By Lindsay Marcaccio
As communications professionals we often find ourselves juggling multiple projects and deadlines while balancing ongoing interruptions and distractions; it’s imperative we stay on task to finish the job. Who better to ask than our own experienced IABC/Calgary board members what tactics a busy communications professional should use to stay focused?
A tip that came up multiple times was to schedule time in your calendar once or twice a day to check emails, and to turn off those pesky notifications. This way you are not losing focus by switching back and forth to answer incoming mail. Brandi Wright co-director, career services, uses the categories function to create a task for each email as she’s going through her inbox. This helps her prioritize answering them. As long as you are consistent in responding to emails in a timely fashion, you shouldn’t worry about checking your inbox less frequently.
IABC/Calgary’s president Natasha Qereshniku starts her day by blocking one hour to review industry headlines and prepare for any meetings she may have. Kristy Dixon co-director, member communications (web), tackles one smaller task first thing; it’s a good warm up to her day. On the other hand, Wright prefers to finish the “worst” task on her to-do list so she isn’t dreading it all day.
Rio Pisony, director of marketing, takes a more holistic approach to time management. Her focus is on energy management to make the most of her days. This means knowing when it’s time to rest when she isn’t well, scheduling regular workouts to stay energized and recognizing if you are more productive in the morning or evening. Her other tip is to schedule phone or video calls when possible to save time on driving and parking.
There isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to time management and staying on task. You need to find what works for you and don’t be afraid to ask others who have more experience what success they have had. As Dixon commented, “time management is a skill and something that requires practice and attention, not just reserved for people new to a role.”