May 13, 2019
Hustlers Hustle: How Not to Waste Valuable Time
Q: Who can guzzle a cup of coffee, take a conference call, answer 27 emails, delegate tasks, ponder the Wu Tang Secret, and pet a dog all at the same time?
A: It’s definitely someone who works at your marketing agency. Heck, OUR agency.
Our clients are always trying to stay ahead of the curve of their industries, which means it’s not enough for us marketers to merely address their present needs. We must be focussed on their future needs, too, which requires constant forecasting and planning – and of course, a certain level of hustle.
When you’re hustling, efficiency is to productivity what Sandy is to Danny Zuko: they go together. This means there is simply no room for two hour meetings that could have been one hour meetings, phone calls that could have been emails, revisions that could have been avoided, and gaps in communication that could have been bridged. So in our plight to preserve the hustle – to spend our time getting sh*t done rather than talking about or trying to get sh*t done – we’ve devised a series of tried and true tactics worth considering for use with your team (eh hem: or in some cases, to influence the way you work with a team):
Modernize your tools
If you’ve ever opened a Word document with tracked changes, you already know how painstaking and tedious it can be to work with an outdated and inefficient tool. Consider auditing your tool belt by asking team members how the ones they currently use enhance or disrupt their productivity levels. Once you’ve gathered consensus, ask for input about useful alternatives for the tools that aren’t moving the team in a positive direction. Just make sure you put an action plan into place before implementing any new tools though – otherwise you’re at risk for misuse, a lack of enthusiasm amidst team members, or more time lost.
It sounds obvious, but exceptional communication is vital to the productivity of teams. And yet, it is almost always a top contributor to loss of productivity. Communicating too much creates distractions, while communicating too little leaves team members confused and vulnerable to making mistakes which need correcting later on. To curb these issues, our larger team has a 15 minute ‘mashout’ meeting every Monday where we outline what needs to be accomplished in the week ahead, brainstorm solutions for problems, and address questions. We repeat this process on a ‘departmental’ level daily for 5 minutes while standing up (because if you can’t stand for the whole meeting, it’s probably too long). Put together, this investment of time works out to just 40 minutes a week per team member, dramatically reducing the amount of time spent getting clarification on tasks and projects.
To minimize the exchange of emails, our agency uses Slack: an instant messaging system that is used to send brief, to the point messages to receive instant, to the point responses. (Okay, okay: the occasional GIF too).
Ask your clients for consolidated feedback
Name a more frustrating scenario: you submit a deliverable to a client, feedback is provided, you implement the changes and resubmit, only to receive several more pieces of feedback (often conflicting) from several other people. If that sounds counterintuitive, you should know it happens all the time. Clients are mostly blameless in this arena – their lack of inside information prevents them from understanding how difficult this approach can be – so it’s our job to educate them and ask for consolidated feedback. Incentivize this by letting them know it cuts down on costly revisions, bringing them to their desired outcome at a faster, more efficient pace.
Create a depository of resources
Spending time looking for the resources you need to do your job can feel like playing a reluctant game of ‘Where’s Waldo?’ with a blindfold. It sucks. And it hurts your hustle. Mitigate this issue by creating a depository of resources for your team members which can be accessed from anywhere, at anytime, and can be easily searched. Our agency uses Google Drive to store images, graphics, documents, and more – but there are plenty of other variations out there worth exploring.
In short, good things come to those who hustle.
Set yourself and your team up for success by prioritizing efficiency with tricks we’ve had to learn the hard way!