Enough with the Navel Gazing

From Friday evening until Monday afternoon, the modem that makes the phone and internet service in my house work stopped working. At first, I was annoyed because I wanted to see what was happening on Twitter and Facebook. Then, I was worried because, “What if client’s were trying to get in touch with me?” So, throughout the day Monday, I was anxious, but also secretly a little excited that by the time I finally checked my email, there

Not my navel…

would be a couple of requests for work, or at least requests for more information in there.

Stop laughing. I can hope.

Of course my inbox was full of LinkedIn updates (I’ve got to turn those emails off somehow!) and spam from Amazon.

So then I started thinking about what I would have done all day Monday if I hadn’t been chasing a new modem. The answer has me re-thinking the whole idea of focus.

When you need clients (as I do) you need to spend a fair amount of time marketing. It’s awfully easy to put things under the heading “marketing” that probably shouldn’t be there. For example, reading through the discussion threads on LinkedIn daily is not really marketing. Posting updates to Facebook five or six times a day does not increase sales. Reading news stories, following election coverage, looking at photos of hurricane damage…well, you get the idea. I spend too much time doing all of those things.

This week, I am going to spend some time sharpening my focus. Here are a few important things, just off the top of my head:

Spend more time writing. Instead of checking Facebook, write a paragraph or two of this blog, on some of my personal projects, or guest posts. Those are better marketing projects than reading discussions on LinkedIn, or using any other type of social media networking. Social media has its place, but it is a limited place and should not take up much time during the work day.

Send more emails. Since my specialty is email marketing, you might imagine I’m right on top of clicking “send.” Remember the story about the cobbler and his barefoot children? Well, my own email list is sadly small because I have neglected it. When things are slow, I should focus on building that list, writing interesting stuff to send to the people on it, and otherwise following the excellent advice I give clients. (By the way, if you would like to receive my newsletter, go ahead and sign up.)

Make more marketing calls. I have always had good luck with just picking up the phone and calling people. It’s one of those things, like washing the dishes, that I dread for hours or even days before just biting the bullet. If you hate making calls, try only calling companies you have researched carefully. If you see something that indicates they might have a need for your service, it’s usually a pretty easy conversation. Making one or two calls instead of reading about the latest outrage committed by a politician is better for your business, and probably your spirit, too.

Keep a backup list handy. Your daily list probably consists of things that must be done right now. It’s really easy to waste time after everything on that must-do-now list is done. It is far more productive to keep a backup list of things that you want to work on but think you don’t have time to work on handy. I want to write fiction, but trick myself into believing I don’t have time to dedicate to it. If I limited the time I spend clicking links my smart friends on Twitter share there, I’d have more time for writing fiction.

What are your best focusing tips? How can I make sure that my time is spent doing things that will result in a higher number in my bank account?

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