To say life as a marketing manager can be hectic would be putting it mildly. With so much going on and distractions popping up every five minutes, you may feel like you need to go into complete isolation in order to actually get anything done. In fact, that’s exactly what that crazy scuba-like contraption is for in the photo below: Hugo Gernsback’s 1925 invention "The Isolator" makes the wearer deaf to all outside noise, limits vision to a tiny window, and even has an oxygen hose.
Before you go out and buy an Isolator for every member of your marketing team, try these simple strategies for promoting productivity, improving meetings, and encouraging creativity.
Instant Productivity Boosters
- Block out creative time on your calendar where you unplug completely. Turn off email notifications, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, etc. Just make sure your team knows when you’re free to be interrupted so they're not stuck waiting for your input.
- Delegate. Assign tasks based on strengths, or skills you know your team members want to sharpen. It'll keep your top performers from being overloaded and help your whole team improve and stay engaged.
- Review lessons learned so you can continually improve your process and become more efficient.
- Save articles and inspiration in a Wrike folder via the Chrome extension instead of emailing them to your team as you find them. It'll cut down on interruptions and distractions while your team’s focused on the task at hand. Review your inspiration folder at the beginning of a new creative project to kickstart a productive brainstorming session.
- Give your team time to engage in “unnecessary creation” — Todd Henry’s name for exploring possibilities, picking up new skills, and working on side projects or experiments. You never know what cool ideas, skills, or side projects will benefit your daily work.
- Clarify goals and how each person contributes. When every team member knows their importance, they are more likely to get the job done and done well.
- Streamline communications and simplify processes. Take a good hard look at the way your team functions and reevaluate whether every step and approval is really necessary.
- Prioritize based on your strategic marketing goals, and set fake deadlines for yourself for extra motivation.
- Add more color to your office. Yellow is particularly good for stimulating creativity and optimism.
- Encourage people to listen to music through headphones. It'll help them focus and get in the creative zone.
- Provide pens and paper so people can doodle, mind map, brainstorm, write by hand, or easily pick up and head outdoors.
- Embrace work naps. If your location permits, a quick, 15-minute snooze improves creativity, memory, learning ability, and helps prevent burnout.
Meetings & Brainstorming Sessions
- Keep meetings short and only invite the necessary people to attend.
- Take it outside. Short meetings, brainstorming sessions — head to the park or go for a short walk while discussing new possibilities. Fresh air and light activity will make your brainstorming sessions more productive, and you’ll get better-quality creative ideas.
- Start meetings and brainstorming sessions with something fun, like a funny YouTube clip. People are more productive and creative when they’re in a good mood.
- End meetings by stating who will do what by when.
- Set at least one day a week as a "no meeting" day where nothing is scheduled.
Quick Miscellaneous Tips
- Stock your office kitchen with healthy snacks and drinks instead of junk that will lead to a food coma or sugar crash.
- Automate tedious tasks, use marketing automation software, or create templates for routine tasks, documents, and email messages.
- Stop multitasking. Instead batch similar tasks together to quickly knock them out.
- Schedule a set time to deal with emails and other requests, instead of dealing with interruptions as they appear.
- Use an RSS reader to quickly catch up on marketing news and blogs you follow.
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What are your best marketing shortcuts and productivity tips?
Share what works for your team in the comments below — we're always looking for new tips!
"The Isolator" photo credit: A Great Disorder