Work Smarter, Not Harder

Posted by Lori Ryan / February 13

We all know those people.  The work Martyrs.  The employees who send out emails at 1, 2, and 3 in the morning.  Who practically live at the office — and humble-brag about it to anyone & everyone (especially the late night cleaning crew, who are rapidly becoming BFFs with the Martyr.)

In the field of marketing & advertising, we have late nights from time to time.  It is an expected part of the job and can even be a rush, like working til the wee hours on a massive pitch or presentation.  But alas, there is no prize at the end of an 80+ hour work week for most employees.  There is just burnout for the employee & turnover for the company.

A few simple tricks can help you achieve the holy grail of all overachieving employees:  

The coveted (but surprisingly rare) Work / Life Balance.

1. Prioritize

  • Every day, make a list of the tasks / projects / items you have on your plate.
  • Bucket them by urgency into 3 tiers:
    • Must Do TODAY
    • If I Have Time
    • When I Have Time
  • Set reasonable timeframes for the If I Have Time /  When I Have Time buckets so they don’t get buried by the Must Do items.

2. Delegate

  • Review the list & see which items you may be able to delegate to other team members.
  • Repeat after me:  You DON’T have to do it all yourself.  And it’s actually better for the health & growth of the team for people to take more ownership of projects / tasks.  Win / Win.

3. Communicate

  • If you review your day, week, month and realize that, even after delegating tasks, it is too much for one person to handle, tell someone!
  • As employees, we have to speak up if the work load becomes too much to reasonably handle.
  • And as managers, we have to get involved to help employees lighten their work load to a manageable level to avoid the burnout factor.
  • Remember:  We all play a role in helping ourselves and our employees achieve a work / life balance.

4. Manage Yourself

  • Assign time limits to the tasks on your to do list to reign in the time spent on each item
  • Set limits for yourself & your workday – and stick to them!
  • And remember the sage advice, bespoken to me back in 2001 at my very first gig: 
  • We are in marketing, not saving the world or curing cancer.  Let’s keep it in perspective, folks.

Hopefully, these few simple tricks will help you on the path to achieving Work / Life Balance. 

The only downside to more of us achieving this goal--less awesome “I Quit” videos to view during all of our newfound free time!