Learning to manage your time is one of the most common challenges young talent faces when coming out of school. Juggling multiple projects, staying on top of your own schedule, and not wanting to disappoint anyone makes for a pretty stressful situation, so here are 5 tips to help you better manage your time as you gain more experience and responsibilities.
1) Give yourself time to plan your week and day.
Simply knowing what you need to do this week or what's on deck for the day will instantly up your ability to handle your workload. Five extra minutes at the beginning of the day is all you need to assess what needs to be done, and create and prioritize your to-do list. Start your day feeling prepared and like everything's under control—because there will always be surprises that pop up.
2) Identify when you're most productive and prioritize accordingly.
Some will tell you to work on the most important thing on your to-do list in the morning, but that assumes everyone is at the top of their game at 9AM. Figure out what time of day you feel the most productive energy and motivation-wise, and work on the most important things then.
3) Protect your calendar.
Meetings are part of working in advertising and marketing—sometimes too much so. If you have a big project or task you need to work on, block off chunks of your day on your calendar so that you show up as unavailable when others try to schedule meetings. There's no guarantee that a meeting won't still pop up, but it'll help you protect your heads-down time, and also reassure you that you've set aside time to actually work.
4) Go into Airplane Mode.
Sometimes we're our own worst enemy when it comes to using our time productively—there are so many distractions readily available on our laptops and phones. For those times when you really need to focus, put your phone in Airplane Mode and turn off your desktop notifications. It might feel like you'll miss something important, but most of the time, the emails and texts can wait. If you're really worried about being reachable, just give your team a head's up that you're going into Airplane Mode.
5) Overcommunicate about your workload.
When you're on multiple projects working under different managers, you're usually the only one who really knows how much work is on your plate. Be sure to overcommunicate about when you can deliver something, based on your full workload. If it's looking like something will take longer than you thought, tell whomever's waiting for it sooner than later. If you're overloaded, say something and get the help you need, instead of saying "yes" and delivering something subpar.
You got this,