Let’s be straight here: I am by no means an expert when it comes to prioritization and productivity. But what I can say is that I’ve come a loooong way from my first few years of working in the digital space, when staying organized was not my forte. Luckily, I’ve picked up a few helpful tips and tricks along the way when it comes to juggling the million things we all deal with on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, and I’m hopeful some of these can help you too. Let’s do it!
- Organize your tasks/projects into buckets – level of impact and level of effort. Once you have that broken out…
- Start with the high-impact projects. Yes, sometimes it’s paralyzing and overwhelming to start here, but keeps things simple – break a project down into more manageable tasks that can be easily tracked and completed. Have a QBR to put together for a meeting next month? Map out everything it will take to get you to the actual date–the initial outline of what will be covered, the various drafts, who will be working on what, etc. Once everything is written down and you’re able to see the actual steps, you can start crossing things off the list. This will make you feel SO much better. Getting the big projects completed or at least underway really does relieve the stress and anxiety around the project.
- When you need a break from that, focus on the easier tasks to knock out that don’t require a ton of deep thought – and no, I don’t mean taking the time to search for memes to send out a hilarious all-company email string response (stay with me and keep it productive!). I mean responding to a client email, scheduling meetings, making a slide look “pretty,” etc.
- Be aware of timelines – what is absolutely due by the end of the day today? This week? What projects need to be knocked out this month? What’s the roadmap look like over the next few quarters for your clients? Obviously, you need to knock out more time-sensitive projects sooner, but don’t get lost in a list of tasks and forget about the bigger picture.
- Start your day off with a to-do list. I love, love, loooove lists. Everyone does. But they can get messy and out of control. So each morning, I like to list out what I need to get done that particular day with stars next to the most important ones. Because we all know what can happen 5 minutes into the day…distraction after distraction after distraction. For help with that obstacle, please see my co-worker Chris Sinclair’s blog post on distractions (cross-blog promotion!).
- Block off your calendar. Ask anyone on my team, I have random times blocked off on my calendar almost every day to dedicate exclusively to finishing those starred items for the day. Yes, I will sometimes move them around during the week (get off me, Karly!), but the point is, real scheduling and automated reminders help tremendously.
- Use your resources! This is so obvious, but I’ve seen it get missed a hundred times. Some projects require help, plain and simple. Delegate, ask for help/a favor (and be prepared to give one back), or find a subject-matter expert and pull her in as soon as possible. A PMG client recently asked for recommendations on how to best set up tracking for a new attribution platform they are onboarding this year. The team could have read up, talked to vendors, and spent significant time getting to our own answer. Instead, we could ask PMG’s very own attribution specialist. You don’t have to have all of the answers, people! You just need to be resourceful.
So there you have it. It took a lot of trial and error to get here, but these are the things that help me the most when it comes to prioritizing everything and staying as productive as possible. Hopefully, I gave you some new ideas to incorporate into your daily routine….now get back to work!