This is the final issue of Breakthrough Marketing Secrets.
I’ve had something come up and decided — rather abruptly, I admit — that I have to call it quits. After just shy of two years straight of publishing some of the world’s most valuable marketing content every weekday — for free — this will be my last word.
Please read until the end, as I’m pouring out everything to make sure this isn’t just the last, but…
The best, most valuable issue ever!
Because today I’m going to talk about productivity.
Specifically, I just had the most productive week I’ve had in months. And I can tell you EXACTLY why, and give you a replicatable system for instantly making yourself more productive — assuming you follow it.
Here’s how to skyrocket your productivity in the next 7 days…
Okay, so first I have a confession to make.
I actually disappeared into a black hole since, oh, about Christmas time.
You didn’t notice, because the one sign of life that consistently came out of me, every working day, was these daily essays.
It was my one daily deadline, and I honored it every day.
But I went to a space where…
— FIRST, productivity and momentum wasn’t coming on its own…
And, even more importantly…
— SECOND, I wasn’t FORCING productivity…
I really made a bunch of mistakes during that time…
I’ve mentioned here I’m booked well through the end of the summer, when it comes to copywriting work.
I’ve got all the work I can handle.
(Although DO NOT reach out to me trying to take some off my plate — clients who hire A-list copywriters have a contract clause that says, “You’re actually going to write this, not farm it out.”)
And, in fact, during January and February, I had way more work I needed to be doing than I actually did.
That’s a big no-no.
Do it enough, and you end up in some pretty deep doo-doo with the powers that be in your industry, and you can tank a career fast.
I let a couple projects slip… Way longer than I should have.
I’ve since personally apologized and accepted full responsibility for my misdeeds to these clients…
When this happens, you gotta eat crow. But you also need to turn things around, pronto, and get back on track again.
And so that’s what I did.
In my case, I had to put in another layer of support in my business.
Part of what happened is I suck at managing myself.
I’m usually a good employee working for others. I’m a horrible employee when I work for myself. Probably because my boss — when working for myself — will let me get away with spending an entire day making electronic music on my computer.
So I gave in to something I’ve heard so many successful people rely on.
I brought in an assistant.
I went with a virtual assistant service that charges a flat fee per month for a max usage time.
And a big part of what they’re forcing me to do (so they can help me in the way that I need to be helped) is they’re doing project management for me.
That is, they’re helping me manage myself as I complete client projects.
Here’s the specific approach I’m using that skyrocketed my productivity — and will continue to do so going forward…
And let me note…
While every really successful person I’m aware of has one or more assistants taking the minutiae tasks off their plate, you don’t NEED an assistant to make this work.
In fact, even though I’m using an assistant this time around, I also followed an earlier version of this system late last year with almost as good of results.
What you have to do is break your work down into time block chunks, and schedule it into your day as if you were scheduling a meeting with someone else.
Every item you need to do gets a time on the calendar to do it.
When you schedule things out this way, something interesting happens. When your whole week is scheduled with time-blocked tasks that need to be done, one after the other, you have to get them done. You don’t have time later to complete what you put off now.
Here are a few tips to get the most out of this…
First, it really helps to have a project management system such as Asana. (It’s free for the level of use I’m referring to.)
Create your projects, and create tasks for each project.
Each task should be easy to understand, and should have a time next to it. That’s how long it will take to complete it — how big of a time block you need on your calendar.
In general, you don’t want to be too optimistic. If you think it’s going to take 30 minutes but it really takes 4 hours, your whole week is suddenly off.
Also, give each task a deadline that makes sense. If you work 8 hours in a day and you assign yourself 24 tasks that take 30-60 minutes each due that day, you’re over-obligating yourself and the whole thing will blow up in your face.
But you also don’t want to give yourself too much time. Work expands to fill the time available — it’s Parkinson’s Law. And if you give yourself just enough time, it will motivate you to crunch for this hour’s deadline.
If you’re like me and deadlines are the primary motivating force for getting things done, this is really powerful. You’re creating a bunch of mini deadlines you need to hit, spread throughout your day and week.
Once you have all the tasks for a project laid out (or at least the ones you need to get done soon), open up your calendar. I like Google Calendar — I have Google Apps.
Go through the tasks, based on deadline, and put them into your calendar, in time blocks that make sense.
Also, schedule breaks, lunch, and buffer time. If you have a handful of smaller tasks, you can schedule a “little tasks” time. I even scheduled in a DJ set on Wednesday, that was “me time” needed to clear my head and set me up for a productive second half of the week.
The key is to schedule it all out, ahead of time, so your entire week’s schedule is full.
That way, when you start work every day, there’s no question about what it is you need to do. If you don’t sit down and get to work, you fall behind.
This isn’t self-discipline, this is self-imposed discipline…
Fans of Dan Kennedy’s work may recognize a few concepts here.
Dan make the point that he doesn’t do to-do lists and he doesn’t schedule his days — he scripts them.
This is what he’s talking about.
Knowing what you’re supposed to be doing, when, and for how long.
If you don’t control it, it will get out of control.
Also, if you follow this system, you don’t necessarily need self-discipline. It’s a discipline you impose on yourself. Important distinction.
One of the big tricks will be staying with this…
As I mentioned, when I dedicated myself to following this system, it was like someone lit a firecracker under my butt. My productivity skyrocketed. I went from behind schedule to ahead of plan. I turned a promotion in to one of my clients today that I believe will be their next big control. It’s freaking smoking hot.
Next week, I’ll put the finishing touches on another promotion — probably by COB Tuesday.
Then, I dive in and get rolling on the next two big projects in my calendar, aiming for two more big breakthroughs.
Not only am I getting things done, I’m feeling better and more confident. That translates into better writing.
The trick was to pull myself out of the bad head space, and FORCE productivity.
It works — this daily deadline forces my productivity writing 1,000 to 2,000 words per day, in an hour a day.
Scheduling every little tasks — what I’m doing, when, and for how long — forced productivity to get me caught up on client work.
You can’t sit around waiting for inspiration to strike. You have to make it happen. And often, it’s as simple as sitting down, knowing what you need to get done, and starting.
If you do this, it will likely double your output.
Punchline: April Fools.
This is NOT the final issue of Breakthrough Marketing Secrets. I’ll be back on Monday, answering your questions in another issue of Mailbox Monday. And I plan to keep sharing the most powerful marketing strategies of the world’s best direct response marketers for the foreseeable future.
I hope that thinking it was the final issue though raised some alarm and caused you to take today’s issue extra seriously!
Have a great weekend!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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