By Tiffany Monhollon
In my new role, social media is officially a part of my title. And so is managing. These two things along would be plenty to fill the week, but right now, the demands of time mean there’s also a lot more on my plate. Since corporate communications is the other part of my job, I spend a great deal of time on internal and external communications, media relations, and content and project management. Oh, and don’t forget the meetings!
So, I’m putting a plan together that will help me manage my daily tasks better and make more productive use of pockets of unplanned time. I’ll be using three tactics:
- Daily Dozen (idea adapted from John Maxwell: mine focuses on workday).
- Custom Action Item List
- Monthly Goal Meetup
My Daily Dozen
Since social media content, monitoring, and management often gets pushed aside in favor of larger deadlines, immediate requests, and long-term projects, it’s something I am putting squarely on my plate each day. Now, when I have small portions of time, I can go to these items and get them checked off the list more often.
1. Monitor news, Google Alerts, digital media clips & HARO
2. Check and update company Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn
3. Interact or connect with 5 people in social media
4. Approve / respond to comments on company blog
My team is responsible for nine monthly-to-weekly publications, so editing is a major part of my job. We also help with the editing process for our marketing and advertising team to make sure everyone’s on the same page editorially. So, every day, I edit anywhere from 3-15 articles, publications, ads, or collateral pieces. I must admit, keeping up with this pile is one of my biggest challenges these days. Sometimes, just keeping up with the content is so overwhelming, I miss out on opportunities to encourage the learning mentality, the writing and research process for my team because it’s not built into my daily routine. So I’m putting these editorial duties squarely on my list:
5. Edit content
6. Read an article, participate in a live chat online, or attend a webinar
7. Share articles, tips or ideas with team or leadership
Managing all these daily tasks and keeping up with action item lists ongoing is enough to keep my busy. But it’s also critical to take some time in each day to focus on the big picture. This includes follow-up with customers, keeping my team in the loop, keeping myself on task with projects, deadlines, and meetings, and taking time to see how it all fits together. So, here are the big-picture things I want to take time for each day:
8. Follow-up on e-mails, phone calls, requests from customers and media contacts
9. Check in with / encourage my team
10. Manage my action item list
11. Intentional, unscheduled time to reflect, brainstorm, or make decisions
Projects, Meetings & Follow-Up
Managing projects, meetings, deadlines, and follow-up is another big part of every day. To keep track of all the action going on in my day, from meetings to deadlines to project action items, I use a daily action item list, a GTD hack I’ve built for myself to make the system work for me. This is the most difficult part of the day to manage, since the work I need to take action on varies from weekly or monthly deadlines to new projects and proposals. But it’s also critical, because it can be so easy to get bogged down in the rest of the day and miss out on the opportunity to move. So, to make it simple, this last part of my daily dozen is broad yet energizing to me:
12. Take action
You can download a template of my daily/weekly action-item list at the end of this post if you’d like to check it out. Items on this list include I need to accomplish that day or week, like:
- Checking tracking reports
- Team meetings
- Action items on major projects
- Ideas, proposals, research
Since I created this daily dozen for myself last week, I have been pleasantly surprised. I’ve managed to accomplish each of these 12 things (yes, including the action!) every day. And interestingly enough, it hasn’t made me compromise on deadlines or projects. Instead, I feel like I’m making better use of the spare minutes that tend to accumulate, or focusing more on each item as I tackle it instead of letting my attention wander or succumbing to the pressure to multitask. And that gives me incredible daily momentum.
But, I know myself, and over time I’m curious how this system will evolve. So, I’m going to audit my time every once in a while to hold myself accountable and keep track. Several years ago, I created a form I use for this. I break the day down into manageable chunks (30 minutes or so) and chart my progress as I go along. You can download and customize a copy of the chart if you’d like to try this for yourself.
What will success look like? I am hoping this daily dozen will help me better manage my work so I can accomplish some of the goals I’ve set up for myself this September, a part of the new monthly goal meetup my friend Rebecca is putting together for emerging leaders to use as an extra-employment accountability, encouragement, and ideation group.
September Career/Life Goals
1. Read a book devoted to spiritual growth.
2. Make more time for friends and family, celebrating my sister’s upcoming marriage.
3. Create launch plan for new comm program (launching in October)
4. Create a monthly writing and blog outreach plan.
5. Determine plan for completing master’s degree.
The lines between work and life are continually blurred for me. But I see these goals not as distinct phenomena. They’re all related, because they’re all very important – to me. When I’m more in tune with my spiritual needs, I’m better in relationships, at home and at work. When I’m more productive – and aware it – at work, I feel more energized and confident to accomplish my personal goals. When I’m sharing ideas and connecting with people, I am learning and growing more equipped at work.
So, this is where I’m starting, in this now. Will it change, will it evolve? Time will tell. But simply the process of creating and using this daily dozen has already proven to me the power of intentionality. I’m confident these short-term goals will do the same.
The Challenge: Your Daily Dozen
Do these daily tasks hit home with you? Motivated to create your own daily dozen? Simply post them in the comments section or, better yet, post your own daily dozen to your blog and share your post with me by linking to this post or sharing the link in the comments section. Next month, I’ll feature a roundup of all the daily dozen posts that participate! If you want to talk about this idea on Twitter, use #dailydozen and spread the word!
GTD Tip: I formatted and printed my daily dozen and put it in a clear plastic presentation cover so I can mark off each task with a dry-erase marker as I get them done.
By Tiffany Monhollon | September 10, 2009