I’ve received 25 new emails in the last hour, the phone seems to ring every time I put my earbuds in, calendar notifications litter the corner of my screen, and to top it all off–that little red voicemail light on my phone is still blinking. Is it Friday yet?
Settling into a new week can seem overwhelming, especially when you’re being pulled in ten different directions. Balancing client needs with my own is an art form in itself. So, how do I stay focused when the stakes are always high and my time is often short?
Process, Procedure and Organizational Know-how
At Ashworth Creative, we rely heavily on tried-and-tested processes and procedures. They help keep all team members (both internal and external) organized, on task and the project on track. When a job lands on my desk, I know exactly how the workload will be distributed. Being able to make those types of decisions without additional meetings and discussions makes the project significantly less stressful right off the bat!
The Ashworth Team is Like a Well Oiled Machine
Communication and managing expectations are crucial when working and relying on a team to bring a project to completion. How do I keep my type A personality from freaking out? A production schedule. It allows me to know within seconds exactly when a project will move from one department to the next and it clearly states what the client is accountable for and when I can expect any assets they may be providing. Utilizing a strict sign-off policy along with the production schedule helps all parties involved avoid wasting time through having to circle back around to a previous stage in the process. When juggling multiple projects at one time, these documents are key. While our creative work invites exploration, creativity, and imagination, our project management philosophy provides the structure and procedure to ensure that, from A to Z, every i is dotted and all the t’s are crossed.
Taking Pride and Ownership of Our Work
I, like many others at Ashworth, wear many hats. Whether I’m taking the lead as project manager/designer/developer, creating a marketing strategy or even researching for content development, there are so many ways to be involved in a project at any given time. Collectively, the Ashworth Creative team has well over 30+ years of experience in design, development, and marketing, producing showcase work for a wide range of industries that each bring unique and challenging considerations to the table. We take pride in being able to create the best solutions. Each one of us takes ownership of our work. The knowledge and skill set that the team possesses allows me to have full confidence that whatever is presented, can be accomplished above and beyond our client’s expectations – even winning them awards.
7 Things I do to Stay Organized Throughout the Week
1. Keep My Desk Clean and Uncluttered
At any given moment there are multiple beverages, invoices, meeting agendas, color-swatches, wireframes and sketches on my desk, it piles up fast. I make a point to take 5-10 minutes every few days to sort through and organize it all. Filing what I need and recycling the rest. Boom! Clean, clutter-free workspace. (Also, running a disinfectant wipe over everything makes me feel a bit better – especially during flu season).
2. Prioritize the Emails in My Inbox
One could compare the way I treat emails like the way someone might screen their phone calls. If an email pertains to a project I am currently working on or contains assets I’m waiting for, I read those first. I try not to overwhelm myself with information until I need it, like promotions or revisions I may not be ready to work on. There will always be unread emails, and I’ve learned that that’s okay.
3. Check in with My Team
Most of the projects I work on involve another team member. It’s really important that I check in with my team in the morning for a few reasons:
- I am able to see what their workloads look like and whether or not I can push anymore work their way.
- It gives them a chance to ask questions that need to be answered (by me or a client) before moving forward on a task.
- If they’re ready to review work that has been completed, it allows me to schedule internal and external meetings accordingly.
4. Create a Loose To-do List
My to-do list for the day usually starts off with things that are outstanding from the day before or a task I need to finish early on like preparing for a meeting, compiling and distributing notes from a previous meeting, really anything that I can get done quickly. Next are the big projects. Whether they are internal or client-facing, I determine the priority based on the project timeline and production schedule. I have weekly meetings with a few clients that I’m able to plan ahead for and spend more time preparing for over the course of a week, such tasks usually float at the bottom of my list until completed.
5. Get Down to Work
Now that my desk is clean, organized, and I know what needs to be accomplished, I can dig my heels in and get down to work. I try and work on one thing at a time (hardly ever a successful endeavor, but I try). Setting a simple goal such as I will get this done before I look at my emails again or before I eat my lunch really helps to keep me focused on that task at hand.
6. Clear My Head
When I eat lunch I don’t work. I may sit at my computer and ogle beautiful kitchen designs, but I take a break. If it’s a nice day out I’ll walk around the block. This allows me to really separate from my workspace and clear my head.
7. Wrap Up My Day – Plan for Tomorrow
Checking my emails right before I leave gives me a little preview of what I’ll be dealing with the next morning. Writing down anything I need to remember to address, clearing my workspace and asking anyone if they need anything from me before I go home, allows me to leave without stressing over my list of to-dos while I’m away from the office.