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Productivity

One Play Doesn't Win a Game

One Play Doesn't Win a Game

I've been watching a lot of football lately, along with millions of other people. The next morning when we watch recaps on SportsCenter, we only see the big plays. The plays that all of us talk about and see replays of for years to come.

Seriously, if I said "Super Bowl helmet catch," most of you know which game I'm talking about and where you were when you saw it.

It's more fun to talk about the big plays. Those memorable moments that changed the game. But those moments don't win games on their own. Teams win games after a culmination of small steps and winning little victories that set them up for the ultimate success. The blocks that help get those many small 3-5 yard gains. The snaps that are caught. The time off the field working hard to be successful on the field.

Marketing has its own equivalent, especially in social media. It's the viral hits that make news. Those videos that get millions of views. The tweets that end up on the news the next morning. And it's great for brands that hit those milestones. Sometimes those viral hits can positively change the course for the brand that is reaping that momentary award.

Shouldn't we always go after those big hits?

Not always.

I'm not saying to not aim big. We should consistently . However, we shouldn't neglect the small steps that it takes to build a brand. That attention to the details. Getting the little things right establishing systems for multiple little wins. It's the small steps that become part of a brands routine that help lay the foundation for big successes.

We shouldn't sacrifice getting the little things right so we can chase one-in-a-million situations.

Just look at Arby's Pharrell tweet last year. It's easy to see how that one tweet became one of the biggest hits in real-time marketing in 2014. However, we never talk about the processes setup over a long period of time that set Arby's up to capitalize on that success. When listening to Arby's Director of Social Josh Martin talk about social at Arby's, he'll tell you about the consistent listening that they worked at over a long period of time before they had that big win. They also had small engagement wins over the last couple of years with other campaigns and responses to trending topics. Having those processes and habits in place help them make the most of their big Grammy's moment.

This doesn't just apply to marketing. It applies to all areas of success. When success stories are told, we only hear the parts involving the tip of the iceberg. We rarely hear all of the non-flashy details and moments that took place over an even longer period of time that contributed to the big play and the big win.

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So that's what I'm focusing on in 2015. I have big goals, but I'm going to be putting more focus on doing the little things right. Hopefully, when the big plays come, I'll be ready to make the most of it.

What about you?

My natural focus is worse than I thought

My natural focus is worse than I thought

I dare you to watch this video

It's not every day that College Humor makes a valid point. This was one of those days. Try and watch this video - honestly watch it - and keep reading:

I did watch this video. All the way to the bitter end.

I didn't cheat. No multi-tasking. I didn't open another tab on my browser and let the video run in the background. I sat there and focused one on thing for three whole minutes.

Sadly, it was way harder that I thought it would be.

It's incredibly hard to stay focused on one thing when the opportunities for distractions become as accessible as they are today. Sitting here and watching this video was a bit of a wake up call. I'm not nearly as focused as I like to give myself credit for. My guess is that you may not be either.

What about you? How hard was it for you to stick with the video for three minutes?

UPDATE: The Onion's new site Clickhole had their own response here. Hilarious. Nice find by Adam.

Why I don't tackle my biggest tasks of the day first thing

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I've read probably more than my fair share of productivity articles. Much of that time probably could've been spent doing something productive. The irony is not lost on me.

One common theme I see in many productivity articles includes doing your biggest or hardest task first thing in the day. While I don't think that's the wrong approach or that it lacks merit, it's just not an approach that works for me.

So what do I do?

I typically don't do work first thing in the morning. I wake up, go take my dog for a walk and then work out, do some morning reading, watch the news over coffee, or do a combination of those things before heading out the door. Sometimes the only "work" I do (aside from catching up on industry news) is writing this blog or jotting some thoughts down in my Day One journaling app.

I really don't get down to business until I'm in my office for the day. I've also tried to avoid opening email at that time (though that's not always true).

Take on the quick wins first

Every day I have what I would call "maintenance" tasks. This could include catching up my time sheets, making sure client social media content is scheduled out for the day, doing a brief scan of social listening dashboards inside of Brandwatch and THEN reviewing email. I may not turn on Outlook until 9:30-10am. 

Those maintenance tasks are things that HAVE to be done that day, normally sooner rather than later. Once I get into a big task or project, I usually don't like to come up for air in fear of losing momentum. So that the day doesn't sneak up on me, I knock out those "easier" (aka quicker) tasks first thing to have the rest of the day before me.

So my day:

  • Do non-work tasks to get into a rhythm
  • Complete maintenance tasks first thing when I walk into the office
  • Check and respond to emails
  • Tackle a big project
  • Take on a few smaller tasks if I complete or make major headway on the larger project

Sometimes, I may have a larger project to work on in addition to a "less fun" project on the same day. On those instances, I'll tackle the "less fun" task just to get it out of the way. Helps me dedicate more of myself to the bigger task without the other stuff hanging over my head.

Everyone has their own way of doing things and one system doesn't always work for everyone.

What about you? How do you delegate to-dos for yourself?