I am really pleased to be back with fresh content this Autumn after a short break over the summer. I also have some news – for the next 6 months, the podcast will have 3 monthly episodes that will combine into one theme, hopefully with a guest episode ‘deep dive’ and some useful tools and insights.
It’s a trial I am doing based on feedback for longer episodes. I didn’t just want to do longer episodes in the same format, so I am switching it up a bit and would love to hear what you think!
I hope you like it.
Kicking off in October we have a theme of communication, well-being and productivity in the workplace;
– Why autumn is a good time to focus on productivity as we all get asked to do more (with less)
– A ‘Deep Dive’ on Wellbeing, Communication and Change with Jo Twiselton
– How AI is impacting our teams and tasks in real-time; and how to use this to your advantage
So let’s dive in with this latest episode shall we?
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Full Transcript (Unedited)
Over the years, I have tried, succeeded and failed to gain a balance, and it continues to be a struggle now the children are older and need much more of my time and mental and emotional capacity, which equals headspace.
I rely on life hacks, so things that make my life simpler.
I am always on the lookout for doing things better, not harder. It’s one of the reasons I am self-employed, as I can make a difference working smarter, not harder. Managing time and productivity, I have found, is a huge part of this, and there are lots of tools I have found and used that have helped me.
There is also a lot of pressure In today’s fast-paced business environment, and as PR and Comms managers we need to constantly improve our personal productivity just to keep up, or ideally, to stay ahead of the competition.
So first off, here are three effective ways to increase productivity at work:
- Utilise the Eisenhower Matrix: This time-management technique helps prioritise tasks based on urgency and importance. The matrix is divided into four squares on a grid:
– Square 1: Urgent and important tasks that require immediate attention
– Square 2: Important but not urgent tasks that can be scheduled for later
– Square 3: Urgent but less important tasks that can be delegated
– Square 4: Neither urgent nor important tasks that might be dropped or postponed
By sorting tasks into these quadrants, PR and marketing managers can better allocate their time and focus on what truly matters.
- Apply the 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle): This principle suggests that 80% of results come from just 20% of efforts. By identifying the most impactful tasks, managers can optimise their time and energy on these high-ROI activities while minimising less productive ones.
- Set SMART goals: PR and marketing managers should establish Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals for their projects. Having clear objectives serves as motivation and provides a roadmap for success while ensuring efficient use of time – I have recently implemented this in a client briefing form to help deal with requests for work that only meet business objectives.
– Use the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritise tasks
– Determine the top 20% high-impact activities with the 80/20 rule
– Establish SMART goals for better focus and motivation
By implementing the Eisenhower Matrix, leveraging the 80/20 rule, and setting SMART goals, PR and marketing managers can significantly enhance their personal productivity at work.
Secondly, I thought i would collect together some tools so you can create your own personalised ‘productivity stack.’
The approach to productivity and planning:
- MIT first (Most Important Task)
- An accountability buddy
- Take a regular break and reward yourself with something; hot chocolate, lunchtime swim, whatever
- Saying “No”
- Snooze your notifications / turn off social media
- Be kind to yourself / don’t beat yourself up
- Time blocking
- Eat the Frog – I don’t use this one, but it’s similar to MIT is why
- The Pomodoro technique
- Eisenhower Matrix
- 2 minute rule
- Productivity planners/notebooks – structures my day and helps me work through what’s important and needs to be done. Goodbye, long rolling ‘to-do’ lists! Here’s mine!
Tech tools or ‘stack’ that can help you:
- Focus down by using timers – Get the Pomodoro Timer online or buy a tomato!
- Using translation services Translation instead of typing up notes; Otter and Rev.com
- Campaign planner or ‘to do’ planner that works for you – I like to visualize my tasks; Asana, Trello are great for this, or Lister for making notes
- Calendly – take endless emails out of the process! I link to it in my email
- Pocket – save and read later once it’s filed you are free to carry on with what’s important rather than being side-tracked by it
- Scheduling; for instance, Buffer, Calendly, Social Bee
- Evernote, notes; Notes on my phone is a lifesaver. I just take notes on the go, add photos, and pdf them to myself or others post-meeting. Long gone are the days of typing up complicated notes
- Toggl, Clockify
- Google Docs and sheets and file synchronisation – saves time on saving and storing files, attaching to email etc and also make collaboration smoother and quicker – amends are easier to track also.
Finally, these advancements in AI have the potential to greatly enhance personal productivity and overall wellbeing. AI-powered tools can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, allowing PR and marketing managers to focus on high-value activities that contribute to their professional growth and job satisfaction. Taking out daily scheduling tasks, calendar enquiries, planning streamlining and other tools like AI chatbots which can handle routine customer inquiries, for example, free up valuable time for comms managers to work on more pressing things, personal development or strategic initiatives.
So what new tools are you going to try this Autumn and skill-up on? What is the #1 thing that you are going to do to get more done?