Content creation, product creation and fulfillment, social media management and engagement, building sales funnels, growing your list, being at the top of your game, staying informed….
…any of that crowding your brain on a regular basis? I bet you have a lot more than that flying around in your cranium at any given moment of your day, right?
The Modern Marketer’s Dilemma…
Here’s a common scenario for most marketers. You strike out for a visit to your social media accounts with the purpose to share some great stuff and see what’s going on in order to make the rounds in support of your business. You prepare yourself to separate what you need to do from the personal stuff that will hit you immediately upon arriving.
You hit Facebook and check your page, and notice you have several notifications to check. It’s all mixed with personal interests and business.
Once you get back on track, you quickly post a couple notifications to your business fan page, feeling like you could have done a better job putting something more engaging up. But you still have G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so you repeat the process on those sites, noticing your time and level of interest in doing it “right” diminishing rapidly with each site.
You leave social media feeling like there was a lot more you could have done, more efficiently. With more focus and purpose. Well, maybe tomorrow…
Now you have to check email, return customer support requests, respond to emails from possible joint venture partners, check and see if you were approved to write a guest post on a big site you’ve been trying to get into for a couple of months, check sales notifications and so on.
After a good 30-45 minutes of this you feel like you have a good stopping point with several emails needing your attention later. Now, on to the blog post for this week. Or the podcast you need to record. Or the interview you are doing with someone today.
And that’s just the first few hours of your busy day!
The feelings we get in this always-on, always plugged in, never-ending fire hose of information overload are of fatigue, helplessness, even hopelessness. At the end of any given day, we can feel like a soccer ball that was kicked around by Team Internet with no actual control over our own direction in business and in life. Indeed, if you aren’t focused, you’re letting your business, your personal communications, and all the sources of information and lists of “To-Do’s” dictate your every move.
It all leaves us with a sense of being out of control and lost. With little sense of accomplishment, other than a lot of “busy-ness” happened.
If you aren’t making enough sales, the business isn’t cranking along the way you thought it would be, and you feel like forward progress just isn’t happening the way it should, then you are in good company.
Most of humanity is trying to grapple with this relatively new phenomenon of digital information overload.
Overload to a degree that has only existed in the last .5 seconds of human history. And that’s just people who have nothing more than an internet connection and a couple social accounts. Add to that starting, running, and growing a business, and you have a cocktail of confusion, distraction, and digital A.D.D. that can cripple any entrepreneur if not dealt with.
4 Steps To Becoming An Information OVERLORD…
Becoming an information overlord requires that thing you are desperately seeking when you feel out of sorts and like outside forces are in control of your time and energy rather than you. Focus is key, and there are tools and tips that will help you become more focused and feel in total control of your day. This will improve forward motion of your business in very big ways if you take it seriously and nip the distractions with the following tips…
Step 1: Time Constraints
Place specific time limits on things that tend to get out of control if you let them. Like social media. Set one time per day, or smaller chunks of time per day, to spend in total on social media. The constraint will make you focus on important stuff more so you can fly past the cat videos without a second thought. Set aside another time(s) during the day to be social just for fun. (This is important too!) Use an egg timer or the timer on your phone to make sure you only spend the allotted time and no more!
Step 2: Make a time and place for everything
Keep up on your craft on purpose rather than on a whim. Don’t read emails, articles or other material pertaining to your continuing education unless it is during a self-designated time to do so. You can’t absorb information as well “on the fly” or while multitasking. The nagging feeling that “I HAVE to read that article on funnel marketing! It’s so important!” does not serve you well while you are doing other things that are also important. When you file that article away to deal with later, you can forget about it for now and consume it without being distracted when the designated time arrives.
Follow the tips below for everything you do, so that your calendar starts to fill up with specific times for doing everything in your business and personal life. (Account for free time, thinking time, and other less structured times as well!)
The feeling of control and lower stress is immediate here. VERY gratifying and satisfying just to get this step done. Live in it for a month and adjust as you see fit. Make a time and place for everything and drop it all on your calendar for BIG peace of mind!
Step 3: Use Tools
Use calendars and reminder apps and anything else you wish. Stick with the ones you like, get rid of the ones that don’t serve you well, and you will find yourself in control with a system that helps you stay on track and focused. Try to get over the neat factor of a new tool or app and really make it prove its worth and value to your information overlord system. If it is more “neat” than helpful, ditch it. Tools only work if you use them regularly and they become a part of your “why” for doing this rather than just the “how.”
Step 4: Notice Things
The biggest reason I feel we don’t stick to things like this is that we don’t take a “selfie” of our situation while we do new things and NOTICE how they make us feel. You should feel like things are in control and moving along the way they should. Notice that feeling when it happens and “Lock It In” as a practice rather than something like a “diet.” The only way you can lock things in is to pay attention to how new processes make you feel. If they feel wrong, adjust them. If they feel right, make a mental note that you are locking this feeling in. Doing this, you will succeed in making a real habit rather than a temporary correction.
Nothing New Under The Sun, Except…
There is nothing really new in the tips above except for maybe #4. We all go through cycles of being more or less organized and in control of our time and destiny. The cycles are usually the biggest problem to tackle, because with a system you cherish and follow, there won’t be any more cycles. There will just be your life, business and personal, running smoothly with a system you created to suit you perfectly. Locking it in is the key to getting off the “I need to get organized” treadmill and making order, efficiency, and effectiveness part of your life instead of something you do once in awhile before falling back into old habits.
What are your favorite tips for getting and staying organized and focused? How do you currently manage the massive influx of information in your daily life? Let us know in the comments below!