Hey Jo,

I’m drowning in deadlines at work.

The pace has been particularly fast for a while now, with multiple campaigns and events happening at the same time. I’ve got lots of different tasks on my plate, and it seems like I’m always playing catch-up to complete them all.

I need to manage my workload more effectively, but I’m not sure where to start. What can I do to keep on top of my deadlines?

Thanks,

Deadline Dana.

 

Dana, it’s good that you’re asking these questions.

After several years as the only marketing operations person in my company, I understand how tricky it can be to catch your breath. When your day-to-day involves a constant scramble to meet deadlines, you’re left with little time or energy to reflect on why that’s the case.

When the heat is on from mounting deadlines and expectations, I’ve found there are usually a number of dynamics at play.

From my experience, you want to think about ideas like how to:

  • structure your work
  • communicate with your team, and
  • stay on the same page using the systems you have in place.

5 ways to manage deadlines:

1. Plan in advance

Rushed turnarounds tend to arise from poor planning, so as eager as your team might be to get the ball rolling with campaigns, don’t implement without a solid plan in place.

Start with a target launch date, then budget how much time you’ll need to sort out all the steps, dependencies, and approvals to make that viable (be generous).

Share that plan a good distance ahead of your deadline, and you’ll be in good shape to deal with any setbacks.

2. Prioritize your tasks

List all the responsibilities on your radar ahead of each day. Then, focus on the most urgent items to keep your projects on track.

Start with any low-effort tasks that take less than 15 minutes. This strategy can shorten your list and make you feel accomplished.

Then switch gears to take on the more demanding work.  The less pressing items on your list are good candidates to put on the back bench or delegate.

3. Have ongoing check-ins

Proactively reach out to your colleagues to figure out ways of dealing with heavy deadlines.

Schedule regular chats with your manager about bandwidth. Talk about where your time’s spent and what your capacity is.

Also, schedule progress updates with your stakeholders on what’s on track and what’s at risk. This gives you an opportunity to surface any workload issues and collaborate in good time on a solution.

4. Get outside help

You only have so many hours in the day.

Outsource any tasks you don’t have the resources to handle effectively. Getting time back for more important tasks is money well spent. (Psst… see how we can help).

 

5. Implement transparent systems

To prevent excess deadlines from coming all at once, your tech should make it easy to understand where your teams’ activities and requests fit together.

A central project management tool, campaign calendar, and dedicated channel to submit requests can all accomplish this.

You’re in a stressful position right now, but you can easily turn it around. The more proactive you are with planning and communication, the better you’ll get at keeping deadlines under control.

 

You’ve got this,

Jo Pulse.

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