In this blog, we share a few tips and tricks that can turn workdays from a chaos-management exercise into measured challenges to ensure you're always winning at work and leaving time for self-care.
I can’t be the only one guilty of getting so caught up with what I need to complete during the day that I forget to take a step back to look at how to do it efficiently. As an Account Manager, I have a never-ending to-do list and found it easy to forget the bigger picture until I read 99U and Jocelyn K. Glei’s Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Implementing just a few tips and tricks have turned my workdays from a chaos-management exercise into measured challenges that ensure I’m always winning at work and leaving time for self-care. Here are my favourite Account Manager tips, for you to try as well:
1. Monitor your energy levels and use them to your advantage
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Take a few days (or weeks) to track when your brain is at its best and when you’re better left with menial tasks and plan your workday around this. You need a particular set of skills to work at a HubSpot consultancy, but thankfully a love for a specific time of day isn’t one of them — there’s room to personalise!
I find that I have the most energy in the mornings, so I block off time to get through the more cognitively demanding tasks first thing in the morning. During this time, I mute my phone and exit my email browser so that I don’t get distracted. When I have less energy, I’ll tackle “mindless” tasks like logging my time or catching up on Slack messages from the team. This helps me use my time and energy levels as efficiently as possible.
2. Become besties with your calendar and stake out time for self-care
My calendar is my daily bible, and it might be yours too. It dictates when I can eat when I am available and when I need to be on calls with clients and the team.
My days used to run away from me and I would hardly have time to grab a coffee — let alone make a meal. I now have dedicated lunch and “fresh air” time booked into the diary, to guarantee necessary breathing room.
Try doing the same for yourself, and treating these break times as sacred. Stay off your phone, ignore your emails and try to spend some time outside. Check out our weekly @hublelife takeovers on Instagram for a taste of what a typical day can be like for a Huble employee (mine involves dogs, mountains and ocean swim!).
Because mornings are my best “thinking” time, I also try to block out an hour or two in my diary and opt to schedule meetings only after 11 am. I know that this is not always possible but if this can happen a few days per week, it's better than nothing! Wherever possible, let your calendar work for you by building it to suit your own working style.
3. Set rules for your inbox so that it doesn’t rule you
Slack, my calendar, and my inbox are what I spend most of my day on. Setting up rules for how and when I engage with my inbox has played a huge role in making me feel like I am on top of the day. Without these boundaries, I’d be scattered all over. Here are three things that have helped keep order:
Assign each client a folder. I make different folders for each of my clients and as soon as I have replied to an email, I put it in the relevant folder. This keeps my inbox uncluttered and makes it easy to see exactly what/whom I need to focus on.
Liberally unsubscribe. I make sure to unsubscribe from email lists that are not important to me. If I do have email lists that I want to subscribe to, I will do it from a personal email account rather than my work one and make sure I only check that inbox after 17h00.
4. Mind your thoughts and organise them to get more done
You’ve structured your workday and tasks around your natural energy cycles, and arranged your schedule to guarantee breathing room, but how do you manage the thousands of intrusive thoughts that spring into your mind and distract you as you work?
Firstly, know that it’s natural for thoughts to arise throughout the day. Writing the thought down at that moment and then carrying on with the task you’re busy with can save you a lot of time! This is how I remove intrusive thoughts from my head, putting pen to paper so that I can return to it when I have finished what I’m currently on.
If you’re anything like me, incomplete tasks stay in your mind and distract you all day. Personally, I find it is much better to finish what I am busy with (unless something SUPER urgent comes up) before moving on to the next thing.
5. Don’t forget to breathe
When I’m writing or reading emails, I forget to stop and take a breath. The more I think about this during the day, the more I realize how few breaths I take when I am busy with work. Not taking in enough oxygen has a huge impact on our health and wellness — it feels like such a small thing (breathing, right?!).
Join me in trying more and more to focus on your breath during the day. For example, I have a little sticky note on my computer which says “breathe” and I use this to remember to take a few deep, spacious breaths while I am busy with a brief, an email or sitting in a Zoom call.
Join a team that values a work-life balance
No amount of Account Manager tips will help if you’re embedded in an organisation with a toxic culture. Similarly, you could diligently be searching for how to be a great Account Manager in webinars, books or blog posts like this one, but nothing will pay off unless your company and team are behind you and rooting for your success.
I love working at Huble Digital, as Huble’s idea of success includes outstanding work and the appreciation of the whole human behind that work (read more about our values here). This means that they actively support you to manage your day in a way that helps you do the best work possible — we have the opportunity to work remotely, for example, and the workday is flexible (around deadlines and meetings of course!).
We’re always on the lookout for top talent, and love to hear from motivated, exceptional people who share the same goals and values. Check out the careers page for current vacancies, and keep your eye out for listings in the Client Services department for exciting opportunities to join Huble Digital at the forefront of digital business consulting.
Virtual ideas to keep your team connected during COVID-19