7 Time Management Tips and Tools for Your Agency Katie Culp Time management is important for any business, but it’s especially important in the agency world where time is money. Making effective use of time helps to ensure that client campaigns and deliverables are finished on time, which in turn ensures that clients are happy and likely to offer up repeat business. Even knowing this, however, many agencies have problems managing time and keeping things progressing at an even pace especially as client counts ebb and flow. While there are a lot of ways to approach the time management issue, it typically doesn’t require any drastic changes to your workplace. Instead, you can implement strategies to improve time management little by little. Here are just a few ways that you can improve time management in your office and get everything running much smoother in no time. Set Goals Every Day There are few things that will get your employees on-task faster than having them set goals every day before they begin working. These don’t have to be large, far-reaching goals. Instead, have them set goals for just what they want to accomplish that day. Each goal can be broken down into milestones, giving the employee achievable steps that will move him or her toward that daily goal at a reasonable pace. Use a Timer Setting a timer can really help your employees stay on task, provided that the timer is set for reasonable time increments. This can be any sort of timer, from a standard kitchen timer to productivity-focused timer software or apps. The goal is to block off small periods of time that the employee can devote to a single task, helping them to avoid distractions by making it easier to put the distraction off until the timer runs out. Try an Activity Tracker If you really want to get a handle on time management in your office, it’s important that you learn where the most time is being lost. Activity trackers are great at that. There are a number of smartphone activity trackers, though you can also use activity tracking software like Toggl and Clockify on your agency computers. Regardless of the route you choose, the programs will help you determine exactly when and where time is being lost and what it’s being wasted on. Consider the 1-3-5 Rule One problem that many agencies have is figuring out how to prioritize different tasks among their employees. The 1-3-5 rule is a potential solution to this. The rule is pretty simple: Choose 1 big task to tackle each dayChoose 3 medium-sized tasks to work on each dayChoose 5 small tasks to work on each day This rule works well in an agency environment as each employee can headline a different task as his or her “big” item for the day, then assist with other projects to fill out the medium and small tasks. This creates a collaborative environment where your employees brainstorm and help stoke each other’s creative fires, while still allowing everyone to take the lead on certain aspects of the workload. By prioritizing the various common tasks of your agency in this way, everything will get done faster without having to worry about who’s going to be assigned which tasks. Take Breaks In some offices, the culture dictates that breaks should be minimized to keep everyone more productive. If you want to get the most out of your employees’ time, however, the opposite is actually true. Frequent short breaks actually improve productivity by giving the mind time to relax between periods of focus. Once the break is over, the employee can return to work with a renewed vigor and will likely get more done during the day as a result. Cut Out the Multitasking Here’s another one that might sound counterintuitive at first. If you want to get more done at work, get rid of the multitasking mindset. But haven’t we been told for years that multitasking is the way to become more efficient on the job? Yes…but it turns out that that’s actually some bad advice. The human brain just isn’t wired for multitasking and trying to tackle multiple things at once largely just ensures that everything takes longer to complete. Instead, focus on a single task until completion and move on to the next task once it’s done. If a task is too large to finish all at once, break it up into milestone segments and focus on completing a segment before moving on to the next task. Establish Accountability If every day starts with setting goals, every day should end with reviewing what was accomplished. This doesn’t have to be a public accounting of goals met and missed, but each employee should at the very least send an email or write a note detailing anything that they had on their goal list which just didn’t get done. This will show you what your employees were working on while also showing them which parts of their workflow might need adjusting in the future.