Go Home Earlier, Get More Done

 

If going home at 5 p.m. seems “early” to you, Saturday and Sunday afternoons are “great times to catch up”, you never seem to chug through your to-do list no matter how long you stay at your desk, and you’re constantly doing battle with Time Vampires (people and things that suck up your time without much mutual benefit), then you probably work in marketing. Or advertising, or PR, or corporate communications.

Things move at the speed of light in our industry, and given the 24/7 pressure that marketers have to justify their efforts (and sometimes their existence), there’s really no such thing as a “slow season”. Does that mean you’re always going to be busy? Yep. Does that mean you have to work round the clock? Nope. If you’re ready to start going home earlier without getting less done, then we encourage you to start with an adjustment of perspective.

“Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”

(With apologies to En Vogue.)

Believe it or not, these righteous words of wisdom from the 90s-era R&B chart topper are directly related to one of the most notorious Time Vampires of all: Ourselves – and our projects.

Most of us, even smart types and open-minded thinkers, have a way of settling into fixed notions about the work we’re tasked with – and we do it pretty quickly. For example:

Let’s say that you’re a senior marketing director for a financial services group, and one of your ongoing projects is a quarterly investors meeting, something you pull off four times a year working in cooperation with your marketing agency. The venue, the meeting format, the way the meeting is promoted, the PowerPoint deck that’s created, the swag bags placed at each seat, the packages that are sent as follow ups – all of these are time consumers for you and your agency. And that means that you should always have an open mind about the way they’re getting done and who’s doing them – and whether or not they even need to be done at all.

Emails, expense reports, time cards, technology issues, chatty co-workers, rush hour traffic, late flights, late vendors, late meetings – these are the usual suspects when it come to burning up time. So when people get serious about time management, there’s a tendency to zero in for the kill on these obvious perpetrators first. That’s fine- but don’t stop with the obvious. An open minded perspective about ALL aspects of your company’s marketing program, from the way you hire talent to the biggest event you hold each year – will help foster honest internal communication about the “what, where, when, how” and “do we really need to?” that results in smarter marketing – and more efficient use of your time and resources.

So how else can I use my agency, my team and my other resources to get more done and go home earlier?

We’re so glad you asked! Off the top of our heads:

Stop treating your agency like a vendor.

Technically, your marketing or ad agency is a vendor, it’s true. But have you ever thought about what might happen if you started treating your agency more like a partner, and not just the order taker who “does our media buying” or “does our creative ”? Depending on the agency’s capabilities, you may find that a partnership model gives you access to new levels of their resources that help you do better work in less time.

Declare bankruptcy when it make sense.

You know that mountain of low-priority mail you’re going to through, the backlog of non-urgent email from four weeks ago, and the internal newsletter that’s four weeks late? Toss ‘it, archive ‘em, and start fresh or put it on hold. You won’t ever “catch up”, no matter what you tell yourself, and the time you (or your agency or staff) spends trying to is time that can be invested in higher-priority activities that will actually yield some ROI.

Pull your people out of pigeon holes.

This is a follow up on our earlier nod to the “free your mind” anthem. Do you always need to be the one who preps the marketing presentation for your annual meeting? Maybe your agency can help. Does you always need to be the one who writes speeches for the CEO? Your agency might be able to help with that, too. Or maybe your marketing coordinator is a really strong writer, even if that’s not what you hired her for.

The point is: The more you’re willing to look past the boundaries of job descriptions and ask yourself “Is this really the best use of my time or someone else’s time,” the more likely you’ll find yourself putting the right people on the right projects, including yourself.

Related Articles:
“Does Having More Marketing Agencies Equal Better Results?”
“The 3 Types of Advertising Agencies”
“Desperately Seeking Clarity: How To Prioritize In A Sea of Chaos”
“7 Ways Data Can Reduce Unwanted Business Surprises”

Our Austin advertising agency can help you get more done in less time. Let’s talk.