The break that the vast majority of marketers get at the end of the year helps us start the new year refreshed, replenished and ready to create some kickass marketing programs.
This year, instead of focusing on being productive, let’s change our approach to becoming more effective in our marketing. Truly effective people are not just focused on getting as many things done as possible. Instead, time needs to be spent prioritizing, pushing boundaries and finding ways to enjoy what you do for an extended period of time.
Start this year off right creating small, healthy habits that will ward away the mid-year slump that often rears it’s early head as early as quarter one. The tips below will help you stay focused long past the first quarter of the year.
# 1 – Always Have A Plan
Without a plan to help guide your actions for the year, it will be incredibly difficult to tell how you performed. If you haven’t already, sit down and document your digital marketing strategy which should include (at minimum) the following attributes:
Marketing Objectives and Goals
How You’ll Measure Success
Checkpoints Along the Way
#2 – Prioritize What You Want to Accomplish
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”. The same applies to looking at all of the delicious marketing morsels that you want to accomplish for the year. If you try to tackle all of them at once, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed.
Instead, prioritize your most impactful marketing tasks first. If you aren’t sure what those are, reference your plan.
#3 – Tackle Your Big Rocks Early in the Day
A looming deadline or project will make even the most sophisticated marketer worry. Don’t let elephant tasks consume you all day. Instead, tackle your big tasks early in the day so they don’t loom over your head. By getting these out of the way quickly, you’ll feel more relaxed the rest of the day.
#4 – Learn to Say No
Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. Sometimes it’s necessary for you to accomplish everything that you have planned. When you receive a request, put it through the following filter:
Does this task fit within my plan?
Will it help me increase the impact of my work?
What else would need to move out in order to accommodate this request?
Having a documented marketing plan will make it much easier to make decisions about whether or not a request should be completed.
#5 – Focus on one Task at a Time
We all multi-task. Some of us even brag about how good at it we are. But the truth is, multi-tasking is not a healthy and effective way to approach your marketing responsibilities. Instead, when you’re outlining what you have to accomplish for the day, focus on one item at a time and don’t move on to the next until you’ve completed that task.
#6 – Remove Outside Distractions
I sometimes think that I am my own biggest distraction. My mind starts to wander, I start looking at something on my phone or chatting with another teammate and then I realize 20 minutes of time have passed. Help eliminate distractions for yourself by:
Disconnect: Turn off your email and put away your electronics so you can focus on the task at hand.
Physically Move: If you find that you can’t quite focus where you are sitting, try a different spot or a quiet room for awhile.
#7 – Make Meetings Count
One of the qualities that I have always enjoyed about the way we run meetings at TopRank Marketing is our focus on outcomes. To ensure that a meeting is productive, make sure that you start each meeting with a defined agenda and objective, then conclude the meeting with detailed action items for each person that attended.
#8 – Find Your Time of Day Groove
The most productive part of the day will vary depending on the individual. Personally, I like to get into work early and knock out my large tasks before anyone else is in the office. If your job is flexible, feel free to test some different work hours to see which suits you best.
#9 – Create Efficiencies with Technology
There is literally a tool for everything today. You might find that you’re wasting time on tasks that could be shortened, or even eliminated with the right technology.
#10 – Make Time for Education
Because our industry evolves so quickly, it’s essential that all of us make the time to continue our education. Fortunately for you, there are a lot of options available today that make it easy to learn, even on-the-go. Try listening to podcasts on your way to and from work, or setting aside time in your day to research different trends and topics that you can apply to your own work and share with the rest of your team.