Social media platforms are a digital jungle. There is an overload of content and everyone races to be at the top. Having to constantly come up with new ways to be fun, engaging, and enticing, you can’t help but notice that your focus is slowly burning out. It’s either focusing on one client while you’re doing work for another or having trouble kicking into gear at all.
We’re here to help ease some of that worry. This won’t be an overview of the best apps for scheduled posting, or top software for productivity. A lot of other websites have covered these topics in greater detail. The list here focuses (no pun intended) on three types of changes you can apply to retain healthy levels of focus throughout multiple projects.
Find out how you can change yourself, your habits, and your approach to work for the better of both your mind and your skills.
Change your understanding
What about those multitudes of clients makes it difficult to focus?
1. Find your type
No two social media managers are the same. While the job description may be the same, each one has different approaches, methods, and drives. And while this uniqueness is a huge bonus for your clients, it can also be a big detriment for you.
Did you know that there are seven different types of social media managers? Finding out which one you are can actually give a good insight into how you approach work. Your focus may very well depend on your strengths and weaknesses, so try to find out what they are.
If your focus levels drop with specific tasks or clients, you’ll have an easier time understanding what needs to be changed.
2. Monitor your energy levels
You never operate on the same energy level two days in a row. Sometimes you’ll feel like you can tackle not 10, but 20 clients. Other days, you’ll barely have the focus for just one. In those cases, you want to make predictions and expectations based on how you feel that day.
Schedule your tasks so that the ones demanding deep focus are done when you feel capable. If you’re drained and worn out, try doing something that requires low levels of effort first.
If you’re unsure which client work drains you most, try using apps. Time tracking ones like Clockify let you make weekly timesheets. Analyzing the numbers should give you a pretty good idea of where you’re having the most trouble focusing.
3. Gamify your tasks
Difficulty in focusing can stem from boredom. Whether it’s your clients or their social media strategies, the result is the same – the whole process makes you feel like a drone.
To combat this, try to turn task completion into fun milestones to cross. Taking ideas from various smartphone apps, try to:
- Assign each task experience points, and how much of them you need to “level up” as a social media manager;
- Draw your goal and obstacles – the end of the day as the mountain top, while all the tasks you need to do are represented as bears, snowstorms, landslides, etc. Every time you finish a task, cross an obstacle;
- Use a focus timer – finishing a task before the timer runs out, reward yourself with a short break, or your favorite snack.
For those who are hardly the type to make up their own games, there are dozens of apps that do that for you. Simply browse the Apple store or Google Play store and you’ll surely find something to suit your needs.
4. Don’t be a perfectionist
No post will ever be perfect. Nor will your reply to that one commenter on your client’s Facebook page. The more you strive for perfection, the harder it will be to make important decisions. You will always be on the fence on how to tweak something to make it even better.
Losing focus isn’t the problem here, because your mind will be overly focused on everything everywhere.
A few minutes more, and nothing will look right. Will those thirty minutes invested in retouching an Instagram post be worth the few more likes it will get? Unless the changes guarantee significantly larger engagement, they probably won’t.
Change your habits
5. Eat the frog technique
Is there a task that you just don’t want to do? It’s complicated, or boring, or you know it’ll take a lot of time to finish. One of the best ways to go about tasks like these is to use the eat that frog technique.
Its idea is simple: that one task you can’t bring yourself to work on, label it important. Then, work on that task first thing every day. Make it (or a series of smaller tasks like it) a priority, until it’s done. The idea is that, with a task like that behind you, the rest of the workday seems less frustrating or scary.
Knowing there’s nothing but smooth sailing from here on out, you get a motivational boost for the remaining work.
6. Communicate more with your client
While traditional deadlines may be enough of a “motivating fright” to get some to work diligently, others don’t respond as well. Having a set time limit makes them push off the work until the last minute, or constantly shift focus elsewhere. Additionally, performance reports via email can’t accurately simulate a one-on-one conversation, so the gravity of the project doesn’t quite hit home.
Basically, email reports are a “get out of jail free” card that takes away the positive pressure of completing tasks. To solve this, you need to corner your future self.
If difficulty in focusing comes from feeling like none of your work matters due to unread emails, schedule weekly call updates. Anticipating a direct call with your clients makes the deadlines all the more serious and will jolt you back into action.
7. Drop Multitasking
The era of popularizing multitasking needs to come to an end. It’s a practice that results in increased mistakes while damaging our overall focus. Agile methodology has proved that shifting focus from one task to another breaks concentration to the point of mediocre attention on all projects you’re involved with.
Change up your routine
8. Task batching
A really good approach to rein in your focus is to finish the easy things first. Use labels to divide tasks into batches, categorizing them by difficulty, importance, who the client is, or even by social media platform. Find a labeling method that best suits your workflow.
Then, start working on tasks you can focus on without a problem. While being opposite from the frog-eating technique, the workflow you created by finishing similar tasks in sequence will give you a boost to tackle more demanding work.
9. Keep in the same niche
After working in social media marketing for various clients, you’ve probably noticed that some markets or audiences suit you better than others.
A neat little trick to ensure long term focus would be to accept work from clients who belong in the same niche. This advice makes perfect sense if your struggle with focus comes from a disinterest in the client’s niche. Consider what it is that’s currently making focusing difficult – the client’s niche? The platform? Types of posts?
10. Automate what you can
Automation goes without saying, and it’s nothing new. Automate your processes for the small things that add up quickly into a pile of leftover work, or distractions:
- Newsletter sign-up responses;
- Spam comment deletion;
- Scheduled posting, etc.
While you’re definitely familiar with a lot of automation methods, revise your current tools. See if any of them impact your workflow for better or worse.
A word on automated publishing
Neil Patel, one of the more popular SEO experts nowadays, mentioned in one of his videos how social media marketers need to approach automated publishing with caution. He discussed a personal example where they noticed their Facebook traffic was doing worse over time. Some digging later, and they found out it was because they were using an automated publishing tool. After resharing the same content manually, the engagement numbers went up almost immediately.
Facebook is a platform that requires on-site engagement from professionals and regular users alike. It recognized that Patel’s posts were uploaded via a tool, which he argues drove down his traffic. So if automation is something that helps you focus on several clients a time, make sure to check if a platform looks unfavorably at a specific tool.
Social media marketing is already like a very dynamic playground with ever-changing rules. And with several clients, maybe all from different niches, it comes down to running between playgrounds in the few timeouts you have. It’s no wonder focus is an issue. We hope that some of the advice on this list has helped, or at least pointed you towards possible problem areas that you should look into. After all, it’s up to each individual to find out what works best for them.
Author’s Bio: Marko Maric is a marketing manager specialized in digital marketing and SEO for SaaS. Over the years he has worked for several startups, as well as building his own personal brand by blogging on relevant online publications. Marko mostly covers topics that revolve around marketing, management, and productivity.