How Digital Marketing and Communications Managers Can Use Techniques and Tools to Get in Control of Their Schedule
With today’s fast-paced digital world, it takes a super-human effort for marketing and communications managers to feel on top of their projects. Assignments are driven by creating great work that is executed flawlessly against tight deadlines requiring intense collaboration. Typically, as we are working on one hot project, we are thinking about how we will complete the next 2-3 equally as important assignments.
According to American City Business Journals, when asked about their biggest marketing challenge in 2018, “respondents indicated that their No. 1 challenge was simply finding the time or resources for marketing.”
When we feel out of control of our schedule, it is important to take a moment and step back to think about how our work is accomplished. By applying some easy-to-implement management techniques and tools, you can get in better control of your schedule.
Understand Everything You Are Working On
Take the time to list every item you need to complete so you have an inventory of what you are working on. Make plans for what you will complete this year, this month, this week and today. In your daily plan, segment your tasks into what you will tackle in the early morning, late morning, early afternoon and late afternoon so you have a clear picture of your assignments for the day. Shift your priorities as needed when unexpected projects arrive or know when you need additional resources for support.
With a clear understanding of what you are working on and when you will complete it, you will have a “mind like water” as described by productivity consultant David Allen.
Take a Step Back and Look at Your Process
Every project we work on has a process. Take a step back and look at the process for your projects, especially the ones that feel the most time consuming or painful. Ask in what ways could this process be better or more efficient? Are there steps that could be removed or refined? Brainstorm ideas with your colleagues.
Accomplish Your Goals Instead of Toiling at Tasks
Work with your business goals in mind and spend the appropriate amount of time on the most high-value projects. For items you are spending a lot of time on, are they worth the effort according to your organization’s goals? Are there projects you could be spending more time on that are more valuable to your group? Remember to stay focused on the big picture when you find yourself in the weeds.
Set Yourself Up for Killer Collaboration
Today, marketing requires intense collaboration to complete projects. Think about small ways you can improve collaboration with co-workers to improve efficiency. If you require support, can you give your co-worker a heads-up of when your project will be ready so they are prepared to work on it? When you give an assignment to a co-worker, do you provide a deadline and confirm the timing works with their availability? Are you giving your co-workers great direction so they can easily complete the task the first time?
Use Project Management & Collaboration Tools
There are many project management and collaboration tools to make communication easy, keep track of projects and deadlines and understand what team members are working on.
Some great tools for increasing work productivity are:
Slack – Excellent for inter and intra-team communications
Monday – Helps manage workflows, team assignments and deadlines
Confluence – Popular collaboration software for managing projects, sharing resources and collaborating; it works great with JIRA, which is a software project management system built by the same company, Atlassian
Get the Right Resources
Get the support you need to help manage your team’s projects. Internally, is there a team member or resource who can help with scheduling, trafficking and project management to ensure a smoothly operating system? Externally, is there a partner you can work with to help you be more effective by overseeing a portion of your business to free up your schedule, helping you complete important but hard-to-reach assignments or by executing tactical work to allow you to focus on strategy?
Creating great marketing and communications programs is challenging. Managers deserve to focus on doing their job instead of feeling out of control of their work. Thinking about your work and applying techniques and tools can help make dramatic improvements to put you in control of your schedule.