With time being one of the major constraints of being in a small team or a team of one, I thought it only appropriate that we discuss ways that we can plan our time and use it more effectively!
I’m always trying to find new ways of managing my time and being more productive, and I’ve found a couple of things that have worked for me so far. So, without further ado, here are the steps that I take to help me plan my time and make the most of the small amount that I do have (definitely not enough hours in a day!)…
The first thing that I do at the beginning of the academic year (or whenever everything starts to become a bit of blur) is sit down and create a calendar to highlight every important event and campaign.
I’ll ask all relevant people to send me a list of things that they have planned, with a brief description of what they entail. I find this to be a great way of getting an overall view of the year ahead, and to prioritise my time accordingly. I will usually work my way back from each event in the calendar and add notes for when the campaign needs to start and when I need to start planning it.
This approach has resulted in me spending less time switching between projects and figuring our priority lists, so I’m using all the precious minutes that I have much more effectively!
A great added bonus that I find from plotting things out on a calendar is that I’m rarely struggling for content ideas! There may be small events happening that might have slipped through the net, but they are already on your calendar. Key themes throughout the year included in your calendar also provides great inspiration.
(Editor’s note: and don’t forget to download our free Inspiration Station calendars each month too for even more content ideas!)
Allocating your time
It’s really important to block out times in your calendar to work on different projects, to attend events, and to just be out and about capturing content! There is no point shutting yourself away in the office all day and working on amazing content plans and ideas, if you have no time to get out there and do it! It’s all about finding balance. I think a great way to approach this is to spend some time studying your analytics. What are your ‘quick wins’ and what is it worth you spending your time on?
Why not try allocating time for ‘content capture sessions’ like the ones that I mentioned in my previous blog? Use your calendar of upcoming events and campaigns to pick out content you can capture for different purposes over the next few months, cutting down on the amount of ‘content capture sessions’ you need.
I also prioritise spending time at important events or capturing the buzz if something exciting is happening on campus. I think off-the-cuff posts and fun content is key to engaging my audience, so I make this a priority. If you plan enough in advance, you’ll (hopefully) be able to fit in the other things that you need to do around these events. Really struggling for time? Try borrowing some…
Start thinking creatively about borrowing time from other people. Do you have any student bloggers and vloggers? Could they be capturing some content for you at events, or can they head out onto the campus each week and film some students for a series on social media? (Not only is this giving you more time, but students will also relate more to their fellow students and the content could be more successful)
What about your colleagues? They might not work in your social media team, but maybe a member of alumni, PR, or even a member of academic staff, might have a flare for capturing social media content. Are they able to film some short videos or just take some pictures for you when they are out on their travels?
Finally, you work in a university – an institution that is all about developing people’s skills and opening up their career prospects. Can you get an intern or take on someone for work experience? Not only will it give you another pair of much-needed hands, but that student will gain some incredibly valuable skills (such as time management!)
So there you have it, a few things that I put into practice to plan my time. I think most people struggle with this problem (and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon), so get in touch with your tips and tricks for planning your time…I’d love to hear them!