If you’re like me and trying to manage a full time job with one or two side passions and projects, your time to actually sit down and do the work is few and very precious. You have to make every moment count if you’re going to use it to effectively get things done.
No amount of planning can make up for poor time management. If we aren’t delegating our time to the right areas, accomplishing goals and crossing items off of our lists will never happen. Two things that have allowed me to focus on the things that matter (like brainstorming new posts and sitting staying active on social media) has been to create solid templates and to automate wherever I can.
The best thing about creating templates is that you can literally create one for anything. Having to plug in details rather than starting from scratch each time will end up saving a ton of time and unwarranted stress.
There are a few templates I’m using consistently right now, one of which you can see up above. You’ll note that the graphic above looks similar to the one from my last Tuesday To-Do. That’s because I’ve create a simple template that allows me to open the base in Photoshop and just update the details as I need to, instead of creating a new branded graphic each time.
I also have a template for my Sunday Morning Coffee posts, which is why when it comes time to schedule them, I can just sit down and get it done rather than fussing over formatting or minor details.
My relationship with email and how I approach it has bettered tremendously through introducing templates. Using tools like canned responses helps you get back to those inquiries that always require the same general response, but can take up valuable time to sit down and type out in real time.
Follow any creatives who share stunning quotes on Instagram? You can trust that they’ve created a template, and then gone ahead to take the next step and batch create dozens of graphics in one sitting to maximize time.
Automate, automate, automate!
Once you’ve create templates and you’re creating content like a beast, you’ll need to automate some things to help get that content out and aid your workflow.
If you send an email newsletter to your readers or followers, be sure you’re planning ahead so that you can write and schedule the message in advance. Templates will help you save time writing and formatting, and automation will make sure it gets sent without you having to think about it.
I automate my social media using CoSchedule. It’s easy interface and scheduling power allows me to keep content in the que for weeks and months at a time, so I know that I’m talking to my readers and driving traffic to the blog even when a post isn’t coming out. As much as I’d love to set up shop in a cafe and write and tweet all day, that simply isn’t an option right now.
I use Send.Latr for gmail to write out messages when I have a moment, but send them at the appropriate time. IFTTT allows me to share certain images to Twitter from Instagram and much more with ease. Use tools like the ones I’ve mentioned and others like ones I’ve shared here to save yourself time and focus on what matters.
Work smarter, not harder today!