While we are enjoying a blissfully mild Minnesota winter, there’s always a certain amount of seasonal weather-proofing. One of my least favorite chores is sealing up the drafty window in our kitchen, a project that involves about 20 feet of rope caulk, sheets of see-through plastic, a stepladder, several awkward angles and just a few four-letter words. I’ve done this every year since we bought our house in 1999.

This December, it suddenly it dawned on me, wedged precariously into the sink and behind the light fixture: we could replace our 60-year old window with something better fitting and more energy efficient.

We could eliminate the tedious workaround and solve the problem once and for all.

But we’ve always done it this way …

It’s no surprise that it took me twelve years to reach my a-ha moment. Going about our day-to-day tasks, we focus on checking off items on the To Do list, not analyzing whether the way we accomplish completion is the most efficient or effective. We fall into the trap of “because we’ve always done it this way” and simply stop seeing the issues—or the possibilities.

Every marketing department has more on the wish list than resources allow. Identifying and reducing your workarounds is one of the best ways to work smarter and improve capacity.

Find your MacGyver opportunities

Start your marketing overhaul by recognizing your MacGuyver opportunities—those operations held together with chewing gum, old gym socks and good karma. Where do systems lack integration? How often are you re-entering data? Which tasks take seven steps when three should do?

Use these three criteria to address your top issues:

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