This blog is the second in our series on marketing questions that we often get asked, and today’s topic is how to get things done within a limited timeframe.
We get many questions about this, and it’s essential to stand back first of all and remember that time very much is a mental construct.
The reason I say that is because our brains are very naughty little things. They try and throw us off track in the way that we process information. When we try and get into action, resistance inevitably kicks in because our lizard brain wants us to hang out on the couch, eat crisps, watch Netflix, and drink wine. After all, it wants to keep us safe.
When we say, “We’re going to do this, I’m focused on this,” then it freaks out. It’s because thousands of years ago, when we were running around in the jungle and tigers were chasing us, our brains’ goal was to keep us safe.
When it comes to planning, which is what this blog is all about – it comes to time.
Making the Most of Your Time
If you haven’t read any of Steven Pressfield’s work, he has a book called Do the Work. It’s a great book for helping when you have fallen foul of procrastination, and it’s something that we recommend to all our clients to read.
Remember: you will never have enough time to get everything done.
The first thing you need to do is prioritize your activities. We always say to people who ask us, “Where do I start?”: you need to plan for the year.
Now, does this need to be chapter and verse for everything? No, it doesn’t, but one of the things we always suggest is, “In an ideal world, what would you like to achieve in the first year?”
Many people have these huge goals, and let’s be honest, as Bill Gates said, “We always overestimate what we can achieve in a year and underestimate what we can achieve in 10 years.”
It’s good to have a goal, and it helps to write them down because once you do that, you’re – in the words of Stephen Covey – starting with the end in mind.
We always say to people when they join the Superfast Circle, “What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months? What are your key priorities?”.
Once you’ve got those down, you can start to make a plan of what you want to achieve, and this then leads to another question of “how do we do this?”.
We always suggest working with 90-day plans. We come from a corporate background, working in sales and marketing, and we have always worked with 90-day plans.
Twelve weeks is a long enough period to create motivation and get something done because you can deliver several projects in 12 weeks. Often these things spread out, and usually, there’s no reason for them to, so make sure you work in a 90-day cycle.
That leads me to the next question we get asked, and that question is, “Do I focus on the long-term or short-term goal?”.
And the answer is: you have to focus on both.
Long and Short Term Planning
Imagine you decide you want to have a new website up and running. You’re launching a new brand, and it’s taking slightly longer than you thought to get the websites, the content and the products sorted out.
Remember that this is a longer-term goal.
Let’s be honest, for the majority of people, if you can get a website up and live within 90 days, it’s pretty much a miracle. As a general rule, it will tend to take six months, particularly for slightly smaller companies, as they might not have someone solely dedicated to it.
We’re currently working with a company, and they’ve got a full-time marketeer, and it took him around six or seven months to launch the website, and he was working on it almost full-time.
Going back to the long term versus the short term, make sure you have long-term goals mapped out, and remember, whatever it is you want to do will often take you longer than you think, so factor that in.
When it comes to shorter-term goals, these should be based on revenue generation. And these would be any lead generation activities that you have going on because you need to fill your pipeline consistently.
Smart Calendar Planning
Now, when it comes to getting things done, I use my calendar.
I know some people say, “Oh, I like to have a lot of wide space in my calendar.” Let me be honest; I don’t. When I have space in my calendar, I know I’m not going to achieve what I need to complete to move me forward on my business goals.
It’s very easy to become distracted and lose focus, especially when you open your email first thing in the morning because it can take you off on a tangent.
When you want to start planning your time, either on a Friday before you finish for the week or early on a Monday morning, map out your time that week.
Try and push yourself to think about, “Okay, I need some overflow time in here; how long will it take me to do these different things?” Then stick to it.
It isn’t easy, resistance will kick in, but you will be astounded at what you can achieve with practice.
Then the final question that we’re often asked is, “How do you get so much done?”.
How to ‘Batch’ to Get Things Done
One of the things I do is ‘batching’. It’s a process that works by getting everything together and doing everything simultaneously, which speeds up your activity.
For instance, when I record a podcast, I do it very early in the morning; I am a morning person, so it works for me, I get all my notes mapped out, and I can record three or four podcasts in one morning.
We have a process with our podcast, which we call a standard operating procedure. As you will know, businesses that perform incredibly well have a strategy at their core; they have frameworks that people follow.
When I record a podcast, there is a process that follows. We send it away to be transcribed online, and I choose an image. Our writer will then edit it all; she will create social media and an email from it. The recordings are then put together and then uploaded to iTunes, on our website, and Spotify.
Then early on Wednesday morning, this particular podcast will go live.
Depending on how far ahead I can get, these will all be lined up within our website because of the way that WordPress works; you can save it in a draft.
Then, I have in my task list what I need to do with it. Often what I will do is, I’ll record a quick video letting people know that the podcast is live.
That’s ‘batching’ explained. Blog writing is a great activity to complete in batches – this will allow you to create useable, shareable content in one go.
To recap, the way to get things done is:
- To decide, “I am going to get this done.”
- Then “What’s the plan that I need?”
- Specifically, what do I need to happen, and when do I need it to happen?
These are some of the ideas and questions that we consistently get asked about how to get your marketing out there – I’m sure this blog will have helped you get ‘going’.
And, yes, I appreciate it is busy work.
Creating Your Marketing Plan
Creating marketing campaigns is busy work. One of the reasons people join Superfast Circle is that they automatically know they’re going to get a campaign created for them to plug into their own marketing system.
I’ve just been planning a training session for our Superfast Circle members on writing because this is one of the superpowers that business owners need in today’s marketplace.
One of them is planning, and one is most certainly the ability to write.
In the next blog, I will answer some more burning questions, so look out for that as it goes live. Next time, we’re going to talk about messaging, some of the questions that we get around messaging and tone of voice.
This is Denise from Superfast Recruitment saying bye for now.