Optimized productivity is the ultimate goal for anyone who is fully engaged in his or her role. Squeezing out the most results without wasted effort starts with how you approach your goals.

DO LESS for productivity

Claire Diaz-Ortiz was an early employee at Twitter that now works as an author, speaker, and innovator. In her book Design Your Day, as well as her DO LESS Manifesto, she outlines her personal productivity mantra—the DO LESS method. Each letter of the DO LESS acronym stands for a step in the productivity optimization process. This easy to follow approach is a natural fit for the goals of marketers that are always looking for more hours in the day. Get more done in six easy steps:

  • Decide
  • Organize
  • Limit
  • Edit
  • Streamline
  • Stop

Decide

The first step in the method is to decide. Go through your tasks and your goals for the coming fiscal year. Which ones match up? Which ones really matter? You might find that many of your current tactics aren’t in line with your goals or it’s time to make some time for brainstorming for new ideas.

It’s also a great time to decide what you should be spending your time on. Does your company allow outside help for some of the tasks that are draining your time and energy? Get yourself a clear picture of your purpose and put your individual tasks in line with it.

Organize

Now that you’ve made the decisions on what matters, it’s time to organize. Whatever you can do to make your work life feel organized to you, do it. Part of the organization process is to follow the next four steps of the process, but great organization in general will help you achieve more and prevent leads and details from falling through the cracks.

Limit

Ne! Nein! Non! Nej! No! The limit step is all about learning how to say no (in whatever language or way that works for you). You can’t do everything. You can’t be everything. Achieving your goals means saying no to the things that don’t help you achieve them or can be done more easily by someone else.

Can you outsource some content creation or data analysis? Is there a marketing event or medium that just hasn’t given you the results you were hoping for? Drop it like a bad habit or give the reigns over to someone else so that you can focus on your core competencies.

Edit

Once you’ve limited your tasks, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of it—editing the time it takes for you to get things done. Take a good, hard look at your workday. Consider getting a time tracker to see how much time you are taking to do each task during your day. Getting real numbers can help you be more realistic about your productivity.

Streamline

Once you’ve edited your time and tasks, it’s time to streamline. Claire suggests a few strategies

  • Create a morning routine that works for you and allows time for planning the rest of your day.
  • Find the best time of day for you to work and get the most critical tasks done. This is a good time to shut your office door, put on your headphones, and really dig in.
  • Try batching your tasks. Set aside blocks of time to get similar things done, like scheduling content or executing email campaigns.

Stop

Perhaps the most important—and most underrated—way to get more done in your marketing department is to stop doing. In a job that pulls you into a million different directions everyday, it can also be the most difficult. Everyday, unplugging doesn’t seem like an option. When you check your email before you doze off and right when you wake up, stopping feels nearly impossible, but it might be the most imperative part of the productivity process.

According to a recent study by John Pencavel at Stanford, productivity dramatically decreases as working hours exceed a threshold. For most people, working more than 50 hours starts taking a toll on your overall productivity, not to mention your work-life balance. Perhaps knowing when to step away from the keyboard and call it a day is the best thing you can do for your marketing department’s productivity.

How can you use the DO LESS method to improve your marketing productivity?