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Cintia Miranda Cintia Miranda
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Work smarter, not harder

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How time management is directly related to success

If you are a small business owner, you probably wear many hats. In my position I am the lead marketer, sales rep, HR contact, QuickBooks bondwoman and more. In short, if it needs to get done, I make it happen. On the other hand, as a working mother, my time with my child is also priceless. I treasure our evenings together and try my very best not to bring work home and if work comes home, it gets done after my child's bedtime. Therefore, making efficient use of my time is a major priority every day of my life.

This year, my agency has penetrated a new market and launched two new services. As with any new product or service launch, we're going through the learning curve process and working very hard to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. Our workload has increased significantly, as well as the number of marketing activities aimed at the agency itself.

Although I have always considered myself somewhat organized, I have recently adopted a new routine to better manage my agency's increasing capacity. It's not only made my life a lot easier, but also helped my agency become productive and profitable.

Before I leave the office each evening, I list my priorities for the following day. This way, I'll remember them first thing in the morning, while my mind is fresh and most productive.

Each morning, I answer all of my emails first thing, and then close my inbox until lunch time. After lunch, I close it again until just before I leave the office. It is amazing how disruptive emails can be. I have been able to accomplish a lot more during my work hours since I began to check my emails only three times per day.

I work as many phone calls as possible into a schedule. Client phone calls are priority, of course, and I answer those as they come in. However, as a marketing agent, I also get several calls a day from other companies who are trying to do business with my agency or with my clients. To avoid too much work disruption, I ask solicitors to send me their information via email. Then, during my next scheduled email check, I review their messages and respond with either a time for a phone call or a brief explanation for not being interested at that moment.

If you're small like me, you have the luxury of meeting personally with all of your employees. I meet with my staff individually once per week to go over their to-do list. I help them prioritize their work, provide feedback, and brainstorm ideas to help them overcome their challenges. This whole process usually takes 20-30 minutes per employee, and it goes a long way toward making sure projects are well coordinated and completed on time.

I check my own work progress every day around 3 p.m. The middle of the afternoon is a great time for me to assess where my projects stand, because if anything is lagging behind, there is still time to catch up before the end of the day. This process also helps me prioritize my workload for the next day.

I exercise at night with my child. After dinner, we go out for a run or bike ride, no more than three miles. It's great quality time together, and it's just enough to clear our minds, break a sweat and pump some oxygen into our brains. And while it isn't directly related to my marketing job, it certainly does wonders for my well-being and my productivity the following day!

I do my marketing 'homework' at night. I subscribe to several magazines, and always have a stack of marketing-related books on my nightstand. I have been making a point to read all of my weekly magazines before the next issues arrive (this is easier with monthly publications than with weekly or bi-weekly ones). I usually tackle my books on the weekends.

It is amazing how much I have been able to accomplish since making these minor changes to my daily routine. I have become more creative, effective, productive, and profitable in my business. I have also found more time for my personal life and even picked up an evening class this fall.

The truth is, time management is directly connected with your business success. If you allocate time for all of your tasks and only focus on one task at a specific time, you'll most likely complete the task well the first time around. The same applies to your marketing activities you need to focus and dedicate time to them in order to see the fruits of your efforts. Take a moment to evaluate your daily routine and find out what you can do to work smarter, not harder.

Cntia Miranda is the president of Pulse Marketing Agency. Learn more about her work at


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