Guest Blog: Organizing Your Crazy A/E/C Life

This isn’t an article on work/life balance, which is important, but it’s about managing your work life and your day-to-day tasks and duties. (Many of these tips you can also use in your personal life.) Marketers and business developers have a lot on their plate and trying to manage it all can be difficult. There are some tips and tricks to managing your day.

Managing your supervisor is one of the best ways to organize your work life. That sounds funny considering you report to them. Being proactive and setting regular meetings will be instrumental to making your life much easier. When meeting with your supervisor, set realistic expectations for goals and tasks. If you don’t know what’s expected of you or have a good job description, then get it down on paper. Set yearly company marketing and business development goals (marketing plan) and share them with your supervisor. Ask them how they can support these goals and tell them how you plan to implement them. By communicating your role in the company your supervisor understands what you are spending your time on.

Setting boundaries with your supervisor and co-workers is also recommended. There are going to be times they need you to work early or late, which is expected at any position, but you shouldn’t consistently be working 60+ hours a week. Research has shown that working more than 50 hours a week decreases your productivity significantly. That’s not good for anyone. Determine if there are things in your day that you could delegate to others or eliminate from your list. Many times tasks that keep reoccurring on your list just need to be removed because they aren’t important. You also need to discuss with your supervisor what’s a “hot” project vs. what’s something that can wait.

For example, if Monday they come in and tell you to get all the resumes updated by Friday but then come in on Wednesday and tell you to update all the website copy, you need to ask them which one takes priority. Clear communication, setting expectations and boundaries allows you to be more in control. Ask questions and make recommendations. You must also be realistic but so should they.

Each day you arrive in your office, prioritize your To-Do-List, so you know what must be accomplished that day. You need to create multiple lists whether written down or digitally. I create a yearly list (goals), weekly lists, and then daily lists. Each of these lists can be modified and updated accordingly. Each morning, I write down the 3 things I MUST accomplish that day. Once I get through those three, then I move onto the next 3.

To stay organized, you can use a good old fashioned notebook or planner or there are a ton of digital options. I use my notes and reminders in Outlook along with an app called Errands. In the Errands app, I have created folders for different projects, set reminders, and email tasks to my clients or team members. The tools don’t matter. It just matters that you use them.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Turn off ALL email reminders on your desktop and phone.
  • Don’t check your email constantly.
  • Shut your door or put in earbuds to avoid interruptions.
  • If you are responding to emails outside of working hours, then set a delayed delivery notice (my mentor told me about this).
  • Turn off all social media notifications.
  • It’s okay to turn your phone on airplane mode when trying to complete a big project.
  • When working on a project, set a timer for 48 minutes and stay completely focused on THAT project. You’ll be amazed at how much you accomplish.
  • Stay focused on the one task at hand.

Being focused allows you to be more organized and get more done. Multitasking is a thing of the past and actually kills brain cells. Be smart! Stay focused!

If you have discovered you can’t get everything done over the course of 3-6 months, then it might be time to ask for some help. Write a job description of the things you don’t have time to do but are important, along with your weaknesses. If you hire someone that can complement what you are doing, then you’re adding strength to your team and filling a gap. This could be someone part time or full time.

Create your own personalized system that works for you. If the system doesn’t work for you, then you will not use it. It’s really about the process and determining how you work most productively and efficiently. Organizing your life does take some time, practice, and patience. With a little help you can be on your way to being more productive and efficient making the most of your time!

Lindsay Young, MBA, CPSM
nu marketing llc