A lesson in productivity from a full time a certified ad-hoc specialist

My name is Marisa Malts, I’m the Director of Account Services at IOI Ventures, and this article is going to show you how I get sh*t done.

I’ve been working at IOI since the start - back when we had five employees and just one Slack channel, and every employee was doing a little bit of everything. As one of IOI’s first AM’s (that’s industry slang for ‘account manager’, btw), I was able to help figure out what this role looked like and how it could positively impact our clients. 

So what does an AM actually do? 

Basically, AM’s work hand in hand with up to 5 different clients to understand their wants, needs, and overall goals. After meeting with a client, they use their marketing toolbox to establish strategy,  translate their notes into tangible objectives, and then delegate tasks to different members of the IOI team.

Long story short: clients tell the AM what they want to accomplish, and the AM rallies the troops to make it happen.

An anonymous source once said, “Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.” I’ve got no clue who said that but it’s a quote that rings especially true in the world of being an account manager, so for all intents and purposes I’ll just credit the quote to good ol’ Jared Antista.

So without further ado, here are 3 methods I use on a day to day basis to help me get sh*t done. 

 

The Ivy Lee Method 

I’ll preface this by saying that there’s an entire backstory on this guy named Ivy Lee. It’s a good read, but I won’t bore you with the details. Here’s his method in a nutshell:

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks - otherwise the ghost of Ivy Lee will come and haunt you. 
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

This method was crazy useful when my husband and I launched our company, Bloodline Hockey. As an entrepreneur, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed with the billion things you need to do to get your business off the ground - but the Ivy Lee method really helps you put things into perspective and “control what you can control,” (another anonymous quote that we can give Jared credit for). 

 

Time Blocking

This one uses similar principles as the Ivy Lee method, but focuses on limiting the time you spend on any given task. Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a list of your top priorities. For conversation sake (and for fear of the ghost of Ivy Lee), we’re going to stick with a maximum of six tasks. 
  2. Create a template for your day that sets a firm time for when you’ll stop working on each task. When that timer dings, you put your hands up and move on to the next task. 
  3. Set aside time for deep work and breaks. Hustle culture is a thing of the past, don’t be afraid to make some ‘me time’ to go for a walk, drink some water, get some sun, etc.)
  4. Add blocks for reactive tasks. Sometimes you’ll need to stop what you’re doing to reply to that email or answer that call from your boss, and that’s okay.
  5. Set your timer and get to work.

Time blocking helps you make smart choices in regards to the priority of each item, the time required to complete each item, and how much time is available to work on each item.

 

The Eisenhower Blocks 

Dwight Eisenhower developed this strategy during his presidency, but I’ve found that it works just as well in the world of digital marketing (even if you aren’t developing an interstate highway network or space exploration programs). 

Use the decision matrix below to separate your actions based on four possibilities.

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate/yeet from your list).

To put it into perspective, here’s an example of a how I used the Eisenhower Blocks this past week:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).

This article had to get written, but there was a lot on my plate this week with current clients, so I outsourced it to a ghostwriter in my network for $25. 

  1. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate/yeet from your list).

The digital marketing game is fast paced, so time management and task prioritization are important skills to say the least. Are you looking for some help from the pros? Click here to get in touch with our team so we can help you get sh*t done.