JP's Production Manager, Mark Lawrence, gives us some time management advice!

A Production Manager’s Perspective on Time Management

Time Management and Productivity

There’s one thing that we all have an equal amount of within a day: time. 24 precious hours to not only handle all the various tasks that the workday has in store, but also to participate in the activities we enjoy, and to take care of all those mundane tasks that are apparently necessary to keep things in order as a responsible adult (overrated, I know).

A Day in the Life

As production manager at JP Marketing, time is certainly at the forefront of my mind with each new project. How much time is required to get it complete and when is the deadline? What team members will need to be involved and how much individual time will each of them need to complete their assigned tasks along with completing their current tasks in progress? These are just some of these questions that are pieces of the puzzle that I aim to fit together to ensure that our clients’ projects are completed on time, not to mention on budget.

As with most things, as you gain experience in a position, you develop a method that works best for you. Personally, and thanks to JP’s Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), which allows us to work anywhere at any time, I have developed a style that fits me well and runs outside of the typical 9 – 5 workday. My day usually starts around 6:30 am with a cup of coffee and rifling through emails and Slack messages that may have come across from the previous night (I’m not the only night owl in the office.) As schedules get mapped out, morning requests will start filtering in which will be tackled as well. With an early feeling of accomplishment, and with the morning still cool, I typically take a morning run with my two loyal, four-legged running companions who are anxiously awaiting me to grab my running shoes.

Mark Lawrence's, JP Production Manager, two loyal, four-legged running companions.
Mark Lawrence’s, JP Production Manager, two loyal, four-legged running companions.

Feeling energized upon return, the late morning and afternoon typically consist of a few internal meetings, schedule adjustments, assigning more new project tasks and vendor conversations. Not to mention the occasional hot project that pops up from time to time that needs to be shoe-horned into all the other things in the hopper. Having spent a good portion of the afternoon taking on these requests, I like to head out of the office and get a workout in before heading home. It’s a great way to relieve stress after a hectic day and get moving again after being in front of a screen for hours on end.

After arriving home, having dinner and spending time with the family, I’ll make one last run-through of the emails and Slack messages that may have come across over the past few hours. I enjoy this time since it’s quiet and it allows me to get caught up on all the day’s requests and to start the next day with a clean slate.

Here are some other tips that I’ve found to be helpful to stay on schedule and productive:

  • Respond soon to messages that are quick to answer so you can get them off your plate. The recipient will appreciate the fast feedback as well.
  • Assign rules to your incoming emails so you can quickly reference what category they belong in (E.g., clients, co-workers and vendors). File them in sub-folders so you can reference them quickly when needed.
  • Knock out the quick and easy tasks first. That will give you a sense of completion as you head into the tasks that require more time and effort.
  • Be proactive in scheduling meetings with others to discuss future projects. If a project isn’t due until weeks or months down the road, it could get lost in the shuffle with it being out of sight, out of mind and put you behind schedule once it’s noticed again.
  • Use your calendar to schedule as much as you can. If an event is within a week of it initially being scheduled, set up a reminder at least two hours before the event so that you can prepare. If the event is outside of a week, set up a reminder a day before the event as just that – a reminder, then reset the reminder for one hour before the event to gather any other last-minute items you may need.

Obviously, my system may not work for everyone, but it’s important to find one that works best for you in order to make the most of your time and keep you on track, so experiment with different methods. There are hundreds, if not thousands of books and articles on time management that can provide countless tips.

Live stream of Production Manager, Mark Lawrence, managing projects
Live stream of Production Manager, Mark Lawrence, managing projects.

Now, I must admit, I did request a deadline extension to get this blog submitted. It’s not that I didn’t find time to do it, but I don’t write blogs on a regular basis, so I wanted as much time as possible. See, deadline negotiations are a time management skill as well.

Mark Lawrence | Production Manager