It’s a busy world, and I envy the Super Mario Brothers.
Remember Nintendo’s Mario and Luigi, circa 1991? These early generation video game characters discovered the secret boost that empowered them to leap skyscrapers, demolish walls and crush mushroom-shaped minions.
What I wouldn’t give for similar superpowers to tackle the workday. If you’re a PR exec, a business professional, a mom, a dad or simply a breathing human, you’ve no doubt longed for the same antidote: a magic bullet that empowers you to attend every event, answer every call and “autocomplete” your looming to-do list.
The magic bullet to time management is that there isn’t a magic bullet. Leading experts instead encourage us to return the basics of time management and implement these best practices well. Application is the key.
Here are three stalwart time management suggestions you’ve no doubt already encountered, but we’ve added our own “Super Boost Tip” to help you get the most bang for your buck. Use this quick and easy refresher as motivation to revisit and re-institute the basics of smart time management.
Superhero cape not included (yet).
1. Standard Advice: Prioritize to-do lists by deadline and importance.
Super Boost Tip: At the end of the day.
You know mornings. You come barreling in with your phone ringing, coffee sloshing and 183 emails pinging on your laptop—not the ideal time to quiet your mind and focus. Instead, take five minutes before you leave the office to review your projects and prioritize activities for the following day.
Categorize action items by time of day (for example, notate if you need to make a call first thing in the morning) and update your running list of daily and weekly assignments to reflect your progress. Organizing your plan of action the day before not only saves you 45 minutes the next morning but also allows you to leave the office with a little peace of mind each evening. (We like peace of mind).
2. Standard Advice: Maintain a tracker and note-taking system for your team.
Super Boost Tip: Offline.
No, I’m not suggesting that we ditch our elegant—and highly effective—electronic trackers. These beautifully groomed tools enable synergy, efficiency and momentum that few other systems afford.
However, there’s a time and place for hard copy. Don’t be afraid to whip out “Post-It Note Technology” during a brainstorm, encouraging team members to write down ideas (one per note) during a predetermined time frame as a “free think” exercise. (YMCAs around the country employ this tactic). Tangible, interactive note taking stimulates creativity and fosters fertile ground for team cohesion. In essence, you get your team’s best ideas…faster.
3. Best Practice: Take time to proof.
Super Boost Tip: Someone else’s work.
By now you know well the industry’s standards for copy editing and proofing. Review for flow, check for structure, comb for style and scrutinize for grammar.
And then hand it to someone else.
As busy professionals, we’re often tempted to skip this vital step. But the brain that creates the copy often overlooks its own errors. At Clairemont, we follow a rigorous system of proofing as an agency team to ensure that content—from emails to proposals—adheres to strict standards and communicates consistent messages. While taking a team approach to proofing might appear to be more time consuming on the front end, it will save valuable “clean up” efforts after the fact.
Bonus Tip: When all else fails, brew a cup of coffee.
What time management tip would you add?