Control What You Can Control

November 16, 2011

For the past two years we have been living in the world of “ASAP”. Every project these days has this due date attached. This increased demand on your time doesn’t help when you have taken on more responsibilities in your job then you have had in the past. But that’s the world we live in today.

Here are some tips I found helpful:

Make a “To-Do” list.  Sounds simple but it can save you from a nervous breakdown when your desk is overwhelmed. Putting down on paper what your goals are for the day, what task you need to accomplish keeps you focused and your anxiety at a low level. If you know you have an additional day or two on a project, add it to your list for the following day. And when you accomplish each task, cross it off! When it’s getting close to the end of the day and your list has a bunch of items crossed off, it’s quite a feeling of accomplishment and again, keeps your anxiety in check.

Find out realistic expectations.  Let’s face it, if you have 8 large projects that are due in an hour you’re not going to get them done. And if you can get them done, it’s probably not going to be your best work. Have open discussions with the issuers of the projects. While you’re asking them the typical questions you would ask anyway, ask them to define “ASAP” as it seems to have a different meaning to each person. Maybe it really means it needs to be done now or maybe it means in a week. I’m not saying calling them and asking them for more time … just find out realistic expectations. You would be surprised at the amount of my buyers 1) just appreciate the phone call asking intelligent questions on the project at hand 2) Are willing to give you an extra day when you have a proven track record handing in quality work.

Environment … If you’re working on a project with a quick turnaround, get somewhere quiet. There is nothing more distracting when trying to hit a deadline than email beeps, IM beeps, cell and office phone going off and people coming into your office. If you can, shut your office door, turn off your email, IM and phone. I know you may want to be reachable, but taking yourself off of the map for ½ hour or hour isn’t going to do you any harm. This will allow you the environment to focus on the project at hand and be able to hit a deadline with your best work. Trust me, it works very well! I call it “SOLITARY LOCK DOWN”!

Brian Samborski is making Greater Media great in his role as National Sales Manager at Greater Media Boston.