That’s it. We’ve done it. We’ve got through January, which must be officially the longest month in the year. We’ve waded our way through those huge piles of emails that generated over the Christmas holidays, and we’ve (mostly) ploughed through our planning and our reporting tasks – so we’re all set for a year ahead.
Moving into February, and the rest of 2016, you should be thinking about all of the ways that you can be more productive in the workplace. You’ve heard all the clichés – you need to learn to work smarter, not harder.
Here at Social Heroes we have just a few tips that will help you prioritise your tasks, and get ahead with whatever is on your to do list.
They say that there’s an app for everything, and they’re not lying at all. 2015 saw the release of an app that allowed you to ‘collect cats’ in an imaginary garden, and also saw the rise of a game modelled entirely around Kim Kardashian’s life… But they’re not just developing to help you play in your down time.
There are so many apps out there that help you organise your work life, or your home life, or even both. These apps are generally able to include the whole team in a collaborative effort, so you can all see eachother’s tasks and stages of work – which is incredibly helpful when working on project based items.
Here at Social Heroes we’ve worked our way through a good few of these apps, trying to find the best one to suit our team. From Trello loved primarily by the designers, through to Basecamp, Asana and finally, our current favourite, Wrike – they all have their perks and it’s really about weighing up their functionality, features and costs to see which will be the best fit for your team.
List, list, list
Whilst we just explained how much we love to use the apps – we must utter a word of caution. Unless you’re going to regimentally add your daily, new and recurring tasks into the app then you’ll need to keep track of things on your own too. Here in the office we all have a good old fashioned, paper notebook. Each morning we detail exactly what we need to do in that day, and we tick them off one by one – using our app’s to-do list as a helpful reference.
One tip when it comes to lists, is to make sure they’re not overflowing. You need to be realistic about what you can achieve at the start of every day, and you also need to not be hard on yourself if you have to carry some of the less important or urgent tasks over to the next day. If you can, try to summarise your work tasks into ten actionable tasks that you can carry out over the course of the day – unless you have a larger project to hand, the ten point rule is normally a great one to follow, whatever your industry or expertise.
Define your priority – but don’t necessarily complete in that order
It might not be the most important thing to do in the day to schedule a meeting for next month with an important client, but it might be the quickest one to do, so get it out of the way early. We tend to work on smaller items in a morning, catching up from the evening before us and sifting through our email inboxes whilst ticking off some of the more routine, lower priority tasks. Adding a new blog, managing the social media pages for new comments and interactions, optimising the PPC account bids… followed by a hearty lunch of some fabulous brain food, and then an afternoon where the real, lengthy tasks take place. Briefs, planning, development, outlines, whole campaigns – these, to us, are afternoon tasks when our brain is awake and our minds can be entirely focused.
We find that working in this way helps us to focus on the larger, more important tasks at hand without niggly worries about other smaller priority items because they’ve all been completed in the morning.
Do you have any tips for working more cleverly, and being more productive this year? Let us know!