This evening I did a lightning talk at the London Agile Content Strategy Meetup, about brain hacks for content strategists.
The talk was heavily inspired by our Smarter Everyday project for Nokiaand our work with companies on digital literacy and leadership. I think the topic is particularly relevant for content professionals. Content is hard: you have to switch quickly between very different kinds of work; it demands excellent collaboration skills; it puts distraction in your path at every turn. To suceed as content strategist you need strong personal discipline, focus and be able to manage your time as efficiently as possible.
It’s a job that we (content practitioners) love, but it’s also one that we can find frustrating and tiring too. I think the risk of frustration and tiredness outweighing the love can be mitigated by thinking more tactically about how we approach our work, and using what we know about how our brains and bodies work to our advantage.
In my talk, I gave five brain hacks for content strategists:
1. Acknowledge that your energy is limited – we tend to assume that we can just put longer and longer hours in, our energy and mental capacity really do have limits. You can do it for a few weeks, tops, but long term the quality of your work suffers.
2. Structure your day – think about how much energy and attention you have at different times of the day, and structure your schedule appropriately. If you know you get fuzzy-headed after 3pm, don’t plan to do tough strategic work then.
3. Do one thing at a time – multitasking is a myth, your brain works sequentially, so you can’t split your attention between two tasks and expect to perform your best. This applies to trying to keep on top of email and social notifications while doing another task too.
4. Create conditions for flow – flow is when you’re so immersed in your work you lose track of time, and things feel almost effortless. Achieving flow is hard, you have to work at creating the right conditions, psychologically and physically.
5. Extend flow to the whole team – people often talk about flow in individual terms, but it works on a team level too. Creating a state of team flow can lead to really effective collaboration, which is something content strategists need to do a lot of.
If you’d like to find out more, take a look at: