Last week, I encouraged everyone to set aside a routine time to work on marketing activities, whether it’s one morning a week or an hour each day or whatever works best for you. But once you’re in the marketing zone, how can you maximize your productivity? I’m as guilty as the next person of wasting time when I sit down to market my business, so today I want to share a few useful tips on staying focused.
1. Eliminate the clutter.
Did you know that studies have actually proven that a cluttered desk space decreases your productivity and discourages you from getting to work? So clear away those empty coffee mugs, put those books back on the shelf where they belong, and file away those extra papers. Keeping your workspace neat and tidy will allow you to focus on the work at hand and make it easier to find whatever you need when you need it. And to maintain that neat environment, I find it helpful to clean as I go, meaning I tidy up after each work session so I come back to an organized desk the next time. (Or at least I try. Not 100% successful at this yet!)
And by the way, just as clutter acts as visual “noise” that distracts you from your marketing work, your workspace may also have actual noise that can negatively impact your productivity. You may want to consider shutting down your sound system during work sessions, but if you are one of those people who work better with music, choose it wisely so it’s not distracting. You may also want to think about scheduling your marketing sessions for times when your family or others are less likely to be making a lot of noise.
2. Seek direction when you need it.
As I mentioned last week, not having a plan is one of the best ways to sabotage your marketing efforts. I know that if I don’t have a specific task to perform, I can fritter away hours on unproductive activities. If you’re not sure what tasks you need to be performing, I would encourage you to write down your goals, then break them out into tasks. And if you’re still not sure, there are tons of great marketing books and blogs that can help you get started. (And of course, you can always contact me for some coaching!) Investing time in learning more about marketing and then developing your own plan of action will help you avoid days, months, or even years of wasted effort.
3. Get over perfectionism.
Being perfect is so overrated! And besides, do you ever really know when you’ve reached perfection? Don’t allow yourself to get hamstrung because you’re searching for the perfect phrasing for the subject line of your next email blast or making minute adjustments to the color of the jpeg you’re planning to post to Facebook. Yes, of course, you should take time and do your best. But in my experience, perfectionism is usually just my excuse to avoid putting things out there and letting people judge what I’ve done. Instead, I’ve had to learn to invest a reasonable amount of time in my marketing efforts, make it the best I can make it, and then… jump!
4. Avoid Internet distractions.
I am also guilty as charged on this one. It is so very easy to log onto Facebook to post something of your own, and then get caught up in all the happenings of your friends and family. It’s equally easy to start researching something on a website, and next thing you know, you’ve been down some rabbit hole for an hour. The only trick I’ve found for stopping myself from wasting time this way is to promise myself I can come back to these things when I’m done with my marketing work. I’ll tell myself that as soon as I finish X, Y, and Z, I can spend all the time I want perusing Pinterest.
5. Prioritize your tasks for the day.
I recently had a lengthy conversation with some friends about how to prioritize tasks when you have multiple things to do. We seemed to fall into two camps, and I think either one will work. One group argued in favor of doing all the little 5- and 10-minute jobs first to get a sense of accomplishment, and then working up to the big jobs. The other group favored tackling the toughest task first so that everything else seems like smooth sailing from there on out. In my mind, the key thing is to pick one format or the other and make it your habit. That way you’ll avoid wasting time on deciding the order of the tasks, and you’ll just get to work faster.
There you have it—my five best tips for staying focused when it’s time to market. But how about you? What works and what doesn’t? Let’s share. Let’s connect!