When it comes to finding tips about time management that can help marketing managers do more, achieve more, and help sell more, there is no shortage of information. But it's to sift through all that data to know what works and what doesn't. Here's list of time management tips for marketing managers that I've found proven to work — and that you haven’t heard a million times before.
1. Get Out of your Own Way
Have you ever spent so much time worrying about getting something accomplished at work that you never actually got anything accomplished? It happens every day, and when it comes to getting your marketing efforts under control, you need to stop stopping yourself from being productive. Sounds easy, right? Well, it is. Just commit to focusing on one task at a time and put your worry aside. You’ll start to find that you have a lot more time than you originally thought.
2. Stop Watching the Clock
What's that saying? A marketing manager that’s watching the clock never boils? No, that can’t be right. Oh right, the saying goes: Stop worrying about the time of day, and get back to work. If you follow the hard and fast rules of a traditional workday, you might never get anything done. For example, most people don’t show up to work until about 9 am, and then, let’s be honest, they aren’t doing anything until they've had their morning coffee and read Facebook updates for 30 minutes. Then break time is 10 am sharp, so it’s back to the lunchroom for a coffee refill. Then, oh look, it’s noon, so now you need to eat lunch and browse social media for another 45 minutes because it doesn’t take an hour to eat a stale sandwich. 2 pm rolls around and it’s snack time, but there’s no point in starting new work now because you’ll be going home in two hours. How are you ever supposed to get things done? Of course this is an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Use your coffee as fuel to plow through a task, schedule breaks, but keep them short, and make sure you have something meaningful to show for your morning efforts before you hit the lunch table.
3. Set Hard Goals
If you want to succeed as a marketing manager, that means you to use your time efficiently. Marketing is a tough game, and it takes real discipline to be good at it. Being good at something means you need to work at it, so when you set hard goals for yourself, you are more likely to become engrossed in your work, and you’ll get more things done. If you never challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone, you’ll remain a marketing manager who never has enough time and doesn’t have results to show for their work.
4. Be Ruthless With Your Time
If you attend a meeting that is scheduled to end at 11 am, then make sure you leave the meeting at 11 am. If you have phone calls to make at 3 pm, make those phone calls at 3 pm. Spending another 5 minutes on something else means you are 5 minutes behind in your phone calls, which means you are 5 minutes behind delivering your projects, which means you are 5 minutes behind getting home for dinner. See how time gets away from you? Stomp out the threats to your time before they consume your workday even more than they already do.
5. Understand your Software Programs Inside and Out
The internet is amazing. Truly, it can make your life easier, but only if you understand how it can do that. Paying a lot of money for expensive project management software or client management software is virtually useless if all you are using it for is a giant phonebook. Get into the dark corners of your software systems and find out how they can really work for you. Don’t do things by hand if you don’t need to.
6. Say No
Give it a try: “no.” There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? If you have a full plate, don’t put more on it. Recognize your own limitations and what you can achieve in the run of a day. If you are scheduled to work 8 hours, don’t work 10. Killing yourself to get a job done isn’t going to help anyone, certainly not you. So get good at knowing your limits and sticking to them. Stretching yourself in terms of a challenge to meet a goal is not the same thing as slaving for hours longer than you have to in order to deliver projects. Learn the difference.
7. Take Ownership of your Tasks and Then Give them to Others
Sure, you take pride in your work, but who said you actually have to do all the work yourself? Devise a system whereby you are the first and last person to touch any product or project, and then find people on your team that are better at these things than you are. Don’t assume you are the king or queen of marketing management. If you have a team, use them. They have a few tricks up their sleeves too, you know.
8. Kick Yourself in the Butt Once in Awhile
If it’s Friday afternoon and you are starting to slump in your chair, get up and take on a new project. Yeah, we know it’s Friday afternoon and that’s practically sacrilege, but if you want to be a rockstar marketing manager who has a solid grip on their time management skills, that means taking on a new project on a Friday afternoon. You’ll be amazed at how quickly and efficiently you’ll work on something just to get out the door that day. Friday is the worst productive day of the week, but you can make it your friend.
9. Take a Break! What?
We’ve given you enough of a hard time about your time management skills already, so now it’s time for you to take a break. We don’t mean every day for 30 minutes, but we do mean that you need make sure you are getting out of your work clothes and focusing on the other parts of your life. Not only does taking a break help you relax and recharge, you are actually more likely to solve problems that have been eating at you all week when you give your brain a chance to chill out. No one can work all the time, and you shouldn’t have to. But if you want to bring your "A Game" on Monday morning, take a break on the weekend. This lets you hit the ground running on Monday, and helps you refocus on your job so you can make the most of your time at work.
John Packham grew up in a family owned business and is now working as the Content Director for Karrass, a company specializing in negotiation training for businesses. John is grateful for the many opportunities he's had to share his passion for business and writing.