In an agency, everyone is busy. From our massive stack of papers and pressing deadlines, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and find ourselves fighting fires instead of thinking strategically. If you give yourself ten minutes each morning to really prepare for your day, then you won’t feel as flustered, behind, or torn. You will have a game plan that will help your efficiency and keep you sane.
Personally, I make lists to ensure I follow through on all items I am responsible for; however, everyone has different learning and organizational styles. What works for some, doesn’t work for others. Give a few of these items a try if you struggle to have a streamlined day.
5 Ways to Prepare For Your Day
1. Make a list. It sounds obvious, but it helps tremendously. Write out everything that needs to get done. From a giant project to that email you’ve been putting off, write it all out. Make sure nothing falls through the cracks by checking your work task system, your emails, your planner, or other ways you keep track of to-dos. Rather than scrambling on what to do next, your memory is refreshed and ready for the next task.
2. Put all of your to-do lists in order. This can be by priority or ease of completion. I typically put it in order by priority and then due date. This makes you feel a little more in control when things are barreling down the pipe.
3. Get the easy things done first. If you don’t have an emergency on your hands, but just an overwhelming amount to do, look at what can take the shortest amount of time. Get those quick, easy tasks done first. Presto! Done and out of the way. This will help you put your focus on more important things and bigger rocks.
4. Wait to check your voicemails and emails. Knock a few things off your to-do list before you open another can of worms. Get yourself settled and mentally ready for the day before reacting to everything. Then, once you are prepared, tackle all of those emails and voicemails.
5. Plan your day. A few of my co-workers live by planning out their days by times. Some co-workers schedule working on XYZ project from 1-2pm, then ABC project from 3-5pm. Estimate how long you will work on each task, then schedule realistic blocks of time to work on that project. As a graphic designer, you might say that you’ll do logo designs from 10am-11:30am, then website mockups from 1-3pm. Giving you a time outline of what your day will look like will ease the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed.
Bonus Tip: Believe it or not, a morning meeting can still be effective if used properly and with the right company dynamic – it’s another good way to prepare for your day as a company. Meetings can be a total time-suck, but at around 15-20 minutes you can determine your entire 8-hour workday in a flash.
In an agency setting like at The Squad, our “morning round-up” allows our movers and shakers to brief the team on upcoming deliverables and projects, or if someone needs a little extra input on a task. If needed, we have smaller break-out sessions to review more detailed initiatives. When meetings are done in an efficient manner, everyone benefits.
I enjoy our morning meeting to get on the same page with my team members, know what’s headed my way, and how other projects might impact my day. It’s always better to be prepared than surprised and panicked.
Using these ways to get your day started off right can decrease stress while streamlining your day, making your morning a little more efficient. So, walk in, take a deep breath, and get your morning organized. As your day progresses, you will appreciate that sacred ten minutes as you planned your day, rather than feeling bombarded and overwhelmed.