Productivity tips from Ragan’s Top Women in Communications honorees

Advice from Ragan’s Women in Communications Awards Dynamic Do-ers.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day to get things done — but some people seem to make those hours stretch a bit farther.

That includes the winners of Ragan’s Women in Communications Dynamic Do-ers award. These women have productivity down to a science to accomplish more in their day and pull in big results.

Ahead of our awards ceremony in New York City on Feb. 28, we asked the Dynamic Do-ers to send us their very best productivity tip. This is what they said, lightly edited.

Andrea Chávez Wittman, manager, external communications, Children’s Health:

Schedule time on your calendar to check things off your list. This could include scheduling 30 minutes to an hour every day to respond to emails, return calls, etc.

Céline Heemskerk, head of internal and executive communications, EMEA & LATAM, Palo Alto Networks

For me the best approaches to efficient time management are to:

  • Stay focused on the bigger picture — this prevents me from getting lost in the details.
  • Know when speed is more important than detail — let go of perfectionism!
  • Understand the people I am working with, so I can better partner and collaborate towards achieving common goals.

Golden tip: Don’t fall for the “just one more…” trap. Know when to leave your desk and close your laptop – set boundaries around logging off times. Strive to be balanced. Avoid burnout!

Zoë Hutchinson, VP of community and agency communications at Cayuga Centers:

My best time management tip is to schedule 30 minutes each morning for checking emails so that you can start your day knowing what’s in your inbox.

Also, I block 4-5 p.m. each Friday to tie up loose ends for the week and set goals for the following week.

Marisa Lemen, senior manager, communications, Chen Med:

Always plan your next day the day before with a priority pyramid that pinpoints the top 3 things you need to accomplish. Even if you day gets completely derailed, you know the 3 things that need to be accomplished regardless.

We all do our best work in the morning, use that time to tackle your hardest projects.

Bethridge Toovell, director of external communications & social media, Campbell Snacks at Campbell Soup Company:

At least once a week, I get up earlier than usual and tackle whatever is being neglected: my inbox, that project I’ve been meaning to get to. Or it could be personal (laundry, a friend’s birthday present). Not only are my kids still asleep, everything is just quieter early in the morning so I’m better able to focus.

Michelle Wargo, Director of Communications, Community Legal Services:

The best way to handle time management is by utilizing the tools available. Block out time on your calendar for your tasks, use websites like Trello to track your projects, and don’t be afraid to tell others who may request your help that you have higher priority jobs that need your attention first.

See the full list of Ragan’s Women in Communications award winners here.

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