manage your to do listEvery communications director has a to-do list a mile long, and it gets longer every day.

What’s the secret to keeping that list in check? It’s all about creating a workflow for ideas BEFORE they make it onto your editorial calendar or to-do list.

Here are three tips to get you started:

Idea Parking Lot and a Process to Clear It. Just because a great idea has been voiced doesn’t mean that it has to be assigned to you or anyone else immediately. Come up with a holding pen or parking lot for new ideas. Then create a process to get items out of that parking lot. This process should be a series of filters or tests that an idea has to pass before it’s assigned. Get more specifics in this post.

Learn to Say “No” or “Yes, But Not Yet.”  Many communications directors are can-do utility players with a healthy dose of people-pleasing. That means saying “No” to requests is hard. But you must! There are lots of ways to diplomatically decline to take on an idea. Here’s a list — pick a couple and start practicing!

Distribute the Workload. Maybe you should have a piece of the work, but not all of it. Think about who should be responsible for what, and discuss roles and responsibilities with your team. Here’s a model I like. 

Preventing tasks from getting on your to-do list is the best way to keep it from growing out of control!

Please share any other to-do list shortening tips you have in the comments.

P.S. Join us for a two-part webinar series on streamlining your communications workflow on November 7th and 9th, 2017.