Here in Cleary Zimmermann’s Marketing Department, we always have a variety of irons in the fire, from responding to RFQs to planning events to analyzing the market to determine strategy. To help keep our heads from spinning, we employ a variety of processes that help keep us organized and ensure our productivity. Here are two of our favorite methods to help you maximize your time at work.
Whether you’re working on specifications, fee proposals, or marketing materials, using templates will simplify your work and save you time. When you stop wasting precious minutes reinventing the wheel or fiddling with formatting, you can focus on creating quality written content. It will also ensure consistency within and between your documents, and across your organization’s departments, resulting in a unified company brand.
That being said, create as many templates as you can maintain, starting with the types of documents you produce most frequently. Consider all the tasks you might work on in a week and which items would benefit from the creation of templates, using past end products as a guide. Take the time up front to craft these templates to your liking and typical client requirements, working with your firm’s marketing department to create branded templates for each program you use (i.e. Word, InDesign). Before you finalize your template, use it for a couple of practice runs to identify any missing components and work out any kinks. During crunch time, when you can just drop in information relevant to your current project, your initial investment will pay dividends.
Looking for somewhere to start? Check out the following resources:
Lists, Lists, Lists!
Weekly and daily to do lists, project lists, lists of action items, close out checklists – whatever the flavor of list you prefer and/or find most relevant to your role and duties, use it with abandon! The small satisfaction of physically checking off a box can make a substantial difference in your productivity and sense of accomplishment on a daily basis.
If you want to take it a step further, make template of a checklist that you can use for each project. When you establish benchmarks in a checklist, you can increase the quality of your work by improving consistency in process across projects.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t check off every box every day. The whole point of lists is to help keep you organized, not stress you out. As you move through your week, rearrange and consolidate your lists as priorities shift and you see fit.
Your lists don’t have to be fancy. You just have to make sure they work for you. This is the current state of my to do list, right at this very moment:
Let’s be honest - it’s scribbled in my terrible penmanship, it’s technically a combination of multiple lists, and only the first item has been marked as complete. But it works! And I’m currently making progress on the third item on the list – this blog post!
The Moral of the Story
Whatever form your templates and lists take, they all serve the same function: to increase efficiency and improve quality by standardizing processes. Once you find your method to control whatever the madness in your day looks like, use it, refine it, and watch your productivity soar!
By Joyce Fienman