The Hectic Holidays: Best Practices For Staying Organized
It’s the most wonderful time of the year with the holidays around the corner. However, for businesses, often times this means the busiest time of the year. Clients are trying to hit budgets and close out projects and for us, this means everything is due, all at the same time.
At INK, we are busy finishing 2017 with a bang while trying to maintain balance and sanity and do everything in our power to help our clients do the same. When things get busy and chaotic, it’s easy to throw your organization and processes out the window for the sake of getting sh*t done. But this is actually when organization matters most – during times of chaos.
Here are some guiding principles from us for organizing our clients’ priorities and our workloads now and throughout the year:
- While tempting, avoid multi-tasking. Did you know that despite the numerous gadgets and apps that help us get through our days, research suggests that only 2% of people can multitask effectively? And that focusing on more than one thing decreases your productivity by 40% and lowers your IQ by 10 points according to Harvard Business Review? (Read more here).
In the communication industry, and particularly in the client service industry, multitasking is a natural part of the job. Especially when we have various tools and ways of communicating with each other these days – Slack, Skype, email, phone, etc. etc. However, we have to do it smartly. At INK, we try to practice mindfulness on a daily basis (meaning we don’t multi-task in meetings, we give our clients our undivided attention, etc.), but this is especially true during the hectic holidays. When in doubt, focus on the project at hand. You’ll be more efficient and effective.
- Clear Communication is Key. With the holiday slow down quickly approaching, clear communication with clients on a daily basis is critical. Over communicate is our moto – meaning being very clear about when items will be done and sticking to those deadlines. This is a guiding principle at INK year-round, however when stress is high as client deadlines are looming, this has never been more paramount. Also, best practice if you can swing it, get things done EARLY. If a client expects something on a Friday, get it to them on Thursday. And do this while not sacrificing quality. They’ll be appreciative that you prioritized their work above all else, hopefully reducing stress on their end, and you’ll be freed up to work on other priorities. A win, win situation.
- Lean on Your Team. It’s often hard to juggle the chaos. At INK, we stay clear minded by not only prioritizing, but by leaning on each other when it matters most. When one client demands all of our attention, we seek the help of our teammates to get us through the frantic times. Over communication plays a role here as well. Not only do we over communicate with our clients, but we over communicate with each other in terms of bandwidth, stresses, deadlines, and status updates. If someone can’t take on a new assignment, we figure out who can, all the while being open about our limitations. It might be corny, but we live by teamwork makes the dream work.
The end of the year is fast approaching but if you maintain focus, keep your eye on the prize (here’s looking at you, 2018), and keep your organization best practices top of mind, you’ll get there gracefully and can help your clients do the same.
Side note: friendly reminder that at the end of the year, it’s an opportune time to organize and clean out your inbox from the past year. Here are some oldie but goodie tips for seeking email clarity.