How to discover new trends and boost your productivity level every day:
As any marketing professional knows, there’s no way to succeed at your job and align your company with the market unless you have a continuous grasp on what’s going on in the social world. It’s a huge part of the job. We’re told the leaders and professionals with the best foresight spend the majority of their time reading and observing. While I’m sure Warren Buffett – who famously spends 80% of his time reading – isn’t concerned about much, I sure don’t have hours a day to spend browsing media and the news, without my productivity being severely compromised. One of the hardest balances for me to strike is staying informed about what’s going on so I can come up with the right ideas and keep my work relevant, and not let apps and platforms suck up my time.
Here’s a few of ways I’ve learned to keep myself on track and also discover news and trends throughout the day:
Switch out social media for value-rich, curated feeds
Honestly, there is such little value in comparison to the amount of distractions on the majority of popular social media apps. It’s never been worth my time during the work day to do any “research” or “scanning” on these apps. I may find one good bit of information or one solid resource in exchange for hours of distraction.
Instead, I’ve deleted these “low value” apps for ones that are focused, curated, and worth my time instead. I love Flipboard which allows you to choose the topics you’d like to follow across the internet and media outlets. For each topic, Flipboard delivers the latest and greatest from news outlets, blogs, social media, etc. in a convenient and super visual format. It’s my favorite alternative to Instagram. I follow topics like “entrepreneurship” and “productivity” to get the latest on the startup world and helpful tips throughout my day. You can also create “magazines” to store articles you like to revisit.
Set aside time to browse a few selected sources
If you have your favorite sources, set aside 10% of your time to spend on just browsing and reading uninterrupted. But make it worth your time! Create a folder to save screenshots of helpful information, create a bookmark folder to save pieces you need to revisit, and take physical notes if you can. You will retain what you’re taking in so much more and actually be able to use it later in your work. You’ll have a bank of relevant information to help you spark brilliant ideas later on. Make sure outside of this time you’re focused by shutting off notifications from distracting sites, especially the emails which can take you away from your work for way too long with one click.
Learn to love Google Trends
I didn’t think much of Google Trends before probably the last six months. In an effort to stay on top of work stuff, I signed myself up to get alerts for a couple of terms. At first I was a little mad at the emails but then I realized Google Trends actually did a ton of the work for me and filtered through the rest to find interesting and quality information for me on those topics. It helps me stay on top of things I would normally miss as soon as they start to gain popularity. It’s like being told what’s going to happen next just a little bit ahead of time. I get a curated email every so often that shows me a few of the top, trending hits for what I’m interested in. Now I’ve set Google Alerts for things like “productivity” and emerging technologies I’m interested in writing about or incorporating into my work. It’s been a seriously underutilized resource I wish I had jumped on earlier!
As a marketing professional, these are just a few tricks I’ve learned to help me discover the latest trends but also focused on my real work throughout my day.
I hope these productivity tips were helpful!
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