When your job hinges on multiple deadlines, sales targets and marketing goals, time is a terrible thing to waste. Going into the often hectic final quarter of the year, a series of delayed launches can quickly devolve into revenue losses that impact your company’s bottom line. For ideas to help tackle workflow challenges and keep up with the daily grind, our brain trust of Forbes leaders and contributors weighed in with their favorite tactics. Want to work smarter, not harder? Here’s how:
Chardia Christophe-Garcia, Marketing Director, ForbesLIVE:
1. Delegate tasks. “If you’re like me, it’s very hard to give up control – especially when it comes to work. However, it’s a very necessary avenue to explore in order to enhance productivity. By taking time out of your day to train your team ahead of time, you can delegate projects and allow your focus to be aligned with the areas that really require your full attention. I also find that it empowers your employees to step up and become subject matter experts in their own right. If they shine, you shine. It’s a ‘win-win’ across the board.”
2. Cancel unnecessary meetings. “If you are in a leadership role where meetings take up a significant part of your day, I encourage you to do one thing: Break the cycle. One of the biggest wastes of time in corporate America are unnecessary meetings. If you need questions answered, send a detailed email for documentation. Not only does this allow you to have a paper trail that you can then reference as needed, but you also don’t waste time in a conference room doing things like ‘brainstorming’ unless that’s the actual goal of the meeting.
There are only so many hours in the work day and you should spend the bulk of it actually working. If you have the power to change the paradigm of a meeting-heavy culture #JustDoIt.”
Danielle Rubino, Director of Brand Marketing, Forbes:
3. Get an early start. “It’s important for me to be active at some point in the day to remain present and productive. Usually this starts with a morning workout class or my 2-mile walk to the office. As a morning person, I do some of my best work before 9 a.m. when the office is still quiet. At this time, I’ll look at my list from the night before, which is where I write projects that are ongoing, haven’t started yet, and big-picture ideas that I’m mulling over. From there, I map out my schedule and create a timeline of my projects so that I can prioritize what needs to get done.”
4. Build a rapport. “If you play in the brand journalism game, or rely on colleagues to create authentic content, be sure to make time every week to reach out to them. Phone, text, IM, e-mail – it doesn’t matter. Let them know how their content is performing. Make recommendations on how to be a better storyteller. Reiterate that their efforts are appreciated and contributing to the company’s success. By building trust, you become a strategic advisor while receiving a steady stream of quality content that connects with your audience.”
Allison Rickert, Director, Project Management, Content Partnerships, Forbes:
5. Make a list, check it twice. “My No. 1 productivity tip – in my personal and professional lives – is to make lists. I live by them. Every day when I get in, I make a running list of next steps for that day, and I add to it as I go. It’s always satisfying to cross items off, no matter how small!”
6. Be consistent. “I like to start my morning by making my bed. It helps me breeze through my day knowing that I have completed just one simple task off of my to-do list. I also believe that there is a science behind consistently doing the same things.
The two main things that serve as the defining line between being a dreamer and a doer are consistency and execution. Doing one thing per day — repeatedly — will be sure to spill over into other areas of your life. I have learned that consistency breeds consistency.”
Laura Brusca, VP of Corporate Communications, Forbes:
7. Get organized. “I’m a big believer in Excel or Google sheets to keep me organized – and I have one for almost every project I work on to help map out timelines, tasks and to organize information.”
8. Curate your news sources. “As a PR person, I’m a little news-obsessed, and I always want to stay up to date on all of the latest news out there, so I’m subscribed to several news alerts and newsletters, including ‘TheSkimm,’ ‘The NYT Daily Briefing’ and of course the ‘Forbes Daily Dozen.’ I also have a TV in my office, which is usually tuned into the big news channels so I can catch anything breaking in real time.”
9. Take a rest break. “I also find that sometimes stepping away from a challenging task at hand and taking a quick walk can refocus me and bring me in more focused than before. And a good night’s sleep always helps!”