Generation Y: the multi-taskers, the social media generation, the millenials. If you are anything like me, you are constantly trying to do about 5 things at once. You want to walk, tweet, plan your day, write an email and text all at the same time. That has proven to be ineffective. After trying various techniques to find the most efficient way to get things done, I finally realized that my morning routine took up so much of my time, that it would spill over into the afternoon and lunch was often forgotten about. In 4 easy steps I was able to change that.
1. Get a jumpstart from the mattress.Open your eyes, reach over to your phone and check messages. That is how many people start their day. Before you get out of bed or while you wait for the shower, accomplish these quick tasks:
- Scan (keyword: scan!) your email and respond to anything immediate.
- Filter all your newsletters, special offers, news sites or anything else that will not need immediate attention to another folder or another email address. It makes everything less crowded and you won’t get distracted downloading the free e-book Hubspot is promoting that week.
- Scroll through Facebook and check your Twitter timeline and mentions. Again respond to whatever needs responding to and move along.
2. Get your information faster
Love the news? Use Google Reader or apps like Taptu (my personal favorite) or Flipboard to get all your news in one place. Choose the articles that interest you and “favorite” them, so you can read them later during the commute to work or when you have some downtime. Get updated on what you missed in the digital sphere during those 7 hours of sleep before you leave the bed so you don’t have to worry about it later.
Still want to get more information? Try Podcasts. Listen while you shower and execute your morning routine. Your hands are free so all you have to do is listen. If you like to watch the news in the morning, then opt for a few podcasts on the way to work, again another easy way to get information and keep your hands and eyes free for activities, like lets say, driving perhaps? Or looking both ways while crossing the street.
3. Open and Close.
Email: The black hole of the Internet. Get on, answer what needs to be immediately handled, make a list of what you need to follow-up on and exit the screen. You will be surprised at how long you can stay stuck on Outlook. Usually what happens if the screen stays open, we become consumed and find more things to respond to and read. We constantly check it and become distracted and go off on tangents before completing a task. (I know I am guilty of this).
Same with social media. Dedicate a max of 30 minutes to monitoring all your business pages: Twitter, Facebook, blog or any other social media sites. After the environmental scanning that you did above, you should have a grasp on what is being talked about so that you can easily have points of reference later in the day. No need to sit for an hour looking through your timeline. After you have monitored, responded, posted or scheduled tweets etc. CLOSE IT.
Tip: Schedule all of the good morning tweets and other “standard content” prior. It makes mornings a lot easier if most of the tweeting is already done – especially if you, like myself manage more than 3 social media accounts.
4. Knock out your To-Do list in increments
By the time you reach this step it should be about 9:30am. Now you have your whole day ahead of you. If you are a student and freelancer like myself, then your to-do list probably consists of going to class or work and then later on handling the rest. Since I am on “ winter break,” I work full-time. So this is the part my PR friends, where you pull out your editorial calendar for the day and get to writing, posting, pitching or whatever other tasks you need to do. Breaking things up in 20- 30 minute increments helps keep you on task without you getting bored.
Have email on the back of your mind? Look next to your screen. See that black or beige thing? It is a phone. If your colleagues or clients need something urgent, encourage them to call you. Check email between tasks but remember to close out afterwards or turn off notifications. You don’t need to stare at the screen every 2 minutes.