We’re all are busy these days, dealing with many different tasks and often struggling with having less time than we need to deliver the results on time. Therefore, how to deal with all the duties to easily focus on your work, have your assignments under control, and, additionally, plan everything in advance? Today we’ll try to convince you why it’s important to plan your day hour by hour and how to do it!
Why it’s important to plan your day hour by hour?
But first… stop multitasking!
You have probably heard that multitasking is a myth, but do you know why? When you’re doing couple things at once, you just delay the tasks and extend the time of their performance, so it’s the opposite of what was intended (here is a brilliant example by Psychology Today). As a result, you lose more time than you expected and you’re left with many started assignments, but can’t determine when you’ll complete them. Isn’t it illogical?
Instead of wasting your time on unproductive activities, better focus on one thing at once. You will be sure that everything is done in the right way, not with a lick and promise. Always set a certain amount of time for each task and create a plan or to-do list for each day. Don’t even think about starting a new thing before finishing the previous one – do as much as was planned, never more – tomorrow is another day! Otherwise, you will lose sight of what’s important in a particular moment.
Find your own way to plan your day hour by hour
There are two groups of people when it comes to planning. One person prefers to do it manually, with a piece of paper and a pen, but others like digital solutions better. It depends on you what you choose, depends on the type of activities you’re performing. There are lots of methods to make a perfect daily plan:
- to-do list apps and time tracking software – they keep you organized all the time: just add to-do things to the list, set the date and it will remind you of the upcoming deadlines! All the tasks are organized in one place and systematized to help you remember all your activities. The most popular is Todoist and Any.do,
- a piece of paper and pen – the most traditional method and by some of the people considered as the most effective. You can use the sticky notes, e.g. different color for each project: blue for social media (yes, it’s simple: blue is the leading color of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more!), green for writing blog posts and other types of content, orange for research and so on.
- bullet journal – this seems to be the more personal method, but it’s getting more recognition among professionals. It’s a planner system in the form of a notebook – it should be empty at the beginning. You are the one who rules it – choose the way you will maintain it (daily, weekly, monthly), add as many columns as you need (e.g., to-do lists, shopping lists, a small place for notes and so on), buy some fancy pens and get your tasks organized.
Find out what method suits you best and connect it to your calendar! If you’re a more tech-savvy person, try to integrate a to-do app with calendar software or time management software, and you will never miss any deadline.
Measure your results!
You don’t know how precisely productive you are until you don’t start measuring it. Marketers are fulfilling lots of different tasks every day; it’s not easy to point which of the activities are time-consuming and eliminate them. Looking at the clock continually doesn’t work, because it causes unnecessary distractions.
Luckily, the market is full of apps that offer marketers and agencies time recording services so that they can measure the productivity of work hours. A time tracker can easily break the curse of this whole estimation problem. I won’t bore you with technical details, but I will give you a real, living example of how it works and what it provides. Creative manager, let’s name him Paul, get a proposal for his team to create a social media campaign about luxury suits. He assigned tasks to the team, planned the costs, set deadlines, and price for whole work.
It has shown that Mike, a graphic designer, was working too slow and Paul had to share his tasks with other people, so nobody knew who is working on what and they wasted a lot of time, doing the same things… Estimated time has shown to be inadequate, they exceeded the deadline, and their client got very angry, so they lose customers’ trust.
Paul hasn’t included time for amendments, so after the last consultation with the client (when they were far behind the deadline), they had to do an amendment for free, so they wasted a lot of time and money. Paul hasn’t checked if the price for luxury suits campaign is at all adequate to time and effort they devoted to it – after all, it has shown that they could focus on another, more profitable project. But how Paul could know things will go that way?
Well, that’s actually time tracking software’s job. If Paul’s team tracked their time with time tracker, he could simply analyze time data of their previous projects and figure out that:
- Mike is the least productive fellow in the team – and he should talk to him seriously,
- He could see how much time similar projects took in the past and set the more rational deadline,
- He could see that a lot of time went for amendments and he should take this into account in scheduling the project,
- He could see that the similar projects in the past weren’t very profitable so he could resign and look forward something more lucrative,
- This short story shows that time tracking is a tool that helps you learn about past situations and convert this knowledge into real, efficient business improvement.
That’s why time tracking software should be a must-have for every marketer regardless of working in a creative agency or being a freelancer. Estimating time and cost each project can avoid unnecessary costs and losing time on unproductive activities.
In conclusion, regardless of the profession, proper time management helps improve the workflow. Combining the right methods and tools can save you or your agency the most critical resources – time and money. Remember – stop multitasking, plan your activities in advance and manage them with to-do lists and track time of your work. Promise me; you’ll see me surprised with the results!