I think it’s a safe bet that we’re the agency that can say, “we’ve got it covered.” We have a strong grasp on what needs to happen to get the job done, and I’m confident we do it well—we make it mean something along the way. But making it mean something for our clients is only part of the mission. In some cases, it’s just as important that it means something to us—individually and as an agency.
But the ability to say, “We’ve got it covered” while still making it mean something, does not come without trial and error. We’re consistently working to optimize the way we handle our time and the way we tackle projects, one-by-one, until they are packaged and successfully pushed out. So, how do I get through the day and ensure everything is complete? Well, I will share.
Making Lists for Other Lists and Even Bigger Lists
I think list-making is a trait that my mother taught me and, luckily, it correlates with my job. I’m probably borderline OCD when it comes to lists. But—they work.
To me, a list ensures your attempt to do it right the first time. Excessive? Maybe. But, I won’t ever miss a task.
It’s very easy to arrive each morning, sit down and immediately start delving through the day’s tasks (after cross-checking the 18 lists). We have, in our mind, to make every second of the workday count. So, in an effort to be a team player and make sure the collective task of client success is top priority, we ask around. We offer assistance. When we’re between tasks, waiting on client feedback or have some downtime—we offer our help to lessen the weight on our shoulders.
Every so often, when things don’t go our way, curling up in a fetal position under our desk sounds enticing. Work can be stressful, no matter what the profession. But when all you do is wallow in self-pity and negative conversation—isn’t that exhausting? It does nothing more than waste time. While we all need that (and deserve) thirty-second breather, it’s better when it’s productive and you’re expressing it to someone who can help. You’d be amazed at how much positivity can come from a negative situation—you just have to look for it.
Take Your Time
Another lesson I learned from my mom, “Take your damn time, Jennifer!” Luckily, I grasped this one pretty early too. You know, before becoming an adult with a big-kid job and responsibility. While the days may be jam-packed, taking your time makes a world of difference. How many mistakes are made when we’re rushing? How much time is wasted when we constantly have to revisit work to make unnecessary edits? It really does mean something—to the client and your team—when you can nail it in the first couple rounds.
It’s important that our days of ever-changing tasks and deadlines have a resounding theme of thought and meaning. It’s important to do those mundane tasks of going through old email and file folders—even if it just keeps our sanity. It’s important to stop when the going gets tough and reevaluate why we do what we do. It’s because we care, right? Because we want to see our work make a difference.
So what’s the first step in the plan? Make a list, of course.