Category Archives: Productivity

Off Your Plate

Getting Things Off Your PlateIf you’re a marketer, you’ve got a lot of people counting on you.

Creative is always needing your input on their work. Financial analysts need you to ok their latest pricing models. Legal and Regulatory need you to send your wish list of claims. R&D needs you to narrow down their work. Customer Service needs you to point the way on just how to deal with certain customers.

And on and on.

Someone’s always counting on marketing because marketing is what sets the tone. Marketing writes the agenda for just about the rest of the company.

Which can present a problem. There’s nothing more you want than to move things forward. The issue is that, more times than not, the quagmire is you. On top of that, you’re normally not the person who actually executes what needs to happen, so you have to rely on others. Who in turn are first relying on you.

It’s only natural. You can only handle so many emails, so many meetings, so many phone calls, so many presentations. But nobody else really cares about that. What they want to know is what to do next.

So here’s the challenge: how can you quickly get things off your plate and onto someone else’s?

Isn’t that normally the issue? You have 8 hot items stuck because you simply haven’t had the bandwidth to concentrate on them for just a few minutes and move them along. So they just sit there, and sit there, and then you work late one night and blast them all out, only to find that it then shakes up your whole support team, cuz they don’t know exactly what and when to do next.

What if you took 30 minutes a day to get things “off your plate” and into the hands of someone who can move it forward. Treat it almost like a race, replying quickly to emails, returning calls and writing directional briefs for a solid 30 minutes. It puts the ball back in the court of the players (rather than with you, the coach) so that something can actually get done.

Lately, I’ve been doing it first thing in the morning, before I make my breakfast shake in the office, before I open my calendar, before all that stuff. My problem is doing it when I feel like I don’t have 30 minutes to burn. But then it hit me, if each item takes an hour for the “player” to complete, and I have on average 5 items to get off my plate at any given time, then that 30 minutes quickly becomes 5 hours worth productivity. So it makes sense.

Don’t overlook or underestimate the importance of your constant guidance in a project. You’re the marketer. You’re the one responsible for getting your product to market, and no one is going to completely share your paradigm and sense of urgency. Your team is dependent on you for those things. You’ve got to remind them, and you’ve got to get them what they need to get it done.

You’ve got to get things off your plate.

Related posts on Brett’s Blog:

  1. Thinking Outside the List
  2. Move the Box

Thinking Outside the List

Just being busy doesn’t make you productive.

Just being productive doesn’t make you effective.

Just being effective doesn’t make you successful.

Just being successful doesn’t make you a leader.

Too many people think erroneously somewhere in the midst of the misconceptions listed above. Success requires leadership, but it does not produce leadership. Leadership requires vision, persistence and influence, among other things.

As I ran around like crazy today, trying to wrap one thing up after another, I suddenly realized I was more interested in crossing things off my list than I was producing exceptional products and services. And I almost missed some bigs things because of it.

Crossing things off a list and never straying has never been a celebrated characteristic of a leader.  

We all get in “get-it-done” mode. As a marketer, it is sometimes required. But there is no one that should care about producing the exceptional, the remarkable, the unbelievable more than you. And that takes leadership (vision, persistence and influence). Don’t skip that – the people you work with are counting on you to demand excellence, whether they act like it or not.

As a marketer, you must think outside the list.

Someday You’ll Appreciate this Post

What keeps making it to your “someday list?” (thanks to UberEye)

It’s too easy, too natural to do something someday. It’s indefinite, and it’s not today, and normally not even tomorrow or this week. But it made a list, therefore you’ve done something with it.

It’s the equivalent of treating an idea like you do that piece of paper that just keeps getting shuffled around your desk, from one pile to the next, from one inbox to another, from one file folder to another. You keep putting it off and cluttering it up rather than taking the 30 seconds to read it, act on it and then toss it in the can.

What would happen to your productivity if you took one “someday list” item each week and just did it? And ignored all the others on the list in the process? What if you took that “someday” item and made it a “this day” item?

The 2 Most Productive Things You Can Do

Here they are:

  1. Do this and go turn off your MicroSoft Outlook email notification icon.
  2. Read this.

It’s amazing how easily we show up to work and basically respond to what we get in the inbox. I’ve been trying hard lately to only check my work email 3 times a day, but it’s tough to stick with it. The good news is, it seems to work as far as productivity goes. Give it a shot.

It turns you into a proactive worker than a reactive email responder.

Get Grumpy and Get Stuff Done

Higher Ground pointed me to this article, Grumpy workers are the best workers.

This is interesting, with lots of good talking points, but nothing substantial when it’s all said and done.  But it does prompt a few observations:

  1. “Happy people” are also often “Head in the Clouds” or “Head in the Sand” people. There is definitely some truth to those folks not getting anything done when it matters.
  2. Where you draw the line is between the people who do something about their work when they’re mad about it, and those that don’t. Lots of people complain – few people fix.
  3. Disgust is probably the best impetus of all. If there’s not at least potential to get pissed about something, you have to question your passion about it.

For the record, I am regularly guilty of all three above. So, I’ll try to get a little angrier, and we’ll see if we can’t make something happen.