Day 4 of 100 Days of Digital Marketing Help
Personally, I’d rather look back at how I spent my time and feel a powerful sense of accomplishment and gratitude. Instead of feeling like I wasted it on my Facebook timeline.
Don’t you want to leverage the time you have? You can!
But everyone knows that 24 hours slip away before you even realize it…so how do we leverage time to dictate our focus?
Here are 4 strategies and tactics to help you make the best of out of the digital marketing hustle.
The Misconception of Procrastination
THE MISCONCEPTION: You procrastinate because you are lazy and can’t manage your time well.
THE TRUTH: Procrastination is fueled by weakness in the face of impulse and a failure to think about thinking.
(Source: You Are Not So Smart, pg 44.)
As a digital marketer that works from home, it couldn’t be more critical to have a healthy relationship with time management. But it doesn’t matter if you’re leading the troops as VP of a national tech brand or creating social media campaigns from home – you need to be able to manage not just your time, but your focus.
Manage Your Focus
Here are the 4 Quadrants Covey talks about in his amazing book, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
For more context, watch this quick video:
What Covey’s Chart Might Look Like for a Digital Marketer
Some of these things need to be answered right the freak now. Some you may know as that “you’re supposed to do but let’s watch 4 hours of House of Cards instead.” And that’s great, Underwood is a machine, and awareness of how you spend your time is powerful.
When you’re marketing – whether as a contractor, employee, or business owner – you want to spend more time in different quadrants. Inevitably, you’ll find your sweet spot.
The value and gifts you give to the world- but that’s another post.
Let’s move onto the Pomodoro Method, bro.
The Pomodoro Method
The Pomodoro technique was coined by a dude named Francesco that really loved to use a tomato-shaped timer to divide work into chunks of time.
It’s simple, and Life Hacker put it clearly:
“The Pomodoro Technique can help you power through distractions, hyper-focus, and get things done in short bursts, while taking frequent breaks to come up for air and relax. Best of all, it’s easy. If you have a busy job where you’re expected to produce, it’s a great way to get through your tasks.”
- Set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes and work for that time.
- When it goes off, set a timer for 5 minutes and take a 5 minute break.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times.
- Set a timer for a 20 minute break.
- Repeat as desired.
I use this to help me stay focused when working from home. It’s way tooo easy to go for a long run or play with my new puppy if I don’t consciously dictate my focus.
Use a Stopwatch to Slow Down the Bleeding
Use a stopwatch to create:
1. Awareness of how you spend or waste your time.
2. A sense of urgency.
The actual physical act is this: wear a watch – preferably on your wrist- and press start on the stop watch. Go about your work day, but check how much time has past every once in a while. Just look at it. Nothing more to do.
If you don’t have a watch like that – use your phone.
Why watch your time so closely?
Has this ever happened to you?
You start browsing your favorite device on social media and 20 cat videos later…
Use a stop watch to create awareness of time, because where you spend your time determines everything.
Create all the things you actually want by tricking your brain and get intentional with time. The first step is awareness and that’s as easy to access as by using a little ol stopwatch.
Time Restricted To-Do-Mental-Ju-Jitsu
When You Feel Stuck or Overwhelmed, Add a time Restriction
Here’s a technique you can apply to silence the monkey mind.
Monkey mind: “unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable” part of your brain that makes shit up that distracts us from getting shit done and living fully.
Quick technique to silence the monkey mind is to add time constraints to your to do items.
You may notice that those hairy audiacious goals you have aren’t that crazy- they are doable, in smaller chunks of creative work!
Instead of feeling like a massive sumo wrestler is sitting on your chest and reminding you about all the shit you have to do, if you apply this technique and control the way you frame things, your productivity and happiness is likely to shoot through the roof.
How to set time restrictions on your to do lists
- Pick a to do item: such as “respond to Beth.” Set a timer, accordingly.
- Work only on that task non stop for those XY minutes.
- Stop working and move onto something else.
If you need to, do that multiple times, until you find yourself on the other side of that project- richer in experience and money.
It’s that easy and serves the purpose of taping shut the doubting primal brain that reflexively responds to stimulus.
From thinking this:
Oh my gosh I don’t know how to do that. There’s no way I could figure it out!
Screw it. Let’s see what I can do in 30 minutes and if it’s absolutely horrible, I’ll go at it tomorrow.
Your brain is a beautiful adaptive thing. Just as you get bigger muscles when you work them, you can do the same with your brain by letting it play.
It’s the way of the Tao Te Ching, actually:
Less and Less do you need to force things until finally you arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. – Tao Te Ching
The 2 Minute Rule
This one is so simple. (I just used it to write this tiny 2 minute rule section of this post! I set a 2 minute “to do item.”)
- “Write this section in 2 minutes”
A ridiculous goal but it works for the concept.
- Open client agenda and read the first 6 lines.
- Put on gym clothes.
- Sit on the ground and breathe deeply for 2 minutes. If you want to, meditate longer.
- Word vomit on paper ideas for 2 minutes.
If you set time limits of 2 minutes when you have a task that feels overbearing! BIG! Bold! OR whatever >> You’ll find that time moves forward and so does your project!
Thanks for engaging with these tips. And for being part of this community. Share your number one tip for keeping you focused on projects in the comments.
And be awesome.