involves breaking a work project into 25-minutes intervals with 5-minute breaks in between.
Meredith Wood is one of the marketers who has adopted this technique and found it to work great for her. She said:
“Pomodoring is a very effective way to increase your productivity.”
As it always happens, the Pomodoro Technique isn’t perfect; some people aren’t fit to use it. Sophia Bernazzani, writer and editor of HubSpot’s Customer Success Blog, tried it for a week and found it didn’t work for her given her schedule and tasks (content creation). As she said:
“My very unscientific assumption is that the Pomodoro Technique works better for people working on longer-term projects and daily tasks, rather than deadline-driven bloggers and creators turning things in every day.”
“My best ‘productivity hack’ is guarding my calendar and setting some time aside for actual work. I know that I’m most productive in the morning between 7-10 am, so I make sure not to schedule any meetings during this time.”
What matters isn’t whether you use the Pomodoro technique or not; instead, it’s how you use your time to focus on the tasks that matter most. You can follow Sophia’s steps and try the Pomodoro Technique for a week and see how it works for you. Your goal is to make the most out of your time.
Finally, you can opt to close every distraction on your computer, like your communication apps, something Randle Browning, Managing Editor at Skillcrush, said:
“The number one thing I can do to hunker down and get work done is to close my email and turn off Slack (my messaging app). I make it a goal to go as long as I can without checking notifications. I know if it’s a desperate situation, my team will find me.”
You have so many hours per day to spend on the most important tasks that drive traffic, leads, and revenue to your company. Hurrying through your daily tasks won’t help you achieve much; to succeed in the fast-paced world we live in, you need to change the way you approach your work.
Habits are the foundation on which you can build your success. As you saw today, the successful marketers featured in this article didn’t talk about squeezing as much time as possible per day to get more things done. On the contrary, they mentioned the habits behind their success. They follow the advice Aristotle laid 2,300 years ago: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.“
Whatever habit you are planning on adding to your life, remember they aren’t silver bullets. Take the time to develop each habit. If you repeat each habit slowly, day by day, you will develop the excellence that will transform you into a better marketer.