Pretend for a moment, if you will, that you’re the captain of a big pirate ship on the open seas. Every day you have to swab the decks, check your charts, and finish a plethora of other tasks. Everything’s fine until a big ol’ shark comes and attacks your vessel. Are you gonna continue spending your entire day as you did, swabbing, checking, and so on? Or are you going to take that shark head-on until he’s “finished”?
You’re gonna show that shark what you’re made of, DUH!
Okay, so a big project at the office and a shark attacking your pirate ship are a little different (not in our dreams, of course). But the basic concept’s the same – when you’re handed a big project, you sometimes have to drop what you’re doing almost entirely. But you can’t literally drop everything! There’s a reason you do what you do, and that doesn’t just disappear when an important assignment comes along.
So what do you do?
You go to your trusty work table of course! If you don’t have a work table, or don’t even know what I’m talking about, I’ll explain what it is and how to make one. It’s essentially just what it sounds like: a table that shows what you should be working on and when for each day of the week. It’s a breakdown of all the tasks you normally do, amalgamated with whatever less ordinary things you have to do. And all you need is Microsoft Excel! Let’s look at a part of mine for example:
This is one of the sheets in my work table called the “Social Post Table”. Here, I have the schedule to all of our social posts for the week, laid out in an easy-to-read, and (gorgeously) color-coded lay-out. On the top rows of the table, each of the platforms has one section in each hour’s time slot. Grayed cells define a time when nothing is posted. Colored cells define a post that has an image, video, or other media attached to it. If you notice, most of them are colored cells. That’s because if you want a post to be good, you’ll need a good piece of media attached to it.
The white cells define any post that’s written in real time, like a tweet associated with a current trend, or the posting of an article that’s relevant at a specific time. The bottom rows of the table are for whatever image, video, or other media will be posted along with the text. Simple, right?
This methodology can be applied to any work table you might have need of! You don’t need to be a social media manager to use something like this: it can be used by anyone for anything. So if you’re having a hard time managing your time, just take some time and plan it out. As you can tell from that last sentence, you have more time than you think. And the benefits will be great.
However, when those sharks come alongside your pirate ship – and believe me, they will – move things around without them getting lost forever in the open sea.