We’ve had a lot of activity around The Squad lately. A few weeks ago, we hosted our open house and ribbon cutting to officially mark our rebranding as The Marketing Squad! Among office happenings, I’m down South this week for my wedding and honeymoon. Needless to say, there have been many distractions in the office, as well as outside.
You may be wondering how I manage to keep my head on straight with all of this activity. I can sum it up in one sentence: Organization is key.
Staying organized prevents things from piling up and the stress monster from creeping out of the closet and destroying your productivity! Keep that guy locked up, because in this rat race, ain’t nobody got time for that!
In order to maintain my organization skills, I have a set of tasks I work through at the end of each day, before leaving the office. Believe me, some days, the last thing I want to do is prepare for another hectic day. But I know that if I exercise self-discipline and simply knock it out, I will be much more productive at the start of the next day. Analyzing what has been accomplished today in preparation for tomorrow helps me realign my focus and spares me my mornings. Here are four things you should do before leaving the office each day:
1. Make a List… or Two
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Grab 3-5 priorities and write them down on paper. Off to the side, make a second list of other important items that should be completed that week, but aren’t top priority. After you have your priorities listed, make sure they are feasible. It’s easy to feel ambitious before the rat race of the next day begins, but hold your horses. Overloading yourself won’t solve anything.
Mapping out your day saves crucial morning minutes when many of us are at our productivity peak. It’s a relief as you turn on you computer and realize your route for the day has already been planned. Then, you can put those morning planning minutes towards accomplishing priorities.
2. Two Minutes or Less….
Have you ever looked at everything you had to accomplish and want to scream? It happens to the best of us. BUT if you have those super rad lists made up, you will never wonder what your priorities should be. In the event you find yourself with an extra-long list, let’s say because you are getting married in a few days, take a few extra minutes and analyze your tasks. Are there items that can be accomplished fairly quickly?
David Allen, a productivity genius and best-selling author, has a two-minute rule which I have come to know and love. He sums the Rule up perfectly in this statement, “If you determine an action can be done in two minutes, you actually should do it right then because it’ll take longer to organize it and review it than it would be to actually finish it.”
It’s as simple as that. If there is a series of tasks that can be knocked out in a few minutes, just get them done and move on to more complex items. Which leads me to my favorite part: Check that task off!
How many of you write down a previously completed task just to check it off? Guilty! Just get that lingering “to do” off of your list. Lingering items on your task list are a visual and cognitive distraction, preventing you from seeing what actually needs to be accomplished. Visual reminders are the best reminders.
3. Check Your Schedule
Yup, go ahead and check out your schedule for the next day. I know, it’s kind of scary sometimes. But taking time to review your day before it actually begins gives you time to prepare for what’s headed your way. Have a big client meeting? An internal discussion? A brainstorm? Flying by the seat of your pants for these things isn’t productive and can be really frustrating for everyone involved. Reviewing these meetings prior will also allow you to prepare in a calm and thoughtful manner.
While you’re at it, go ahead and review your team members’ schedules if you have access. This way, if you need to have a quick discussion about an upcoming deliverable you aren’t bombarding them with questions that you could easily find yourself. So, review their schedule and send them a quick invite for a 15-minute meeting. No confusing conversations. No “lemme get back to you.” Nope. Just pure and wonderful organization.
4. Code Zero
I get it. It’s easy to let emails build up over time. But without a solid process to organize said emails, you will end up with an inbox full of 1,128 unread emails. And that’s cray cray.
Here’s my process: When I receive an email, I do not open until I am ready to make a move, meaning either putting it on my to-do list or accomplishing it. Checking email frequently and efficiently, as mentioned, prevents the pileup. After it’s completed, I file it under the respective client folder in Gmail or delete it if necessary. This way, I can always refer back to what was needed or quickly respond to the individual.
Since I am constantly adding things to my to-do list, it only makes sense for me to reprioritize at the end of each day. I can reflect on what I accomplished and what should come next tomorrow.
Tasks like these keep the train moving even when the load is a little heavy. Now, if your task list is bogged down by all that marketing stuff, give us a call. We can help you lighten up your task load and help you focus on your business, while we take care of your marketing.