It is still January and many of us are still feeling fresh and optimistic about the New Year. Productivity author and expert David Allen offered some great advice and reasons to clear out your surroundings.
Want more business? Get rid of all the old energy in the business you’ve done. Are there any open loops left with any of your clients? Any agreements or disagreements that have not been completed or resolved? Any agendas and communications that need to be expressed?
Want more clothes? Go through your closets and storage areas and cart to your local donation center everything that you haven’t worn in the last 24 months or does not look or feel just right.
Want to be freer to go where you want to, when you want to, with new transportation? Clean out your glove compartments and trunks of your cars.
Do you want more wealth? Unhook from the investments and resources that have been nagging at you to change.
Do you want to feel more useful? Hand off anything that you are under-utilizing to someone who can employ it better.
Want some new visions for your life and work? Clean up and organize your boxes of old photographs.
Want to know what to do with your life when you grow up? Start by cleaning the center drawer of your desk.
You have to clear and organize your stuff anyway, right? Narrowing what you see, use and interact with down to what is really wanted, useful and desired is better.
What about your marketing messages? Is it time to let go of what is not working so you can focus on what is working to bring new customers?
We started writing this blog about a year ago. The two articles that have received the most comments are Direct Mail Hot Spots and Tips to Make Direct Mail Work Smarter. Both of these posts offer practical tips and ideas to make the most out of a great medium, direct mail, for communicating with your target audience.
Was it the titles that generated the traffic or was it the content? We think it has more to do with the titles.
Wired.com reported on the findings of an analysis of 1.2 billion messages sent in 2009, seven out of every ten Twitter messages get absolutely no reaction.
We just completed a marketing outlook survey for the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) Council that seemed to leave out many aspects of “traditional” marketing.
So the question is if numbers and results are revealing that email open rates are 22% and click through rates are about 5%, why do these and other marketing methods get so much attention?
We all have awful days. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, shared many ways to deal with a terrible day.
- Resist the urge to “treat” yourself. Often, the things we choose as “treats” aren’t good for us. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and other negative consequences just deepen the lousiness of the day.
- Do something nice for someone else. “Do good, feel good” – this really works. Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons.
- Distract yourself. You may be much better able to cope with the situation after having had a bit of relief. Watching a funny movie or TV show is a great way to take a break, or re-read beloved classics of children’s literature.
- Seek inner peace through outer order. Soothe yourself by tackling a messy closet, an untidy desk, or crowded countertops. The sense of tangible progress, control, and orderliness can be a comfort. This always works for me – and fortunately, my family is messy enough that I always have plenty of therapeutic clutter at hand.
- Tell yourself, “Well, at least I…” Get some things accomplished. Yes, you had a horrible day, but at least you went to the gym, or played with your kids, or walked the dog, or read your children a story, or recycled.
- Exercise is an extremely effective mood booster – but be careful of exercise that allows you to ruminate. For example, walking can provide uninterrupted time to dwell obsessively on your troubles.
- Stay in contact. When you’re having a lousy day, it’s tempting to retreat into isolation. Studies show, though, that contact with other people boosts mood. So try to see or talk to people, especially people you’re close to.
- Things really will look brighter in the morning. Go to bed early and start the next day anew. Also, sleep deprivation puts a drag on mood in the best of circumstances, so a little extra sleep will do you good.
- Remind yourself of your other identities. If you feel like a loser at work, send out a blast email to engage with college friends. If you think members of the PTA are mad at you, don’t miss the spinning class where everyone knows and likes you.
- Keep perspective. Ask yourself: “Will this matter in a month? In a year?”
- Write it down. When something horrible is consuming my mind, I find that if I write up a paragraph or two about the situation, I get immense relief.
- Be grateful. Remind yourself that a lousy day isn’t a catastrophic day. Be grateful that you’re still on the “lousy” spectrum. Probably, things could be worse.
Technology may make the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.
The New York Times published an article summarizing the findings from research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco. They concluded that when rats have a new experience, like exploring an unfamiliar area, their brains show new patterns of activity. But only when the rats take a break from their exploration do they process those patterns in a way that seems to create a persistent memory of the experience.
The researchers suspect that the findings also apply to how humans learn. “Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” said Loren Frank, assistant professor in the department of physiology at the university, where he specializes in learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain was constantly stimulated, “you prevent this learning process.”
At the University of Michigan, a study found that people learned significantly better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment, suggesting that processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued. “People think they’re refreshing themselves, but they’re fatiguing themselves,” said Marc Berman, a University of Michigan neuroscientist.
Our conclusion is that this is bad for marketing too. If the only way people encounter your name or branding is digitally, they may not be absorbing the communication. We have shared information about how paper can make better emotional connections, and how touching, feeling and engaging in an activity like doodling can help retain information.