Optimizing your schedule is important for making the most out of every workday. It’s true no matter what your profession is – public relations professional, CEO, parent, teacher – since every minute you save allows you extra time for yourself, your family or another client. But, prioritizing goals to maximize your daily schedule isn’t always easy. How can we create a better routine that sets ourselves up for marketing success?

A number of years ago, I spoke with a colleague about ways to be more productive and efficient. We started talking about The Ivy Lee Method, a 100-year-old strategy that has been proven to help people save time and reduce wasted energy. Under this method, you should focus on one task at a time, going from most important to least important, until you have accomplished your whole list. Any unfinished business should be moved to the next day’s list of six tasks. Consider this… before leaving the office, write down the five or six most important things you want to accomplish the next day. List them in order, starting with the most important task and remembering not to list more than six items. The result will be a schedule that eliminates indecision and wasted time, and forces you to focus on just a few tasks at a time.

It is an interesting approach, but one that this writer finds a bit tricky in an industry where multiple accounts are seemingly always on deadline. And, when client requests that have me listing “master juggler” as skill on my resume, I desire a daily routine that blends structure with a bit of flexibility to get in the right marketing mindset each day.
Here are four tips, using the Ivy Lee Method as the foundation, to help jumpstart your PR day.

  1. Read. Seems basic but keeping up with the day’s headlines can easily get pushed aside by more urgent tasks. Start your day by browsing the headlines, reading trade industry news feeds and checking up on the competition. Look at your accounts’ social activity or even peek at your clients’ personal Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn activity to see if there are any hot issues or trending topics.

    Whether during your morning workout, commute to the office or even during those 10 minutes you are prepping a morning shake, you will find it prepares you to engage in conversation. What’s more, it sets you up to learn something new. In the PR and digital marketing world, there is no room for stagnation. There is always something new around the corner or an up-and-coming influencer that may just be the voice you need for a campaign!

  2. Prioritize. Remember the premise of the Ivy Method. Refine your list and focus on what is necessary. By having a clear, concise to-do list, you will be one step closer towards tackling a new media plan, designing a creative campaign proposal or locking in a media win.
  3. Journal and Assess. Throughout the workday—and especially before heading out for the evening—evaluate your work. For me, having a journal and day planner creates a clear picture of what needs to get done before the end of the day or week puts my mind at ease.

    Truth be told, a journal also allows me to write down ideas as they come to me, brainstorm on the fly and even visually map out content ideas mentioned in passing or during internal team meetings.

  4. Take Risks. Understand that the marketing landscape is constantly shifting, as are consumer demands and opinions. What is trendy and working today may not work tomorrow. Rather than get frustrated, prepare to measure, listen and learn from campaign results. Moreover, get inspired and talk to other marketers or partners to discover new ways to innovate, shift your thinking or delve into a new approach.

What tips or daily routines would you add to this list? Do you have the right daily mindset for marketing success?

About the Author: Deanna Killackey is a senior vice president at L.C. Williams & Associates in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter or connect via email at dkillackey@lcwa.com.

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