The internet is pretty great: It's allowed the human race to be infinitely more productive as marketers (and as humans on the whole). Still, it can slow us down dramatically unless we manage to avoid time sucks and other distractions. Here are my 10 biggest tips on how to be more productive online, and become a more organized and happy brand ambassador.
Avoid time assassins
The internet, in all of its glory, can occasionally be distracting, and one of the prime ways to end the amusing cycle of cat-videos and games (such as Google Pacman Doodle) is to use a tool that literally makes you get back to your community management responsibilities.
A great example for Chrome users is Stayfocused. This Chrome extension is an easy way to stop unproductive behaviors in their tracks. The overall aim of Stayfocused is to kill the time assassins plaguing the elusive work ethic by giving you time limits on predetermined websites. For example, you can use Stayfocused to block or limit the time you spend on the websites you maintain a love-hate cycle with. (Facebook anyone?) This can increase the amount of time you allot to more productive uses of time, such as syncing with your product team to learn about upcoming exciting announcements, fielding a support question on Twitter, or networking with influencers in your space.
Take a break
One key way to increase your creativity and ability to think with clarity is to give your brain a break. Finding inspiration in the midst of a blank page and frustration can be difficult, so try taking off a couple of minutes away from your work to do something totally relaxing. Donothingfor2minutes.com is a website that makes you do just that -- take a couple of minutes to look and listen to waves crashing. If you get antsy and move your mouse, you have to start over. So give into your need to relax for a hot minute.
Focus on the goal ahead
More often than not, it is easy to stop thinking about the purpose of your work, and the overarching goal guiding the task at hand. Instead of beginning repetitive thinking on how difficult or long it will be, try some positive thinking. It is important to step aside from such negative thinking and instead try to focus why you're doing it: Try to see the work as a way of accomplishing something, instead of some kind of draconian punishment that should be delayed for as long as possible. For example, you might get frustrated answering what seems to be a common question such as "How do I get started with your company" but if you maintain perspective, you will realize that you are signing up new customers!
Turn off your laptop and get some sleep!
One thing which cannot be articulated enough is the importance of sleep. Lack of sleep has been heavily correlated with a multitude of issues, ranging from learning and memory to obesity and heart disease. Furthermore, bright lights coming from electronic devices such as computers, cellphones, and televisions may interfere with the body's natural circadian rhythms, preventing the easy onset of sleep. This means more time spent getting coffee and less time focusing on writing, re-writing, and re-writing your response to someone on a forum. Don't over think, go with your gut, and your helpfulness and positivity will shine through.
Clear off your desk(top)
A clean desk (and desktop!) equals a clear mind. People can be highly affected by their surrounding and environment, and an easy way to control your own environment is by organizing your desk. Cables, random piles of paper, and trash can all create visual clutter, which can cause one to feel more stressed than necessary. By clearing off your desk, you can create more workable space, be able to find vital pieces of information with ease, and feel more free to work with management teams without a sense of stress. Toss anything you don't need or use, organize your files so that they're easy to find, and try to find home for the things you use the most that is closer to you. The less stress you associate with your space will have a positive impact on your focus on work.