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Three New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Agency

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It’s that time of year again. When we bust out a fresh notepad and jot down resolutions for the upcoming year. Like the rest of you, I’ve vowed to hit the gym more often or to finally write that book in past years. But, as we all know, New Year’s resolutions usually dissolve by Super Bowl Sunday. So this year, I propose we avoid big audacious goals. Instead let’s look to smaller, more measurable resolutions.

Our resolutions fall short because there is no sense of accountability. Instead of making resolutions that only benefit ourselves, let’s strive to set goals that also aid our agency in 2011. This way, we will be more determined to follow through with those resolutions. It’s no longer just about what we can do to better ourselves, but also what we can do to better the companies for which we work.

With these ideas in mind, take a look at the following resolutions that may help you make 2011 the best year for you both personally and professionally. Best of all, its a win-win for both you and the agency.

1. Start Your Day Earlier

Like you, I enjoy my sleep. I enjoy it so much that I often hit the snooze button one too many times on those cold winter mornings to grab just a few more minutes of rest. In 2011, let’s set our alarms back, even if it’s just a half hour. The result? Less chaos and less stress. By starting our days earlier, we have more time to get those morning errands done. You might even have time to eat a light breakfast. In the end, I think getting up earlier will leave you more energized and less stressed as you prepare to tackle another day in the ad business. Perhaps the biggest payoff to being the early bird is the sure-to-come promotion. Your new profound dedication to being the first in the office will not go unnoticed when performance reviews roll around. We all know the early bird gets the worm.

Now how does this benefit the agency? Easy. You have an extra half hour of productivity at your disposal. Extrapolate that over the course of a year, and that equates to 130 hours of billable time. This makes you the agency’s new best friend and revenue source.

2. Spend Less Time in Meetings

Now before you freak out, I understand that we work in the communications industry. As a result, meetings are a necessary aspect of our businesses. We have to communicate with each other before we communicate with our client. With that in mind, think about how much time  you spend in meetings each week. Are all of those meetings really necessary? With all the digital communication tools available today, there other ways to communicate more quickly and efficiently. So think twice next time before you send that Google Calendar request to half the agency. Make better use of the communication tools around you, including phone, e-mail or even the occasional text message. And contrary to popular belief, IM is not dead. Implement tools Gchat, AOL, or other instant messaging services to help fill the need for instant, informal communication internally.

Now, sometimes meetings are necessary. In that case, strive to spend less time in those meetings. Set an agenda, follow it and get out. You will find that meetings that used to take an hour can be carved down to 30-minutes or less, leaving you and your coworkers more time to get billable work done.

The benefits to this resolution are pretty clear. You are able to spend more time getting work done, while the agency is able to profit from that time. It is important to remember that time is the agency’s most valuable asset. The more time you spend unnecessarily in meetings impedes profits.

So, this year, let’s commit to spend less time in meetings.

3.  Learn Something

If you don’t think advertising is a business based on innovation, you might want to reconsider your career choice. It is our duty as marketing professionals to constant learn new things. Commit to spending one hour of each day to learning something new. Catch up on marketing blogs while you’re waiting for a meeting to start or learn a new skill that no one at your agency possesses.  To get started, learn new things from those around you. Account people, freshen up your design skills with a quick lesson from the creative department. Designers, take the journey over to the media department to learn more about GRPs, DECs, and other fun acronyms.

What you learn doesn’t necessarily have to be directly related to your job description. Save yourself a few bucks and learn to brew your on coffee instead of making a visit to Starbucks. Or learn to cook instead of dining out for lunch everyday.

In the end, you will be more valuable to your company with more skill sets under your belt. Not to mention the value added to the agency in they eyes of clients as a result of your newly discovered skills. Plus, you newly acquired skills might lead to a promotion. The first step is to take a step.

Don’t let this list be the end of your resolutions in 2011. Feel free to add more at any time of the year. Be sure to write down and post your goals. Jot them down on sticky notes and decorate the borders of your computer monitor. Share your resolutions with friends and coworkers. I bet you will accomplish a lot more this way than if you just kept your resolutions a secret.

On that note, have a safe and happy 2011.

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