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Are you wasting time on activities that are causing you to decrease your content publishing productivity? February is Time Management Month, so let's take a look at five activities that commonly decrease content creation and publishing productivity and ways to recoup that lost time.First, it's important to understand that some activities that cause you to lose time are very important and cannot be eliminated. However, even the most important activities can usually be streamlined. Following are five activities that cause lost time for most content publishers to help you improve your own productivity.

1. Email

Yes, email is essential, but you don't need to check it every five minutes. You don't need to respond to every message you receive immediately, and you don't need to receive as many spam email messages as you probably do each day. Turn off your email program and make a point of checking your email less frequently. Of course, if you're in the middle of an urgent project or you're expecting a critical message, you won't be able to unplug. However, on most days, you can probably check your email once every two hours or even less frequently and still keep everyone happy without falling too far behind.Also, use the spam blocking controls and filters built into your email program to reduce the amount of spam messages you receive each day. Don't worry that you might miss something important. Instead, create spam blocking rules that automatically delete messages which have a far greater chance of being spam than anything else.

2. Internet

Every content publisher frequently falls victim to "Internet Time." This happens when you're surfing the web for story ideas or doing research but stumble across so many interesting things that you end up spending hours online doing something that should have only taken you 15 minutes. Be strong and don't click on those other links.Yes, that headline does look interesting and might make a good article idea for the future, but is it something that you need to look at right now? Those links are tempting. Make a conscious effort to click on fewer of them each day.

3. Distractions

Just as intriguing headlines that you stumble on while you're surfing the web can distract you from the task at hand, so can distractions from your phone ringing, the email notification sound, coworkers, family, and so on. Set aside blocks of time to work on specific projects and turn off your phone, shut your door, and ignore all other distractions until the project is done. For example, you'll save more time if you work on a piece of content for one hour without distractions than you will if you work on the same article throughout the day for 10 minutes here and five minutes there.

4. Social Media

If you want to be productive and actually get some content created and published each day, you need to admit that you cannot reply to every tweet or Facebook update, share every piece of content you come across, continually scroll through your social media profile timelines and streams, and be active in every group you belong to. There aren't enough hours in the day. Follow the tips in #3 above and unplug from social media profiles throughout the day, so you can get your work done without distractions. When you do log into your accounts, be active and prioritize your activities, but don't fall into the trap of spending too much time socializing.

5. Reading

Content publishers are busy people. Unfortunately, as a content publisher, you can't read every word of everything you find during your daily travels across the internet, social media, and offline publications and conversations. Learn to scan content quickly so you can pick up the most important points and decide whether or not a piece of content deserves more of your time. Also, use aggregation and curation tools to quickly review a lot of content from multiple sources. Google Reader provides a great way to review new content from RSS feeds that you subscribe to, and RebelMouse provides a great tool to quickly scan headlines and the first few sentences of content from sources that you choose.There are many tools available to content publishers that can help them be more productive and most are free or affordable. Even tools that charge a fee typically offer free trials, so give them a test drive and see how much time you save every day that you can devote to creating and publishing new content.What tools do you use to boost your content publishing productivity each day? Share them in the comments below.Image: Jean Scheijen

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