I would say the single biggest challenge in marketing is time management. We’re tasked with projects that vary in their complexity and have different moving parts, and we’re expected to also juggle everything that gets thrown at us in between. It’s an impossible task but it’s doable with the right time management skills. In my experience, this is what’s worked and where even the best of tasks fall short.

The Pomodoro Technique

I only recently learned about this one when I was struggling with how to juggle between tasks. The Pomodoro technique breaks up your tasks in to 25 minute increments. It’s a lot like the idea of 30/60/90, where you break up your day into segmented tasks that take either 30, 60, or 90 minutes. However, in this case (where you have a pile of projects to go through), you make a commitment to dedicate just 25 minute to the task. This way, everything on your task list gets attention without going overboard on one at the expense of another.

Created by an entrepreneur, Pomodoro gets you to work in short sprints that help break down larger projects: “When faced with any large task or series of tasks, break the work down into short, timed intervals (called “Pomodoros”) that are spaced out by short breaks. This trains your brain to focus for short periods and helps you stay on top of deadlines or constantly-refilling inboxes.”

Trello

The Pomodoro technique is really useful when paired with a project management tool like Trello. A project management tool (a much more simplified version of any of the more complicated tools like Wrike or Asana), Trello is great for beginners who just need to have their to do list sorted somewhere digitally. Trello lets you create boards under various categories that you designate as needed. Within each board, you can do the same as with any other project management system and create check lists, have a description, set a due date, attach items, etc.

The plus side is that if great for start up environments and doesn’t require a master project manager. The downside is that it’s not scalable and if you have multiple people on your team, then each person has their own Trello board – and while you can see the other boards, it’s lack of integration into a master schedule (as you’d have with Wrike) makes it difficult to assess where you and your projects fit into the grand scheme of things.

When paired together, Pomodoro and Trello are a fierce combination that help you get the job done. In my experience, going from Wrike to Trello, it can be really disruptive to go from a finely tuned project management machine like Wrike to a system category or card based PM system like Trello. Where do you start? What do you actually work on?

Pomodoro helped solve those questions by helping me tackle the card category for “Doing This Week” into bite-size tasks of 25 minutes. Even in a hectic marketing environment, it’s possible to find 25 minutes. In fact, if I went back to Wrike, I’d still use Pomodoro to help with the longer projects in Wrike that carry on over days if not weeks.

Although Wrike is a far more superior system for big picture planning with attention to details, Wrike has an upfront cost of $600 (with no monthly payment plan), which makes it flat out unaffordable if you’re testing out systems or would like something more inexpensive to start with. Conversely, Trello will cost you less than $10 a month.