If you have any job function where you manage others, especially in an agency setting, you know that the phrase “organized chaos” may come to mind when describing the day-to-day. With almost 3 years under my belt as a Project Manager at Liquid, seeing projects and clients come and go, I think I’m pretty well qualified to outline some tips (and gifs) to help you keep all the plates spinnin’ and hold on to your sanity in the process.
In the wise words of Ron Swanson, “Don’t half ass two things. Whole ass one thing.” I work on A LOT of tasks for short periods of time throughout the day, so it is easy to confuse “multitasking” with “doing small parts of a million different tasks without actually getting anything done.”
Know Your Limits
Being the Type A person that I am, it can sometimes be difficult to delegate tasks to others or admit that I have too many things on my plate. Speaking up when you’re overwhelmed isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s an opportunity for you (and your team) to do a better job and be more effective as a whole. Keeping ALL the things even though you can’t handle them will only increase your stress level and make for a bad experience for clients and your fellow employees.
Meetings can take up a large portion of your day, especially if they are too long and don’t have a clear agenda. If it can be done in 15 minutes, schedule it for 15 minutes. Email the team a brief agenda so everyone is prepared and don’t let the meeting get off-topic. Try to schedule your meetings in consecutive blocks of time during the day so that you don’t have short periods in between where you can’t be productive and focus.
Whether it means putting on your headphones and getting in the zone, or turning off your cell phone for an hour at a time, getting rid of distractions definitely increases productivity during the workday. If someone asks you if you have a second to talk and you’re right in the middle of something, suggest a meeting if it is urgent and can’t be solved via email. Save social media and perusing other sites that are a time suck (or looking up gifs for a blog post) for your lunch break.
More effective To-Do Lists
It is easy to just write down (or Evernote, OneNote or use an app for) everything you have to do, but take it a step further by separating your list into things that have to be done as a high priority for the day, what meetings you have to prep for, and what can wait until tomorrow. Remember to take into account administrative tasks you may have like timesheets, scheduling meetings and making your list for the next day. Limit your list to one medium so your desk doesn’t look like mine with Post-it notes everywhere.
And remember to:
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