The more time we think we have, it seems the less we get done. If fact it appears as if new priorities always out weigh previous “must have” projects. We live in a world of constant chaos, particularly as marketers in a modern era. There is a steady stream of would-be problems, too many to-dos, and never-ending emails. So how, with this relentless pandemonium, do we stay relatively productive? How do we manage our time to maximize efficiency? Have you seen the lyrics to Pink Floyd’s Time and felt like that was the story of your life?
“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way”
Because everyone is unique, a single time management techniques will not work for all. But, in my 30+ years as a marketer, I’ve found that working in two-hour chunks seems to be my best method. It gives me enough time on a particular task to get results, creates an artificial sense of urgency (needs to be done in 2 hours), and allows me to move on to something else before I burn out on a particular task.
I would also invite you to try to focus at least 10 percent of your day on something proactive. This way, you can get ahead of the game despite all of the other urgent priorities that will always be present (and ever urgent). This can mean starting an entirely new project that is not a priority or just proactively working for the future. I think that this way of working motivates you simply because it is something you actually want to do as opposed to something you have to do (as long as it’s still somewhat related to your company’s goals). It is also true that starting a new project could replace an old and outdated one.
In regards to emails, I personally take the route/file/trash approach for every email pretty much the second after I’ve read it. It helps to keep a clutter free and organized inbox. Don’t chase your email all day long—you’ll never get anything else done. I also only check my email about once an hour. Doing email this way also helps break up your two-hour chunks of work.
I like to get my meetings done either early in the morning or attached to lunch. Meetings should have a very specific perfect and should be used sparingly. I like morning meetings because people seem to be more alert and fresh. This generates a better environment for collaboration. I like lunch meetings because it forces me to actually eat and not work through my lunch. When you manage your time, you actually get better quality work done.
In order to get the most of your workweek, plan your work and work your plan. Since vision without execution is hallucination you need to deliver measureable results or wallow in mediocrity (while listening to Pink Floyd). From a marketing perspective, try to cover your awareness, interest, desire, action, and analytics~ make sure you’re hitting all of these bases in order to get the most out of your week. Set your goals around these things and you will definitely be productive.