by Robert Middlewton – Action Plan Marketing
In the Marketing Club we have a brand new Marketing Discussion Forum where members get to ask questions and interact with other members, sharing ideas and resources.
Each week I'm posting a "discussion of the week" and yesterday's post said: "What is your biggest marketing challenge and what are you doing to surmount it?"
The response was varied in terms of topics, but one thing stood out: Everyone was struggling to find the time to take action on their challenging marketing priorities.
One kept avoiding writing her weekly eZine, another found it hard to get things done systematically, and one more found she was distracted by the "shiny red object syndrome" instead of doing the marketing activities she already knows work.
Here was my response to everyone:
One big solution to all of the above issues is weekly planning.
Every week look at your BIG TO DO LIST (you have one, right?) and then, looking at your already scheduled appointments and client projects, list the PRIORITY THINGS you will get done that week. Don't just jot them down, think seriously about when you can fit them in that week.
For an eZine, schedule it on a specific day of the week (i.e. Monday), for follow-up calls, pick a coupe times in the upcoming week, etc.
The thing to notice is that if these things don't get on your calendar, they simply don't get done. This may be my biggest advantage; I simply get things done, no excuses! It can be your advantage as well. Commit to it and make it happen.
Now let me expand on these ideas below...
Not many people pay a lot of attention to "just getting my priorities done." It's not very sexy or exciting and everyone knows they should do it.
Then why is it that this is the biggest issue of all?
There are a lot of reasons for this, which I'll outline here.
1. The mind equates thinking about something to actually doing something. "Oh, yes, I must attend to those priorities." And just saying that to ourselves puts us in a kind of a trance. We feel good that we noticed it, and believe we'll get to it soon, yet this pattern is repeated day-after-day, month-after-month, year-after year.
So let's be clear, thinking about it is useless. It gets you nothing, not even Brownie Points. All it results in are your priorities not getting done.
2. When thinking of an important marketing activity to do, the mind immediately pops up with an unpleasant image related to that activity. "Ooh, follow-up calls, writing my eZine, those doesn't sound like any fun. Now I don't feel so good. OK, no problem, I'll just get around to it when I feel better.
3. When a priority comes into our awareness we realize we need to do that thing but we also realize that we have no time on our schedule to get it done right now because of client meetings or other urgent commitments. Again, we push it to the back of our minds, hoping to get to it later.
Notice that all of these avoidance tactics have one thing in common: our automatic patterns of thought.
I have bad news for you. These patterns will not go away. Perhaps never. No, you are saddled with them for life. You think about getting a priority done (especially a long-term priority) and the old mind kicks in, determined to keep you safe and comfortable.
So, yeah, it's hopeless.
Well, except for these cool little tool called SYSTEMS.
A system for getting stuff done is necessary because we are ensnared by the spells of the mind. So, if you stop relying on the mind, and more on these systems, you'll get more done.
Simple as that.
To reiterate what I said to my Club members:
1. Have a binder with a page that contains your BIG LIST. This is anything and everything that pops into your head that feels important to you at the time. "Oh, wow, I should hire a plane to fly around the city with my business name on a banner!"
2. Then you have a WEEKLY LIST that you look at every single week, usually at the end of each week. What you do is transfer items from your BIG LIST to this WEEKLY LIST, but only things you are really committed to do, the priorities we've been talking about.
And those nutty ideas can be left behind and eliminated from your list later on after you realize they're not so practical.
3. Then you have a DAILY LIST where you only write down priority items that you WILL do today. There will never be a lot of items on that list, ONLY HIGH PRIORITY ITEMS, maybe just one or two.
You have to put some time into this to master it as a system, until you start to realize how ridiculously unproductive you were without these lists.
If you stick at this for about three weeks, something amazing will happen. You'll find you're actually getting to those priorities, you're finally getting stuff done and your mind isn't getting in the way so often.
Look, I'd like to give you something free, copies of these forms I've used with my Marketing Mastery Participants. You can download them here:
Let me know how this works for you, but be patient and give it time. If you do, you'll see your productivity soar. Feel free to make comments about this on the Action Blog by clicking on the Comments link below.