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Profit & Growth Tips for Digital Agencies

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5 Productivity Hacks for Busy Agency Founders

Posted by Nicolas Jacobeus on Aug 17, 2016


As a digital agency founder, you’ll have lots of demands on your time: requiring you to wear lots of different hats that require different skills and types of work.

With so many conflicting responsibilities, it can be difficult to know how best to organise your time. You can spend a whole day rushing around to meetings and calls and replying to urgent client emails, and when you get home in the evening you realise you’ve been really busy, but not done anything truly productive all day.

So today I’m sharing 5 hacks that I use every day, to reduce time spent multi-tasking, and to increase my productivity.

1) Split My Week Up

With so many different areas of responsibility, it can be easy for agency founders to get overwhelmed by their To Do list. To combat this, I like to split my week up according to my different responsibilities – for example, dedicating one day to Sales, one to Marketing, half a day to HR and another half-day to finance.

This means that on any one day I’m less likely to feel like I’ve got hundreds of things competing for my attention, so it’s easier to concentrate on the work I’m doing – and I get more productive work done, rather than spending time worrying about everything else I could be doing.

2) Split My Days Up

During the day, I use timeboxing to help me focus on specific tasks at specific times. Personally, I use the Pomodoro technique, where I work on one specific task or type of work for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break.

This divides my days into distinct timeslots, and forces me to concentrate on one thing (or a group of smaller, similar things) at a time. I might dedicate one timeslot to responding to emails, or a couple of timeslots on a particular afternoon for client calls.

3) Delegate

A huge part of being productive as an agency founder is learning how to delegate, and sharing tasks among your team. Thankfully, as a digital agency founder I get to work with an immensely talented team every day – and chances are, you do too. In fact, as my agency’s grown, I’ve spent less time day-to-day doing the work, and more time on strategic planning to facilitate the work being done.

4) Automate

Having the right tools is crucial. It’s amazing how much time you spend on things like arranging meetings or writing emails – and how much of that can be automated to earn back valuable minutes in your day.

Tools like Calendly are great for diary management, and text expanders like aText are good for speeding up email writing by templating common phrases. Additionally, I use tools like Zapier and IFTTT to connect apps I use so I can work more efficiently, and avoid the ‘switching cost’ of alternating between tools.

5) Remove Interruptions and Distractions

If you’re distracted from your work, it can take up to 23 minutes to get back on-track with what you were doing. Three distractions a day can cost over an hour of productive work time, so I’ve taken lengths to cut down potential distractions:

  • No unscheduled phone calls – if my work phone rings and I’m not expecting a call, I won’t answer it. The call will go to voicemail and I will allocate time to listen to and respond to voicemails later in the day.
  • Turn off notifications – on my desktop and my phone. Every little ping from my phone distracts me from what I’m working on and eats in to my productive work time, so I’ve manually turned off everything non-essential. I also keep my phone on silent.
  • Don’t look at emails until after lunch – this gives me the whole morning to work productively without the distraction of unread emails or client requests drawing my attention.

These can be difficult for new clients to get to grips with – knowing they can’t just call me up whenever they’ve got a problem – but I always make sure there’s someone on the team who is available to help in case of an urgent request or problem.

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