Everyone in your organization has an opinion about marketing. The end result of your work is visible and influences how others perform. People with no background in design will (try) tell you how to make an image better, they will ask you to create presentations (that might not be used), to record videos (that already exist), and to write more articles with ChatGPT. I have seen many people who are new in a marketing role that got overwhelmed so here is advice on handling your workload in a marketing function.

Monday is for planning

If you don’t plan your tasks in marketing, you will lose overview and probably get a mental crash. So, you need planning. For a junior I would recommend at least having a weekly schedule, intermediates should have a quarterly schedule, for seniors I would recommend having a year plan and for marketing managers, it is important to know where the organization wants to be in 5-10 years and break it down in years.

Okay, so for the entire marketing team, it is important to have a weekly schedule. By using a planning tool (Monday/Jira/Trello) you will be able to create a kanban board of all the tasks. During planning you will have to look at:

  • Open tasks (how many hours do they take);
  • If there is more room, what is the priority of tasks that are not started (and how much time do they take);
  • Select your tasks and schedule them in your calendar (or write them down on a to-do list).

If you are with more people in the marketing team, discuss your planning on Monday. This will allow you to ask for or offer help.

Use your calendar

I’ve seen great marketers who used a notebook to write down all their tasks and who managed to schedule them in their minds (impressive). But I’ve always been a huge fan of using the calendar for the following reasons:

  • If someone wants to schedule a meeting, your time is blocked for something that has to be done;
  • Your colleagues can see what you are working on;
  • You can search in your calendar to see when you worked on a task (great for creating annual/quarterly review presentations);
  • You will be able to batch similar tasks and create differentiation in your week;
  • Leave some space for informal meetings and unexpected tasks;
  • You can use it as a to-do list and make items green if they are finished, if they are not green you can easily reschedule them to next week.

What you hate or fear should be your first task

The best way to handle challenging tasks is to dive in head first. Do them as soon as possible so you have less time to think about how terrible the task is. I’ve always done this with administrative tasks, the sooner it’s gone, the better I feel. The same goes for difficult conversations, the longer you think about them, the more difficult they will get. Prepare your conversation and do them as soon as possible.

Manage marketing requests

‘Hey, could you make a presentation about our customers in area x?’ Such questions are not uncommon for marketers who are just taking a bite of a lovely sandwich during the lunch break. So, you want to streamline those requests, as most of these requests can be ‘lazy-requests’. A lazy request is something that I’ve identified in the past 10 years as people who come up with an idea, spit it out, and expect you to create magic. If you do create something, it will usually end up in their download folder and will stay there for eternity.

Here is how you handle these types of requests:

  • Create a Marketing Request form (using a tool like Google Forms, Jira, Monday.com)
    – In the form you want to include: Title of the request, the Person requesting it, the Goal of the request, the Audience for the deliverable, the Distribution method of the deliverable, the Description of what they want, and the Due date for the deliverable.
  • If someone asks for a marketing deliverable, ask them to fill out the Marketing Request Form
  • Make sure that everyone in your organization has access to the form
  • After they submit the form, prioritize the request (for example by discussing it in your planning meeting) and communicate to the requester if you have enough information, when you will start working on it, and when you expect it to be finished (make sure to always leave some days between your expectation and what you communicate, in case of sickness/unexpected tasks with higher priority).

Eliminate time wasters (reduce meetings)

Identify which activities consume time but don’t significantly contribute to your marketing goals. For example, if you are posting on all social channels, make sure that those channels are effective. If not, it might be better to reduce your activities by focusing on fewer channels.

The same goes for meetings. Often people schedule meetings to structure their own thoughts. This is a waste of your time. So make sure to prevent people from scheduling meetings about anything with you by asking loads of questions before they schedule the meeting. If they want to discuss a plan, ask them to send a presentation about their ideas upfront so that you can prepare. This will not only help you both from useless meetings, it will also allow you to consult colleagues or experts enabling you to give better insights in the meeting.

Review and adjust your schedules

Last but not least, review if your marketing planning is effective. Are you reaching your goals? Are you strict but not too strict? Are you able to finish your work during the day? Are you thinking about your work at home? Look at the marketing metrics and ask for feedback from your colleagues.

Having a good balance between work and life is important to maintain your energy and creativity. If you notice someone who struggles with their planning offer to help them in creating a structural approach as it might impact their private lives to a greater extent than you can imagine.