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Five Myths About Productivity—Debunked

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Marketers often feel overburdened and stretched too thin. But why do marketers feel that way? And can they do something about those feelings?

According to Richard Whitehead of AtTask, some factors contribute to that feeling. "Probably the biggest is the constant requests that come in from both inside and outside the organization," Whitehead states. "Research shows that in-house creative teams complete as many as 4,000 projects every year. In addition, many of these teams either have fewer resources or they have new resources that they have to train."

In addition to having massive workloads, marketers face many barriers to productivity. The biggest ones are unproductive meetings, inaccurate reporting, long approval processes, random requests, overflowing email inboxes, use of multiple tools, distractions, interruptions, and fire drills.

Marketers can eliminate the barriers and then feel less burdened by their workload, Whitehead contends. By busting the following myths, marketers can become more productive.

1. Structure kills creativity


Marketers—and especially designers—are creative by nature. They argue that having too many processes is constraining and takes away from time that could be spent creating, but the truth is that without the right structures in place, you lose more time than you gain.

In reality, developing a complete creative brief and execution plan will allow marketers to be more creative and productive.

2. Saying yes is best

For most in-house creative teams, saying no is difficult. We want to be nice and helpful. We think that taking on impromptu tasks is no big deal because we can get them done quickly. But too often, when you say, "Yes, that will only take a few minutes," you may be doing more harm than good. What you thought would just take five minutes quickly turns into an hour or more—distracting you from your most important work.

Unplanned projects and work derail productivity. Saying no allows you to stay focused and productive.

3. Adding resources increases output

Handling huge workloads is the No. 1 challenge of in-house creative teams. We're sure you've heard or even said, "We need more resources, we just don't have the bandwidth," when projects start to run behind. We think that with more resources, tasks will get completed faster, work will be shared better, we'll have fewer late nights, and more projects will get completed on time and on budget.

More resources, however, isn't always the magic answer. The phrase "nine women can't make a baby in one month" applies here.

4. Busy is the same as productive

Attending meetings and putting out fires on top of your regular workload can keep you very busy. Unfortunately, being busy often doesn't mean that you are actually getting work done. And even when you are, it may not be the right work.

In reality, 30% of the meetings you attend are a waste of time! Busy work, such as meetings and answering email, often distracts people from getting the most important work done.

5. Email is the best way to collaborate

Most people assume email is a great tool for collaboration because it's simple, flexible, and universal. But email usually has the opposite effect—creating silos and information overload. "Let me send that to you again so it's at the top of your inbox" is a phrase we've all heard. However, an email inbox is often a place where ideas, documents, and critical requests get lost.

Here's a startling fact: The average worker spends 28% of their week managing email. Email has created an information overload that is a serious drain on productivity. Using email for the "right" things will allow workers to more productively attack their goals and projects.

For more information on how more resources aren't necessarily the magic answer to your overburdened Marketing department, please join MarketingProfs and AtTask on Feb 18 for a free seminar The Dangerous Myth That Adding Resources Increases Output—Busted!


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Corey O'Loughlin is a marketing manager at MarketingProfs. Reach her via Twitter.

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