We all *think* we’re doing great when the Twitter alerts are rolling, Email’s pinging, Facebook is always open and your RSS feeds are pushing you new content to share. Efficient right? Yeah. No.

The thing is, study after study shows us that multi-tasking is a myth. You’re not multi-tasking at all. Rather, you’re serial tasking and shifting your attention from one task to the other. In fact, the time it takes you to switch from one task to another can increase the overall time you spend on these tasks by up to 40%.
Don’t your adoring fans deserve a mindful focus on them? Doesn’t your job? Don’t even get me started on Tweeting while driving…

So, what to do?
Here are a few tips to make the time you spend working on social media marketing tasks, and your entire day, more useful to everyone. As a bonus, you’ll be more focused and engaged with the conversations you have on social networks, increasing your effectiveness.

There’s an App for that
One of my favorites is the Pomodoro Timer desktop app. Based on the popular Pomodoro technique, this app allows me to set a time frame for each task and then chunk up my day, focusing for 25 minutes at a time on the task at hand. Then I take 5 minutes for a break and dive back in. I’ve noticed an increased ability to crank out work during the time I have dedicated to one task and nothing else.

One platform at a time
If you’re interrupting your creation of a blog post to respond to tweets or the pinging of your email it will take you much longer to write that post won’t it? Twitter can wait a few minutes. Set yourself a time preiod in which to work on one platform at a time and stick to it. Odds are excellent the world will not end if a Facebook post gets answered in 30 minutes. Schedule time for each network, scan them for news and things you have to respond to and then move on. Lingering over a dancing pig video on Facebook is the kiss of death to productivity.

Meditate, take a walk
It’s important to give yourself time to relax, that’s why the Pomodoro timer runs in 25 minute cycles with a 5 minute break in between. Don’t cheat here, that break can allow your mind to go off and think about a problem while you’re doing other things. I often find that simply not thinking about a project for a few minutes will help me find clarity.

Take your time
Instead of reading your RSS feeds while thinking about how/who/when you’ll share it, just simply stop and read the posts. You’ll learn more and your comments and shares will be more thoughtful. The author will be thrilled that not only did you read the whole post but you added value to the cnversation in a comment or a tweet.

Spend some time learning about your followers on the various platforms. Who are they, what do they talk about? What kind of phrasing do they use? This is important stuff and often overlooked. What you learn here will inform everything you do in marketing.

Brainstorm file
I use Evernote for this but you can use whatever works best for you. Keep a file where you save every possible blog topic. Random ideas often coalesce here and turn into really great posts. When you see a theme developing you may even decide you need to do a series. Create these posts with your buyer personas in mind to make sure the content is truly useful to them.

Don’t believe me?
I dare you to just try this for one day and see how much more you get done. If it works (or if it doesn’t) tell me in the comments!