By Brenna Lofquist, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

I discovered a pattern with most of the blog posts I write for our Heinz Marketing blog and it’s they likely are written based on experience but, that’s the best way to learn whether it was a positive experience or a not so great experience.

Here at Heinz Marketing we are a small but, mighty, team and we manage a decent number of clients at any time. I am being vague and either way, this might not sound like a lot or you might not be impressed but, that’s not the point. You might not be a marketer like me, maybe you work in a totally different industry but somehow you have stumbled upon this blog post, I can assure you you’ll still relate.

I am going to be honest in saying managing multiple projects for different clients is something I have struggled with. You’ve got people emailing you all day, deadlines to keep track of, meetings and/or calls to attend, brainstorm sessions with your team – you’ve likely got a million things running through your mind. In addition, how do you stay productive and make the most use of your time?

I have read many articles online in an attempt to figure out the best way that works for me and while I’m still trying to fine tune that, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the ideas I have discovered along the way.

To-do lists

This is probably the obvious one but there are a few things built into this. The first is when you create your to-do list. I recently started creating a weekly to-do list every Monday before I start my work day. I think through the different client projects or deliverables I need to work on that week, keeping in mind the days I might have meetings with the client, and from there I map out a plan for what I’d like to accomplish on certain days or which days I will spend my time working on a particular client.

Then throughout the week, at the end of my day, I’ll create a to-do list for more specific tasks I want to accomplish the next day. I say throughout the week because this is still a work in progress and not something I do every day but, I’d like to get in the habit of doing. This is especially helpful because you come in the next day with a plan already in place. I find it easier to get focused on my work right away. The point is, try out a few different things. If you are struggling to maintain a daily to-do list every morning, then try writing one as the last thing you do before you head home.

The second part is, how you organize your to-do list. Before, I would just write down each client I was working on and then the deliverables for each, but it was basically just a list, there was no prioritization, just a list. This might sound so simple, but we all know the satisfaction you can feel from just creating a ‘to-do’ list or just a plain old list. There’s a sense of accomplishment or productiveness from that so take it a step further and make it a little more actionable. I started to break up my day by the morning and afternoon and within those two blocks, I’d look at my prioritized to-do list and then decide what I was going to accomplish during those times. This helps me because even if I have meetings throughout the day, I’ll likely have a chunk of time in the morning to work on things and same with the afternoon.

Another thing I have tried to fine tune is how to maximize my productivity. Here’s some helpful tips I have discovered:

  1. I turn off all my ‘toaster’ notifications like email or Slack. I found it really distracting and it made me feel like I had to attend to the message right away, pulling me away from whatever I was working on. I even turned off the sound notifications for my email, I only see the little mail icon on my menu bar.
  2. I plug my headphones and listen to some quiet music – some of my fav playlists on Spotify are Deep Focus or Chill Tracks. It helps me to listen to relaxing quiet music, I find myself able to be more productive. Also, it’s become an unspoken rule at Heinz Marketing if someone has their headphones in, we try not to bug that person and instead send them a Slack or email. If it’s urgent obviously that’s different but, especially for things that don’t need a response right it’s easier to just send them a message.
  3. I try to utilize all the time in my day. There are definitely times where I take breaks but even if you have 30 minutes in between meetings, use that time to accomplish something really simple that doesn’t require much thinking. This is something I have really tried to get better about because otherwise you’re just wasting away time.
  4. Something I have tried that boss man, Matt Heinz, told me about is the pomodoro method. You set a timer for 25 minutes, or longer if you’d like, and immerse yourself in one task for that period. If you think of something else you need to do, write it down. After the time is up take a short break and continue the process.
  5. Lastly, I turn my cell phone on do not disturb so I don’t get any notifications that could distract me. I also have left my phone in my bag that sits on the floor at my desk. This keeps me from seeing it and wanting to pick it up every 5 minutes to check for notifications – out of sight, out of mind.

You’ve probably heard of some of these, maybe you haven’t, or maybe you used to and could reintroduce it back into your routine and it will have a positive impact. I’m sure this list will change, and I’ll discover more ways to be productive and better ways to manage multiple projects but for the time being, I am happy with my routine.

How do you prioritize your list of to-dos’ and what have you done to ensure productivity? Let us know.