It is easy to focus on what remains outstanding and not see what you have accomplished or how you have grown over the past year. Even marketing experts have difficulty nailing down time to market. I too fritter away time at trivial tasks like organizing paper clips, shuffling paper from one stack to another, updating my computer and watering plants. On worse days, I prefer doing laundry and making my kitchen even cleaner.
Is that you? Procrastination does directly affect how much revenue you make and the bank account doesn’t lie. Throughout the years, I’ve found ways to kindle excitement for tackling my marketing and funneling the procrastination bug. Let me share seven steps to help kick start your marketing for the new year.
1. Acknowledge with Truth
You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge and you can’t acknowledge what isn’t the truth. Find the truth by determining whether you’re dragging your feet or simply need an incubating period. As an avid writer and marketing consultant, I receive many ideas. At first, I lied to myself thinking I will remember them. For years, I recorded them in idea journals. Attached to that, I always felt guilty because I didn’t do much after documenting them. Later, I began allowing myself free write whatever thoughts were connected to those ideas as well. The guilt still came. When I gave myself permission to allow myself to fail all heck broke loose and I allowed myself to go in any direction it took me. Sometimes I began in the East and finished in the West. I gave myself permission to not have all the answers.
Unexpectedly, I started to create 101 and top 10 lists on various ideas. Sometimes, the idea emerged and I only got to five, sometimes 30. When the flow slowed, I taped the list to the wall. Every morning I reviewed the wall and added more. Throughout the day, answers came from tons of different sources and the lists kept building.
The lists circulated. The guilt for not following through disappeared, the process became easier, creativity and productivity skyrocketed.
Do you need all the answers before you start? Do you need an incubation period or wall system? Try new things and explore your way to success.
2. Identify What You Loathe
What do you hate to do in the marketing process? Make cold calls? Follow up? Write web site content? Create flyers? I didn’t like cold calling and editing. And creating new web content and planning ranked very low on my list. Identify what you procrastinate. Pinpoint the why. I put off cold calling because I felt I lacked the “right” language. When I asked myself “why,” I remembered a marketing seminar and how I bought into presenter’s beliefs about cold calling.
My fear seemed powerful. To dance around it, I began writing mini-parts of a phone script, created a list of questions I wanted to know about them, and then a list of points I wanted to leave them with about me. I made a list of possible call to actions — what action I wanted from the call. One action was to get them to my web site and subscribe to an ecourse or ebook. When I finished, I had a strategy that made sense. It was easy to initiate the calls afterwards. If they weren’t interested, they didn’t visit my web site and I didn’t feel rejected. I refined the script and calls after the first ten calls to reflect my natural language.
What whys do you have for each reason on your list? What solution possibilities are there? Ask others to brainstorm with you if you are stuck. Are there some solutions that are only a one-time action? If yes, consider outsourcing. Find one “mini” step to start and leave the next step unknown until you are ready. Keep mini-stepping until you are dancing.
3. Find Something Good
Maybe your incubation period deepened your knowledge or passion on the subject. Look for the good in the why. It could be that while you procrastinated your vision became clearer. Be honest with yourself otherwise you aren’t acknowledging it (#1).
I found my marketing planning similar to my disability to sort clean socks — no patience. Then I looked for planning methods that don’t require much patience — I began Mind Mapping. I fell in love with the topic and later became a certified trainer.
As I traveled through all this, I learned to let go of any feelings of “not knowing it all before I started”. It was a fantastic freeing experience. I no longer felt I needed to follow through on every idea and just the ones that “had more” to them. Then I saw that they all meshed eventually and my trust in the universe and me seemed to flow. I meshed my gift for ideas with my writing and marketing consulting and I had a winning strategy that continues to pay off.
Just like in construction, first need to “de”struction before you can “con”struction. Creativity is messy. Roll up your sleeves and laugh along the way.
Give yourself credit for your gifts, ask the why for the all the others, take one mini-step and watch a new self-confidence emerge.
4. Visualize Your Successful Self
Envision your marketing project or goal done. Really see it, feel it, and connect to the emotions. Don’t look for the dots to connect. They will come. Trust the universe and in yourself. Pull from a personal experience where it did work that way. Give it the visionary power it needs to promulgate. Start small or start big, just start. If it’s cleaning off your desk, see it clear, feel it clear, feel the emotion of working on it cleared.
If it’s writing, see the acceptance notices. If it’s marketing, envision the “we want to hire you” responses. In fact, write script them out and create a stronger pull with the Universe.
5. Determine What You Need to Move Forward
Who wouldn’t stall, needing the tools, how tos, strategy, system or different approach?
With marketing, I felt overwhelmed easily. I created a list of things I could do when I felt it coming on. Now when I feel panicky “my overwhelm signal” I reach for my list. Deep breathing is the one I practice until I find my list.
6. Make the Dreaded Task Fun, Easy and Simple
Are you a people person? Perhaps you’d benefit from a social approach to procrastination. Find people or a support group that listens well, allows you to BMW (bitch, moan and wine) and doesn’t allow you to get away without meeting the BMW rule. RULE: You have permission to BMW for three minutes if, and only if, you provide a solution/action step to move past it at the end.
Are you an alone person? Schedule more alone time to help you process your thoughts. Arrive at work early, sit in the car or somewhere quiet (not your office chair) and close your eyes. Arrive at the restaurant early, sit and write through your thoughts. Alternatively, you can stay afterwards and write over a long cup of coffee or dessert.
7. Stop Stalling and Get Going
Create a check-in trigger that reminds you to take a review. You can use anything that chimes or rings and set it up to create noise on the hour. Keep trying different things until you find something that works for you. If it stops working, find something new. It took me five tries before I found a clock that chimes every hour to work. When I began anchoring the clock to an automatic check-in, I made a list of questions to ask myself. Am I on target? What is my attraction/energy level? Can I do any of this faster or easier? If so, how?
When I’m out of the office, I use an old beeper (no service needed) to vibrate on the hour. Works well in the library. Go ahead take your ideas as far as you can, let it germinate and watch it create a new growth, success, and self-confidence. It’s fun to experience. Moreover, since it always works, you will keep doing it and doing it until it becomes a new habit. The rest is history.