“Time waits for no one.” Whether or not you’ve heard that phrase before, one thing is for sure – it definitely resonates within the PPC industry.
With our schedules full of so many different tasks, how do you manage it all and make sure that everything is done on time? How do you prevent yourself from forgetting to do important time-sensitive tasks when other things items take precedence? While there’s no sure-fire way to guarantee this, there are some great time management tips that can certainly help you along the way.
Your Calendar Is Your Best Friend
Your calendar probably plays a big role in your day already by helping you remember appointments and meetings. But did you ever go a step deeper and use your calendar as a tool to plan your day-to-day tasks? This tactic has helped me plot when I’m going to be tackling tasks and is also a great way to help me not forget about certain tasks when unexpected fire drills occur.
I make sure that I set myself as “available” when noting the task on my calendar so that those I work with know that I still have availability. Placing the task on the calendar is more of a tactic to remind me of how I want the flow of my work day to go. When other urgent tasks get in the way, I simply look for another time slot in which I can move my task. Besides helping me get things done, this strategy is also instrumental in preventing me from forgetting about certain tasks.
Learn To Predict The Future
There are many times that I’ve found myself rushing to get a task done on time, only to look back later thinking that I could have prepared better for it had I anticipated it. But there are items that come up consistently, whether they’re planned or not. Does your client continually request certain information at the end of the month? If so, don’t wait for them to ask you every month. Rather, anticipate that they will and utilize any downtime you might have to begin that task.
I’ve started to employ this method and it has certainly helped me maximize my down time and alleviate pressure that would have fallen upon me later. As a by-product of this method, whenever I find myself with downtime, I regularly ask myself if there’s anything I can do during that time to get ahead of the game. Taking that small step has helped a great deal in reducing stress.
Gather Your Resources
Another time-saving tip is to strategically allocate your resources. It’s great to have additional resources available when tackling a project, but it’s important to remember to allocate them as early as possible to ensure that those resources will be available to assist you within your timeline. In other words, don’t wait until you’re ready to start a task to seek out resources. Rather, reach out as soon as you become aware of the task so that those aiding you can plan their schedules accordingly. I’ve learned this tip the hard way, as I’ve had the experience of reaching out too late to request the help I need, only to learn that those resources aren’t going to be able to assist me in time.
Plan Your Time Off
Planning a vacation? That’s a great use of your time! But you’ll have an even better time on your vacation if you schedule it when you project that your schedule will be lighter than other times. For example, in my world, the first week of the month is always hectic. Besides juggling my regular account work, I’m also preparing monthly reports for clients, gathering monthly spends and reviewing the reports of others within the department. Knowing that, the first week of the month is probably not the best time to choose to take a vacation.
Being out that week would probably make the week I return extremely busy. If you’ve got the flexibility to choose when you’re taking time off, look at your calendar first and determine whether or not it’s a good time. Otherwise, you’ll need a vacation to recover from your vacation.
Own Your Schedule
As PPC account managers, many of us deal with a calendar full of weekly client calls and internal meetings. When agreeing to meeting times, consider your own calendar and determine if the meeting time allows you to have a productive day. I typically try to avoid meetings on Fridays so that I can use that last day of the week to close all the loose ends from earlier in the week. However, I also need to make sure that I don’t overschedule myself during other days of the week. To ensure I’m not overscheduled, I take a close look at my calendar and try my best to schedule meetings in a way that still leaves me several blocks of time to get actual work done.
No two PPC account managers’ schedules are the same and not all of the tips above will necessarily work for everyone. However, the overall goal should be to use your calendar as your roadmap for the week and work your best to schedule and allocate resources accordingly. Taking small steps in time management can make a big difference in your day.