No matter what level you are at in the pecking order or what function you work in, every successful person has one thing in common — an energizing and self-affirming start to their work day. This great start is especially critical for marketing professionals.
Marketers are the face of the company to the outside world. When we are refreshed and energized, we channel that positivity into our brand. This positivity radiates outwards and draws in consumers — the end goal that we all work towards every single day.
So without further ado, here are the seven things successful marketers do to begin their workday:
1. Write Down Priorities for the Day
As an obsessive list maker myself, I must say I am a tad partial to list making as a ritual. But my personal idiosyncrasies aside, making a list of every task you hope to complete each day gives you a sense of purpose and direction.
It is not enough however to simply make a laundry list of activities for the day. Force yourself to prioritize tasks based on how important or urgent they are. Taking a page from President Eisenhower’s playbook, use the concept of urgent as opposed to important tasks and proceed to prioritize your day accordingly.
It does not matter whether you use sticky notes or a real notepad or an app on your phone. What matters is that you list your priorities for the day.
2. Run Your Numbers
Every marketer has certain numbers that determine the success or failure of their tasks. Some of these tasks contribute to the success or failure of the entire marketing campaign.
Once you’re done making your to-do list for the day, check the vital stats for all your campaigns. This could be running the numbers on site traffic for the previous day or total sales for the previous day or even number of email newsletters opened and clicked on in the previous day. Whatever your key result metrics, run them to get an idea of where you stand with respect to your goals.
After crunching your own campaign numbers, do a little bit of snooping on your top competitors. You could subscribe to their email lists, set up Google Alerts for their brand names, listen in to the conversations about them on social media and more.
3. Quick Catchup With the Team to Review Work
Unlike a programmer or a financial analyst, a marketer is a social animal by nature. Our work requires us to interact with others and get the best out of them to be able to do our own jobs well.
A daily five minute catch-up with the marketing team, where each member talks about the status of their respective KRAs helps the entire team get on to the same page. Update your team about specific challenges you may be facing, inform them about key projects that will be rolling out and seek their inputs wherever needed.
4. Readjust Plan for the Day
No plan is ever set in stone.
Your campaign positions, your competitors’ actions and feedback from your team will help you determine whether you need to rejig that to-do list. Don’t feel guilty about going back to your list and quickly realigning your priorities if need be. The ability to be flexible is a key ingredient in making you a more creative and effective marketer.
5. Check Email, Reply to Pressing Ones
A lot of people rush headlong into checking and replying to their emails as they begin their day.
Avoid this like the plague.
It’s very easy to get sucked into cleaning up other people’s messes and doing things that are important to others (not you) by immersing yourself in your email inbox at the beginning of the day. Instead, check your email only after you’ve decided what to do with your day. Respond to pressing matters and shelve the rest of the emails to tackle later based on your priority list.
6. Swallow the Frog First
It was Mark Twain who said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
This goes against the grain of everything we normally do when faced with a complicated task. We tend to postpone it for as long as we can till it can be pushed off no longer and then run around like headless chickens in a bid to complete the task well and on time.
A good way to put that procrastination gene to sleep is by sucking it up and tackling your most difficult project first. Productivity guru Tony Schwartz affirms this practice:
“I always do the most important task of the day first thing in the morning, when I’m most rested and least distracted.”
Whether it is creating that boring, long presentation for your boss, developing a best practices template for your social media team or axing budgets for an upcoming campaign; dive right into your most challenging task for the day first thing in the morning. With the worst thing on the list out of the way, the rest of your day can only get better.
7. Create Your ‘Tomorrow List’ Before You Leave Work in the Evening
Most of us just tend to heave a huge sigh of relief at the close of the day and scramble for the door. Resist the temptation to head for the hills at the end of the workday and spend five minutes reflecting on what you achieved during the day.
This period of reflection will help you pin point mistakes that you made, feel good about your successes and plan for the next day. Decide on the three most important things that you want to do the following day and call it your ‘Tomorrow List’. This list will instantly give you a heads-up about your priorities for the following day. It will also give you a sense of satisfaction reflecting on a day well spent.
Being disciplined is often seen as boring. Placing yourself and your priorities above those of others is seen as selfish.
However, the truth is that some of the most creative and successful minds in recent times have adhered to work routines that not only celebrated daily rituals but also placed their own goals firmly at the heart of everything they did.
If it worked for them, trying out a disciplined workday is probably worth a try.
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