Productivity tips are our focus in this week’s Marketing Monday Q&A. Our CEO, Christina May answers some questions based on her experience as an entrepreneur and marketing professional.
Check out the full video here:
Question 1: What is your morning routine?
CMay: For me, success starts the night before.
If you’re an entrepreneur or in business, you realize the busier you get, the more you value your “quiet time” to be productive. You usually get two different periods, like early in the morning, and late in the evening.
Becoming a morning person is not as easy as setting a New Year's resolution. If you’re not a morning person to begin with, it’s not something you can just change into overnight. There are still ways to be productive in the morning, however, especially in the quiet hours before the flux of emails starts for the day.
Here’s Christina’s basic routine:
- The night before: Plan the next day, reflect on what worked well today, prepare for tomorrow’s meetings, check the calendar, etc.
- When the alarm goes off in the morning: I’ll get up, go downstairs to take care of Lucy the dog.
- Pre-shower hour: Clear out email, set an intention of what I want to accomplish today. If everything else blows up, as long as I get this one thing done, it counts as a success for the day. I may meditate or read if I have time.
- Before 8 a.m.: Knock some work out in the morning before emails start pouring in.
- 8-8:30 a.m.: Get ready for the day and drive to the office to answer more emails.
Question 2: How do you track your productivity during your day?
Everyone does this differently and at varying levels. One way is with a planner that breaks things down into monthly, weekly and daily plans.
In Christina’s current planner, the daily view has the option to schedule tasks and meetings as well as set goals. This makes it easy stay accountable for those goals and allows for the opportunity to reflect on what worked well, what didn’t work well and what can be done to stay on track and improve in the future.
A planner can also help highlight time sucks in your day by showing what took up too much time or caused you to get off track.
When things get overwhelming, stick to a post-it note. Just fill up the post it note, check everything off as you get to it and crumple it up at the end of the day.
Question 3: What balance should I aim for between billable work and business development?
CMay: Pay attention to your pipeline.
Balancing productivity, billable work and business development, depends on where you and your company are. If you are a consultant or a solopreneur, you have to sell yourself and you also have to do your work.
Business development has a lot to do with timing: reaching out, following up with people, scheduling calls and emails at the right time. This can be disruptive to the billable work process.
Take a good, honest look at your pipeline, and use your time to make sure there’s always work there to keep it healthy. If you’re working on current client projects, and have nothing else coming down the pipeline, you may need to spend more time on business development.
If your business is growing to the point where you can hire someone else, you may need to choose if you’re going to focus your own time on either business development or billable work. There’s a point when you start your own business, where you have to decide if you’re going to continue with your craft or move into a more managerial and business development position. If you’re good with the craft, you should hire someone to do business development.
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Illumine8 After Hours will be back in-house on Friday, November 17 at 5 p.m. and the team will be discussing marketing aspects of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There may or may not be balloon animals involved… Stay tuned.