Time. That inescapable, elusive marker reminding us all of its passage and the urgency to use it well. It is a call to action that either motivates or scares the pants off of you. Depending on your constitution. Since there is never going to be enough of it, the critical question becomes how best to use it. It’s precious, and finite. And you want to use it as efficiently and effectively as possible. This maxim holds true whether you’re a soccer mom planning your day or the CEO of a large corporation masterminding your next big achievement. Both require careful organization, planning, the ability to prioritize, and room to accommodate the unexpected, that sneaky devil always seeking to topple the best-laid plans for a smooth task-to-task transition.
So, just how do the experts and media giants handle the issue of time management? What magical powers do they possess allowing them to perform at peak levels of efficiency with seemingly effortless aplomb? You’ll be pleased as punch to learn there is no secret formula. It’s as simple as creating a grocery list. Alright, I get that you’re not shopping for the latest bargain on baby gerkins, and the sale advertising two for one doesn’t impress you. Still the method remains the same. Instead of a list of produce and dairy items, yours may encompass meetings to attend, demanding clients in need of attention, calls to return, metrics to decipher, or future accounts to plan for. While the specifics and variety of the list may differ, the need to stay organized and prioritized remains paramount to any successful endeavor.
How then exactly do social-media geniuses utilize something as timeless as a list to their advantage? Allowing them to track their activities and maximize their talents and efficiencies? Is there a science to it or is it just a chaotic mumbo jumbo that somehow falls into place as the day progresses? In reality it’s both. And it’s neither. It’s whatever works best for you. How you organize your list will largely depend on how you function most comfortably. If you’re a typical “Type A” personality, and super organized, your list may have lists of their own. If you have a more casual style, an easy numerical list might be just the ticket. Or, maybe you’re like the creative geniuses over at Hootsuite (do check out their social media templates) who have a unique way of getting back on track from a week-end absence with a list designed to jumpstart a dreary Monday morning. By beginning their day with time allocated specifically to the art of relaxation and cruising rival sites, batteries are recharged, and people are ready to attack the week with a renewed sense of vigor and focus.
While our moniker might suggest something of an aggressive demeanor, here at Mad Jackal Media we’re actually a pretty laid-back group. We prefer keeping things uncomplicated and straightforward without compromising what are often overwhelmingly task-filled days. We believe allowing folks the freedom to design their own individualized “to-do” list creates a more harmonious atmosphere. It also fosters a greater sense of engagement and ownership that might be stifled in a more traditional work environment where employees feel monitored and micro-managed. In this respect a list becomes more than just projects and tasks to be eliminated, and instead speaks to a level of trust and respect from management. Always a good thing. And always appreciated.
Some social media managers function more effectively working from a relatively loose framework. The media gurus at Buffer have found that a list broken down by day, week, and month works perfectly fine for them. While simple, each serves a very specific purpose in achieving the same result–minus the stress. Simplicity doesn’t always lend itself to beauty, but it always makes life easier.
For those more comfortable with a strictly formalized and stylized agenda–perhaps your disposition thrives in a highly structured environment–you might be a potential Hubspot devotee. These creative mavens at Hubspot have designed what I think is perhaps the most rigorous and ambitious attempt at staying organized. This is a serious take-no-prisoners list. It is hard core, and definitely not for the faint of heart. If you have a devil-may-care attitude you might want to stop reading. This is not your kind of list (you’re probably a Buffer person). You must be firm, and resolute. You respect your time down to the last minute. By having each task meticulously broken down into segments (ranging from 5 to 15 minutes), “Hubspotters” feel that less than one hour, when well-orchestrated, is time enough to keep pace with their busy schedule. While some may find this tight schedule restrictive in its minutiae, individuals requiring a strict construct and pattern to their day find their reward in the knowledge that nothing has been overlooked or left to the vagaries of a precarious memory. Surely this method must remain a work in progress.
While elements from one source may make you cringe, others will delight you. I can’t fault anyone who sanctions time devoted to relaxation and puts it on a list. So, you take what makes sense to you, and you tsk tsk the rest. And the happy reassuring truth is this … there is never going to be just one right way to do the same anything. And the same anything is the same thing for all of us. Getting the job done. Hopefully with minimum grief and maximum joy.
And hey, pay it forward. If you have any thoughts on the subject drop us a line. We’ll put it on our list.