Taking Advantage of Surges In Energy

Jul. 29

I’m always focused on time management. As a digital marketing professional, I’m always wishing for more time. There is so much opportunity out there, and so little time. Today, I wanted to share a time management framework that has been helping me a lot lately, centered around the concept of embracing and taking advantage of surges in energy. It’s a strategy that continues to improve and evolve every single week!

Today

I like to equate my time management philosophy to digital marketing media planning. From a media planning standpoint, we allocate budget to the most productive channels, and take away budget from lower performing channels. Even within a channel (such as paid search), we allocate budget to the most profitable keywords, and remove budget from less productive keywords. By optimizing a portfolio of many on a granular level, the overall sum has the best aggregate results.

Time management is the same. Do you ever feel inspired? It doesn’t matter if it’s 6:00 am, 9:00 am, or 11:00pm. Inspiration comes in waves, it can just hit you! When I feel inspired, I like to harness that energy and keep going until I drop. I view those times of the week when I’m most inspired as the best components of the overall portfolio that makes up my productive workweek. You want to overweight those great moments, so I invest in them heavily. The challenge here is they can come and go. You don’t always know when they’ll hit, so be ready.

Have times of the day or week when you are less productive? Under-invest in such times. If it’s 5:00pm and you’re not getting much done, go home. If it’s mid-day and you’re feeling sluggish, focus on easy tasks. I especially like filling lower energy time periods with more routine tasks that don’t involve quite as much creativity. I also give myself a rest during unproductive times. There’s only so much time in the week. If you go all out during those surges of energy, you need to conserve your energy (within reason) during those slower times (of course, only if outside standard business/work hours). By minimizing low productivity times, you again improve your average productivity for the entire workweek.

Want to supercharge this strategy? I truly recommend getting into work early. There are certain times when you can expect a surge in energy and it will often come (at least for me) when I’m at work super early. It’s a very calm time of day and a great time to surge through work. I also enjoy the night hours after work so I’m super open to working very late at night, embracing my surge in energy. I know that I’ll reward myself later that week with an easy day when I feel lower energy so the strategy is very sustainable.

Another way to boost this strategy? Eat well, exercise well, and drink plenty of water. I have found that a healthy diet helps supercharge productivity as well. You will find increased overall surges of energy if you take great care of yourself.

Some other tips that can enhance this strategy:

  • Surround yourself with positive, happy, inspired people. You will find yourself more inspired and productive if you’re around high, positive energy.
  • When you’re inspired and riding the wave of energy, stay focused. New ideas will pop into your mind. Take notes so you don’t forget later but quickly get back to project at hand. I like to listen to music (with my headphones) to stay super focused.
  • Make sure to give back. As a leader at your company and field, try to inspire productivity and surges of energy in your team and others. The productivity is contagious!

Image of today © iStockPhoto – AnsonLu

Time Saving Tips For Digital Marketing Professionals

May. 28

Digital marketing is a very exciting and high powered career path. It’s also a career where time is always your most limited resource. We’re dealing with Wall Street’s 24/7 cousin here. Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and all other online advertising platforms never sleep. Personally, as my career has grown, time has become more and more scarce. I’ve written some similar posts in the past, however this one will touch on some of my newer thoughts around time management, ideas that are top of mind right now. I hope these help, because time management is not only about your career but it’s also about optimizing your overall life.

Hourglass

  1. Think very carefully about your PTO/holiday schedule. Plan your PTO strategically, when there is a lower volume of work. Just like digital marketing campaigns, there is a flow to each week. Is it easier for you to take off a Monday or a Friday? Typically, Fridays are the way to go since it’s a “lighter” day. Take off a Monday and you may be feeling the pain for the rest of the week. Planning a big vacation? Try to schedule it during your company’s light season. Perhaps schedule it around an existing holiday weekend, with a few extra days. Personal Example: I’m taking today off, the Tuesday (after the 3-day holiday weekend). My PTO is about to expire since I have accumulated so much (so I had to plan some sort of day off). While Fridays are typically easier to take off, I decided to go for today since I had a big, important meeting on Friday I could not miss. Today is a great day to recharge my batteries, and I can rest assured I planned my day off with sound strategy.
  2. Empower and grow your team, fast. I created PPC Ian with the goal of educating and empowering those in this exciting online marketing career path. Think of ways you can empower and grow your team every single day. I’m talking about on-the-job training, delegating difficult/challenging projects, mentoring, team activities, and more. The fastest way to scale is to delegate, however you can only delegate so fast. The faster you can grow your team, the more they can take on and the more the overall organization grows. From the employee’s perspective, this is also an ideal situation because this means fast paced career growth! It’s a win-win-win for you, your team, and your company.
  3. Invest in short bursts of energy. When you are getting a lot done, zone everything else out. It’s ok to reschedule meetings, delay responses to emails, miss phone calls, and simply focus on the task at hand. When you are feeling a burst of energy, you need to harness that energy for one single task at hand (until that task is done, and you move onto the next highest priority). I’m a huge multitasker, but try to multitask only during more normal and lower energy levels. High energy levels are reserved for the most important projects, one at a time. Tip from personal experience: It’s ok if you “catch” yourself getting distracted and/or multitasking. Simply correct course and get focused again. It’s nearly impossible to be fully focused, but just the conscious effort will help you cross the most critical projects right off your list.
  4. Save tasks forward. Are there any repetitive tasks that you work on? This does not have to be boring, manual work. It just has to be something that has to happen more than once. Some examples from a social media standpoint: writing blog posts and writing tweets. I have often found that if you are energized and in the right frame of mind, you can get a few such projects done in a row. Then, you have essentially saved work forward, work you can use in the future. A personal example: I’ll probably end up writing two blog posts today but will not release the next one until later this week. It will help even out my schedule this week.
  5. Leverage SEM and SEO agencies. I recently met Prashant and Johnny from AdLift, an amazing SEO agency here in Palo Alto. I view great agencies as instant scale. You can assign them work on your off-hours. You can rest assured they have amazing expertise. You can count on them to be part of your team and help leverage your and your team’s time.
  6. When you’re done, don’t keep reading/revising the same thing over and over. It’s important to find closure on projects. It’s important to instantly jump away from your task, either to the next one or to a break. As a perfectionist, I have faced this challenge since I will keep perfecting something. However, at a certain point, you need to move to the next priority. With that in mind, see you guys next time!

Image of Hourglass © iStockPhoto – koya79

Check Out My PPC and SEO Guest Post

Mar. 28

PPC and SEO CollaborationAbout two months ago, I did a guest post on the PPC Associates blog about SEM Agencies. I’m thrilled that PPC Associates invited me back to do another guest post. Today, my post went live. It’s all about PPC and SEO Collaboration. I definitely recommend checking it out. When you work in the corporate world of online marketing, it’s fairly typical to have different teams (or at least different people) managing PPC and SEO. However, there are some true synergies between these two online marketing channels. If both teams collaborate closely, the results can be truly astounding. I hope you enjoy my guest post and take some helpful tips to your PPC or SEO job!

Image © PPCAssociates.com

I Worked All Weekend

Dec. 11

When you’re in corporate online marketing, you have to work from home on the weekend from time to time. The projects line up and you just have to work form home to meet deadlines. (Side note: Always meet your deadlines, no matter what you need to do to get there.) It just so happens that I had an important deadline for my job. So, I worked from home all weekend this weekend. I’m really excited that I finished my project and feel quite energized for the upcoming week. If you’re in corporate online marketing, I’m certain you face this same situation from time to time! Following are a few of my favorite tips when it comes to working weekends.

Tip 1: Take It A Little Easier The Next Week

To Do List

First and foremost, we must recognize that the weekend exists for a reason. No matter how much you love online marketing (believe me, I can’t get enough of this stuff), you need to remember that balance is everything. It’s not about how many hours you put in, but how much you accomplish. After working the weekend, you need to take it a little easier the next week. I’m talking about getting to the office on time (versus early). I’m talking about leaving at the end of the day (as opposed to getting wrapped up in a project and staying late). It’s important to force the balance because career longevity is everything in online marketing.

Tip 2: Make Sure To Exercise

I tend to exercise quite a bit on weekends. When I work at home on weekends, I never compromise my workouts. It’s the balance of exercising and working that keeps my head clear. If you’re in a high power career like online marketing, I always recommend exercising. When the work piles up, always keep up the workouts. It’s amazing how they will help you generate new ideas and excel even more at work.

Tip 3: Don’t Work Every Weekend

I’m the number one proponent of corporate online marketing. When I’m not doing online marketing for my job, I’m blogging about it. It’s an addictive field. That said, it’s all about balance and longevity. Make sure to take time off to spend with your significant other and family. It will keep you balanced and in the game for the long term. While I worked all weekend this weekend, I’m going to strive to take the entire next one off.

Tip 4: Make Your Hard Work Known

In most high powered corporate careers, it’s expected that you work from home (nights and weekends) from time to time. Everyone does it. However, let’s say you go above and beyond. You’re putting in some serious hours on weekends and driving amazing numbers as a result. Let your manager know. You don’t want to go overboard, but subtly make your hard work known. This is something that will likely help you in your next performance review. Want to learn more SEM career tips? I recommend downloading my free eBook highlighting my Top 5 Online Marketing Career Tips.

Image of To Do List © iStockPhoto – CT757fan

Internet Marketing Productivity: Start Small

Mar. 27

It’s been a while since I blogged about SEM leverage and productivity. Internet marketing, especially in the corporate world, is a discipline where you can easily feel overwhelmed. Add on top of that your commitments outside of work – exercising, hobbies, family, friends, and blogging/affiliate marketing (if you’re like me) – and you could quite possibly lose your sanity! Today’s short post is for those times when you feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start. It’s all about starting small and building momentum.

Prioritize Your Smallest Projects First

Man In Labyrinth

The header above really says it all. If you’re in one of those situations where you’re so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start, I highly recommend starting small. This is actually quite counter-intuitive. Small tasks are typically low leverage. Some small tasks are so small that you could theoretically cross them off the list. However, this tip is not really about getting leverage instantly. It’s not about adding a ton of value instantly. It’s about building up momentum so you can break out of the rut, feel a sense of accomplishment, and then later build up to the big, high value projects.

Of course, if you’re already very focused and already have momentum on your side, I don’t recommend this tip. If you’re in an empowered state of mind, it’s all about harnessing that power and going right after the big projects.

Some of My Favorite Small, Momentum-Building Tasks

In terms of making this advice actionable, here are some small projects I regularly tackle to build up my momentum:

  • Find one exciting blog article about Internet marketing and send it to my team at work, with my commentary on why it’s useful. (Of course, remember to send the email with a low priority flag).
  • Search Google (or Yahoo/Bing) and find one or two interesting paid ads within my vertical. Send the ads to my team to spark creativity in ad copy testing.
  • Search Google (or Yahoo/Bing), just like in the last tip, and find interesting landing page experiences within my vertical. Send the landing page experiences to my team to spark creativity in our own strategy.
  • Search all major search engines manually for trademark violations on our trademarked terms. Even if you have automated software that polices trademarks it’s good to double check it works once in a while!
  • Generate a few keywords manually (just a handful) based on my own industry knowledge and experience. Make sure the new keywords don’t cannibalize old ones (make sure we don’t broad match to the terms), and then deploy them.
  • Record the projects I’ve worked on recently (or plan on this week) in Sharepoint. Our world is moving fast and it’s essential to record completed projects so you remember everything when annual reviews come around.
  • Get routine stuff done such as expense reports, timesheet approvals, invoice approvals, and other similar tasks.
  • Find a project that someone on my team did particularly well and send out a short email to the entire team that celebrates success. I really like this strategy because it not only gets my momentum rolling, but it empowers my entire team.

So, there you have it! Just a few small tasks that can quickly build up my own momentum when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Want to push your productivity even further? I recommend checking out my post about controlling your PPC mind. Thanks for reading and I’d be super curious to see if this start really small strategy works for you?

Image of Man In Labyrinth © iStockPhoto – Petrovich9

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