In my previous post, I had a little rant about how much I do like writing, but struggle specifically with ‘content-marketing’. It was a little self-indulgent, I’m aware of that, and so I thought I’d follow it up with a post about what I’m doing to fix the situation. Because – let’s be honest here – no-one ever said that every aspect of running your own business is meant to be easy or fun.
And whining isn’t attractive in grown-ups.
With that in mind, I’ve started a routine for myself to carve out time and (more importantly perhaps) the energy, to help me to create regular content for this blog.
Short version: I’m allocating 1 hour a day to content marketing. I’m doing it in the morning, straight after some meditation, and I allocate about an hour of my day. More crucially, perhaps, I’m accepting no excuses from my employee (that would be me), that I’m too busy, too tired, or too uninspired to spend that time on content marketing.
If you prefer the long version, keep reading.
Yes, I know. How very hippy.
I’m not doing a whole heap of meditating – I allocate 2 ten minute blocks a day (morning and afternoon), to create some quiet time in my brain. Sometimes all I manage to achieve is not falling asleep, other times I realise after 10 minutes that all I’ve done is listen to my inner monologue. Occasionally, however, I do get a sense of relaxation and quiet space.
Whether I’m doing it right or not, and whether it’s technically meditation or not, it certainly refreshes me and gives me some clear head space time for the hour or so afterwards. And that’s the time I’m putting aside for content creation. An hour an day, every day, using my meditated brain.
I meditate on my breath, because I once read a book about it, and that’s what works for me. Lots of people I know swear by meditation apps, and I have some friends who spend years doing (and loving) Transcendental Meditation.
It doesn’t really matter what approach you take, but it’s worth giving it try. At the very least, you’re allocating some guilt-free quiet time to yourself each day. Your business will thank you.
Yup, getting more firmly on the hippy train.
I’m trying to practice mindfulness in all aspects of my life – although I have to admit to days (and even weeks), when I forget that this is what I’m trying to do. Obviously, I’ve got some work to do, but the only way to get better is to keep practicing.
The huge positives with practicing mindfulness is that you feel present in your own life (even if only for short bursts). When it’s going well, I fully work in the time I allocate as work time, and I fully unwind in the time I allocate as down time.
In relation to my content marketing plan, I try to be fully present when I’m working on a blog post, or graphics for my business, and to be as efficient as I can. Once I’ve ticked off that task for the day, I can then move on in my head.
It’s taken me a decade or two to work this out, but it turns out I’m most productive first thing in the morning.
I try to sit down and do those things that I know I’d rather put off, first thing in the morning. I have lots more energy and enthusiasm in the hours before lunch, and so find it easier to ignore the little voices telling me to put it off till later.
Client work will always get done, and I never miss a deadline. And so I reserve the right to work late into the night on those projects, if that’s how my day pans out. By ticking off the ‘don’t wanna’ tasks first thing in the day, it also helps to quieten down the guilt-gremlin that loves to chatter away when I succeed in talking myself out of doing something I’d rather not be doing.
My suggestion would be to work out the time of day that you are most productive. It might be a few hours after you wake up, it might be the dark hours when everyone else is asleep. The point is, reserve some of that best time for your business.
I’ve flirted with using the Pomodoro technique, off and on for a while now. In essence, you allocated 25 minute slots to your tasks, with a 5 minute break after each slot.
There is more to it, but I’ve decided not to get too bogged down in slavishly following the technique itself, while still managing to embrace the spirit.
The trick, I’m finding, is to do something away from the computer during the 5 minute break (i.e. not checking Facebook). It gives my eyes a break, but more importantly perhaps, becomes a proper break. I usually do some stretching, make a cup of tea or – excitingly – do some laundry (I know, I know, it’s hard not to envy this lifestyle).
My content marketing plan uses up 2 of those slots a day, so basically about an hour.
Do you have a plan or routine in place to help you with your content marketing? More importantly – does it work?