by Kim Farrow, marketing associate
If any one of the 2016 presidential candidates could promise more time in the day, I’m almost certain that person would win by a landslide.
Professionals of all types – marketers included – are up to their ears in to-dos. Never mind that our days our filled with barrages of emails, fielding sales calls, the pings of notifications on our phones and the desperate desire to follow the latest hashtags on Twitter or Facebook. But one hashtag stands out as a beacon against the rest; #ProductivityHacks is a new series on LinkedIn Pulse that features the best tips and tricks from LinkedIn Influencers like Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra and Jeff Haden.
It’s brilliant, and worth a few precious minutes.
This series got me thinking. What productivity hacks do I use that others might be able to? And what tricks can I glean from the people around me? So I asked other Extend Your Reach team members, and this is what I found out.
First, my own hacks:
- Write itemized, prioritized lists. I have so much on my plate that it’s easy to start jumping from one task to the next without ever finishing a project. When I have a deadline coming up, I write an itemized, and prioritized, checklist of each task that needs to be accomplished for that specific project – and I don’t deviate until everything is completed. It takes time to write the list, but the return on time investment is worth it.
- Wear headphones. It seems a bit silly, but this works even if nothing is playing through the headphones. The headphones give the illusion that I’m closed off to the outside world, which helps my mind focus on whatever is right in front of me. Also, being connected to the computer (or whatever device I’m using) is a good way to keep me in my seat. It’s sad but true; I hate having to unplug and plug back in, which means I don’t get as easily distracted.
- Listen to instrumental music. Listening to instrumental music also helps me focus on one task at a time. If need to power through the first draft of a tricky writing assignment, I’ll usually go to my Pandora station based on the score from the Harry Potter movies.
Amer Gerzic, president
- Work standing up. “Standing while working helps me feel more energized, which translates into greater productivity. I have a workstation that converts from sitting to standing.”
- Declutter. “This may be a personal preference, but I have to have a clean, organized desk. Decluttering helps me focus on one thing at a time.”
- Get email out of the way early. “Every morning, I get up early to watch the news and drink coffee. At the same time, I’ll go through my emails from the night before. Getting them out of the way early helps me get to the important tasks ahead of me when I get into the office.”
- Make a to-do list for the next day. “Every night before I go to bed, I make a list of all the things that must get done the next day. Having everything down on paper helps me sleep better, which also helps me be more productive.”
- Use an extended desktop. “I use an additional monitor to help when viewing spreadsheets. It’s convenient and saves me tons of time that would otherwise be spent clicking back and forth between applications.”
Kristen Nauss, marketing director
- List, list, list. “I have a wish list of things I would like to accomplish that day in an effort to keep me on task. That way, when items fall out of the sky and have to take precedence, I can go back to the list and get back on track.”
- Disconnect & find your audio wallpaper. “If I have a major project which needs my constant attention, I shut down all social media and turn on the tunes. Pandora is great for that and the Civil Wars station is perfect ‘audio wallpaper’.”
- Get a change of scenery. “The benefits of this hack are two-fold: 1) A change of scenery often helps me feel more creative, and 2) getting out of the office helps eliminate day-to-day distractions (like coworkers who ask you to contribute to random blog posts).”
Dave Hytinen, VP of business development
- Prioritize. “On my to-do list, I use a group of symbols to indicate priority and status of items so I’m able to save time and know at-a-glance what I need to be working on next.”
- Let technology help. “The MS Outlook calendar is a powerful tool that I utilize for reminders.”
- Text, don’t email. “Texting with clients and vendors is a huge time-saver – text messages tend to be read before email and/or voicemail. Texts are also short and to the point.”
- Post-it notes for the win!