Intern Insights: Simplify your Workday
We live in a world where time is always of the essence. It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO or a stay-at-home mom, there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. While challenging tasks are great sometimes, I think it’s safe to say that most people would be open to time saving tricks that make their life easier. Ian Lurie recently posted an article on Conversation Marketing called “22 ways you’re making marketing difficult.” While some of the mistakes applied solely to marketing, many of them could be applied across many different careers. Here are a few I found particularly helpful:
- Scheduling meetings without agendas. Schedule meetings with a clear, focused agenda. Set a hard stop time—when you reach that time, end the meeting.
- Not researching existing solutions.
- Not asking for help/waiting too long to ask for help.
- Never pushing back. The client just added another 10 features. 1 day before launch. Maybe this is a good time to say ‘no?’ Sometimes that leads to an argument, or even gets you fired. There’s no way around it: You can give in, suffer, and produce a crappy product, or hold your ground, create something extraordinary and/or be a happier person. If you’re really scared, and work at an agency, get some backup: The project manager, your boss, whatever. I bet they’re on your side.
- Always pushing back. On the other hand, arguing for 45 minutes over a 5-minute change might not be the best use of your time. Try to keep that in mind.
- Not taking a break every day. Walk out of the office for 5 minutes. It makes an amazing difference.
- Not keeping a task list. If you don’t have a list of ‘next actions’—simple, one-hour-or-less tasks that are next up on the agenda—you’re probably wasting a lot of time. Try it, just for a day.
- Burning the midnight oil. All the time. We all have deadlines. Sometimes I work until 1 AM. But even I, the utterly psychotic insomniac, take a break after that. If you work 18 hours days, seven days in a row, you don’t impress anyone. All folks remember is the result. Which, I’m sure, would’ve been better if you’d had eight hours’ sleep between coding jags.