Look, whoever said “being a marketer is easy” is the BIGGEST liar of this century. He probably lives in the basement of his parents’ house and could not market his idea to his dad even, because for all I know…
Marketing—I mean, marketing anything, whether it is a new product or rebuilding an old dying brand—can turn out to be the hardest challenge of your life, unless you are eating dinner with the managing director of IBM or recently resigned as a Chief Technology Officer of Twitter.
In the super-competitive market that we live in today, expect to put in all your resources plus at least 80-90 hours per week and still you might find it not to be enough. In short, being a marketer dares you. Being a marketer drains you. Being a marketer punishes you…like you are a pet dog. Whew!
The question is, can you sustain this onslaught on a daily basis? Perhaps not, unless you include some serious productivity hacks in your daily life.
Divide Your Full Day Into Convenient Time Blocks
Whether it’s 15-minutes or as long as an hour, it’s your call. However, you need to segment your whole day and allot each time block to a single task. Read it again, SINGLE task. Do not multitask—it negatively affects your productivity. Do not create a to-do list. Create a schedule instead. You will benefit just like Rebekah Epstein did:
“Not only did this make me feel significantly less stressed, I was getting more done in fewer hours!”
And oh yes, it’s “crucial to make sure you record all your meetings and appointments in one place instead of having them scattered throughout different calendars, notebooks, and apps,” writes Alexandra Weiss, a partner at CA Creative in New York, via email. “Not only will it save time to only have to check one calendar but it will also help ensure that you are not double booking or missing any meetings.”
Keep Distractions Out Of Your Way
If you study some of the most successful marketers in the world, you will find one thing in common: Focus. Stop checking your emails every 10 minutes. Keep your phone on the silent mode or just switch it off altogether when you are working. Take three 15-min breaks to check your emails and voice mails during the day.
Alex Turnbull, CEO-Founder of GrooveHQ writes:
“A sec” probably means a 3-5 minute conversation is about to take place. But the cost of that conversation isn’t just those 3-5 minutes.
Scientific research shows that you need at least 23 minutes to regain attention. Ouch, 23 minutes of non-productively as a marketer—that’s quite a lot!
Preparation Is The Key To Your Marketing Success
Nothing is more than this one. Mr Opportunity might be knocking on the door but if you aren’t there to open it, it’s no use. Mr Opportunity is a fickle-minded and busy person. He won’t wait forever. Prepare beforehand. Start with the end in mind and work on it. So, when the time comes, you are ready to take advantage of it.
As per the words of Eliyahu Goldratt:
“Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality.”
And oh, I have to let Will Smith, one of my favourite Hollywood actors speak here. He is massively successful and just plain awesome at his art, and he says:
“I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness [sic] for practice and preparation.”
In the marketing niche, who wins? Not the one with the most talent, but the one who puts in the highest level of effort. Resources matter but only to an extent.
I don’t boast often but I must share this little fact about myself. I became a copywriter long before I even completed my college education. I know a plenty of copywriters who have completed their University education and still haven’t gotten hold of the basics of digital marketing. The problem is, they don’t put in the necessary effort to perfect themselves in their art.
But I did. I spent nights completing the AWAI course and reading the Halbert Letters. Put in the effort, man or woman (I am not a sexist, you see).
Set SMART Goals For Every Quarter Or So
Break down the BIG goal into smaller, achievable and quantifiable goals for the short term. Write them down on index cards and paste them in front of your desk. Not only does it help you to keep focus in your regular endeavours, it ensures that the whole business goes in the right direction.
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score. – Bill Copeland
In his fantastic book, “Delivering Happiness“, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh describes how offering smaller, but more frequent promotions had a measurable increase in employee satisfaction, even though the final accomplishment was the same. Instead of offering one big promotion every 18 months, for example, the management at Zappos found that offering smaller promotions, say every 3 months, would result in increased employee satisfaction and motivation.
You can take this lesson and apply it to your own life. Take the mountains you need to climb and break them up into smaller hills that you can walk. You’ll be happier and more motivated to start working towards that next milestone on your way to marketing greatness.
Work Urgent Tasks First And Delegate As Much As You Can
This is against popular opinion but involves a far more effective strategy. You measure a task on a 2D scale of impact and effort. You finish the “highest impact, highest effort” tasks first and “lowest impact, lowest effort” ones last. What I mean by that is, you should always reward your mini self by finishing off the quick and easy starts, and leave the most complicated tasks to tackle in the end.
And always delegate the tasks you can. As much as you would like to say to your wife, you are not a Superman or even a Batman. You cannot do everything alone. You need help from your in-house associates. You need help from your outsourced staff. In fact, make sure you do only what you cannot delegate to others.
Remember not to work in your business but to work ON your business. (This is mainly applicable to the C-level marketing executives.).
Maintain Daily Routine Of At Least 1 Hour Yoga (Preferably)
If you ask me, yoga has a unique way of rejuvenating your mind and body and strengthens your Self to take on what comes your way. Every successful marketer comes with a strong, resilient spirit, derived from a healthy body and mind. It’s not sitting at a desk for 9 hours after all.
Bonus Tip: Meditate for at least half an hour every day (twice is always advisable).
Shrimati Bhanu Narasimhan of Art Of Living Center In California says, ““Meditation is the mind without agitation.” It’s about sustaining “mental hygiene”. Stanford Researcher, Emma Seppälä, who is also the associate director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford, says, “It’s very empowering.”
Personally speaking, I meditate whenever I can. And I recommend it to everyone I come across, sometimes even 5-year-olds! (Their moms always love that BTW. I don’t know why.)
Start Your Day By Writing A Journal
Again, this is not what they (pointing at the pop psychologists) will suggest. They say, write the journal by the end of the night—a great way of letting out your emotions and go to sleep peacefully. But as an entrepreneur, you can only sleep peacefully when you have done your day’s work properly.
That happens when you start your day with a little pep talk via the journal. You are basically talking about yourself. You are the patient and you are the psychologist. You listen to your own questions in your “struggling” marketing life (we all go through this) and you yourself start providing answers for the same.
What’s more? Journals can be a great way to start self-discovering yourself.
Paul Smith and Betty Smith, both fashion designers, keep their creativity alive by regularly writing in a notebook. Great writers like Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Sylvia Path and Alice Walker along with hundreds of writers across time who all kept diaries and journals which has informed their writing and creative productivity.
As the life coach and author, Jackee Holder states:
“Journals are creative portals. Because you’re in dialogue with your inner life when you write in a journal, you solve problems and get creative. Keeping a journal can be both a clearing-house and – in the next word, sentence or page – become an incubator where you tap into your imagination and unleash your creativity and ideas.”
Keep Gathering Daily Lumps Of Gold In Your Knowledge Ville
I cannot stress much on this one. Not only reading stimulates you mentally, keeps you updated with knowledge and builds up your analytical and critical skills, a new study shows that for men, access to books from a young age corresponds to higher earnings over a lifetime.
Now you are listening. It’s not me speaking. It’s Charlie Munger speaking. (If you haven’t heard about his name before, forget reading this letter and Google his name right now.)
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero”.
Eat A Live Frog Every Morning. Seriously!
Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” He may not be a young entrepreneur, but his advice still stands over a century later: if there’s something you’ve been dreading doing, don’t let it drag on — just do it and move forward.
Research by Roy Baumeister shows that our willpower starts off high and then depletes throughout the day. Other research shows that starting a goal but not completing it (a.k.a., procrastinating) makes us less effective at the next tasks we perform.
The truth is, being a marketer and watching consumers talk about that old shitty brand in a new light or the sales graph go up every quarter can be a fulfilling life achievement, but only if you make yourself capable of being one.
Or else, know the feeling of drowning? Imagine you are drowning in the middle of the Pacific and nobody is there to save you. That’s how you will feel every day.
You sure don’t want that, do you?
Ron C, Copy-e-Writing