Although effective time management is a skill that anyone can benefit from learning, it is especially vital for creative design, branding and marketing agencies that complete work on behalf of clients. As these businesses typically bill by the hour, time really is money – and every minute spent working on a project counts. This means that for any agency, it’s key to ensure that you’re not just able to successfully deliver your clients’ objectives, but that you are able to do so as efficiently as possible.
Agency life is known for being exciting and fast-paced, with each and every one of your clients having specific deadlines that your team will need to work to. These can also be subject to change as quickly as they’re given – and often overlap with other projects you’re working on for different clients. This means that for agencies, managing your time effectively can make all the difference between retaining your existing client base, as well as having the capacity to take on exciting new clients.
However, client retention isn’t the only concern for agency owners. Although many people enjoy working in a dynamic environment, juggling multiple client projects and deadlines can quickly cause them to become overwhelmed – and eventually lead to burnout. Fortunately, by taking a few steps to help your employees practice more effective time management, you can help them to better manage their priorities and achieve more by working smarter, not harder.
Check out our time management tips for marketing agencies (and any other agencies that work with clients) below…
Most of us can relate to the scenario of sitting down at our desks at the start of the working day and not knowing which item on our to-do list to tackle first – leading to a delay in anything being started in the first place. Using this time to set daily goals can help you get off to a productive start by giving yourself clear aims to work towards and hold yourself accountable for achieving. Even if it’s something as simple as ‘create a content plan for the month’, writing your goals down will keep you motivated by acting as a visual reminder of what you want to accomplish.
Ayoa’s team pulse dashboard is a great tool for everyone in your agency to keep track of what they want to achieve or what they’re planning to work on each day by adding status updates. We recommend making it a habit to update your pulse at the beginning of each day with a list of what you aim to accomplish, so you have a visual record of this. You can then keep checking back on this throughout the day to ensure you’re staying on track.
The best thing is that because every member of your team can see each other’s pulse updates in a central dashboard, everyone always is kept in the loop of what each of their team members are currently working on and what their key priorities are at any time. You can even add comments to other users’ pulse updates if you need more information or want to offer help.
Whether you set up and manage PPC campaigns or produce content in the form of blogs and web pages, when you work for an agency, it’s vital that the time you spend on each task is spent wisely to ensure that every client receives the right amount of attention and that they’re getting good value for money. However, even if you’ve done something a million times before, it can be tricky to estimate just how long this takes – and this information can be vital for reporting back to your clients or managers.
Setting a timer when you start working on a task will help you to identify if you’re actually being productive in the time you’ve allocated for it. So, if something is taking longer than needed due to a lack of inspiration, you can step away from what you’re working on and take a quick break, or move onto a completely different task and come back to it later. It can also be helpful to see what types of tasks typically take the most time to complete, so you can determine if more time needs to be allocated to particular clients.
Inadequate planning is one of the main reasons that organizations have poor time management. In a similar way to not having set goals, failing to properly plan a big task or project before you begin working on it can stop your productivity in its tracks as you don’t know where to begin. This is especially vital for any agencies that work with clients as planning the work you’re going to complete with the actual client will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what will be delivered and when.
By having all the information you need from the get-go and ensuring that this is organized in one place, you can avoid unnecessary delays which can negatively impact not just your productivity, but your client’s results too. In Ayoa, there are a number of free premade templates to help you plan a project effectively, in the way that suits you – including a Client Project Brief template that has been specifically designed for design, branding, and marketing agencies.
This whiteboard template can be used when you sit down (virtually or physically) with a client as it can be easily shared with them by inviting them to the board, plus they can easily make edits and add their own suggestions. It also includes sections for you to quickly make a note of all the important details – such as their project overview, target audience, budget, objectives, and more.
How many times have you had a meeting that could have been an email? When you work in a large team, it can be easy to fall into the trap of having meetings for the sake of meetings when you could be chipping away at your to-do list instead, especially now that a large proportion of office employees are now working remotely. According to a recent study, the average worker typically has 8 meetings per week, with 41% of these lasting between 30 minutes and an hour. However, 47% of workers said they felt that meetings wasted their time the most at work.
Although it’s important to regularly catch up with clients to provide feedback, request information from them, check that they are happy with your work and generally maintain great relationships with them, before you plan a meeting with your in-house agency team, ask yourself; what is this meeting going to achieve, and is it really necessary? If you need to ask a member of your team a quick question or check where they’re at with a project, sending them an instant message will ensure you get a fast response without interrupting them from a pressing task.
Ayoa makes it easy to stay connected with your teammates, even if you’re working remotely. As well as the ability to collaborate on idea and project boards and add comments, it has a built-in instant messaging feature, Ayoa chat, so you can easily have one-on-one conversations and group chats as you brainstorm and analyze ideas, plan projects and organize your work in the same app.
When your to-do list seems to be growing by the minute, it can be difficult to step away from your desk and take a quick break. Although you may think it’s more effective to continue with a task until it’s finished and feel guilty taking some time out, research shows that having regular short breaks when working (sometimes referred to as ‘microbreaks’) will enable you to refocus your mind and improve your concentration when you return to the task at hand. This can help you to work more efficiently, as well as make fewer mistakes.
If you find it easy to get absorbed in your work and forget to take breaks, then using a timer to allocate a block of time to work solidly on a task before grabbing a coffee or walking around the block to clear your head could offer the perfect solution. This technique is called ‘time blocking’ and is favored by the likes of Elon Musk and Bill Gates. When doing this, try to keep your time blocks for tasks as concise as possible – according to a study, the most productive employees work solidly for a period of just 52 minutes, before taking a quick break!
Ayoa gives your team everything it needs to manage time more effectively by prioritizing your to-dos, keeping track of your deadlines and better planning your work.Get started for free
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