Lifehacks for the Modern Marketer

rube goldberg
How do you get it all done?

If I had a nickel for every time I heard this question … well, I wouldn’t be rich (let’s be honest) but I could probably treat you to lunch.

google pants recallIt seems that people have an endless curiosity about how I get things done. Tom Webster and I thought marketing lifehacks would be a very interesting podcast topic — and it was, because Tom and I had some pretty divergent views on tech solutions versus old-school lifehacks to manage a busy schedule.

Some of the topics we covered:

  • Multi-tasking
  • eMail management tricks
  • Tricks to staying disciplined and focused
  • When to out-source tasks and what to out-source
  • How do you handle business upsets
  • Dealing with the tyranny of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
  • The “Swiss Army Knife” of marketing tools
  • Productivity on the road
  • Hacks for expense reports

And wait … there’s more! Where else you can hear about the hottest Internet sensations FaceMat and iTwister? Nowhere but here:

Or click here for episode 24 of The Marketing Companion

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  • I’m even crazier than the persnickety Mr. Webster. I can’t even think straight or order my day and tasks unless I’m at inbox zero.

    I am a strict adherent to David Allen’s GTD system and I have all of my “next actions lists” set-up as tags in Evernote. If an email comes in and it’s a task I can do in under 2 minutes, I do it right away. If it’s not, I forward it to my Evernote Inbox folder and then process all of the notes into the appropriate next action list.

    Then, at the beginning of each day I prioritize my tasks using the ABCDE method I learned from Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog. Here are some notes I made from a video of his explaining the system:

    A – Something that is *very* important. Something you *must* do. It has serious consequences if you do or don’t do it. This is a task that if you don’t do it or fail to do it, it’s a serious problem. These are the frogs of your life. These are the things you’ve got to eat first.

    B – A task that you should do. But it only has mild consequences if you do it or not. Like returning a phone call, going to lunch with a co-worker, or even checking your email. These are not major tasks. These are the tadpoles of your work life. Someone might be inconvenienced if you don’t do it, but it’s nowhere near as important as an A task. Returning an unimportant voicemail or checking your email is a B task. You should never do a B task when there’s an A task left undone. You should never be distracted by a tadpole when there’s a big frog sitting there waiting to be eaten.

    C – Tasks that would be nice to do. No consequences if you do it or not. Phoning a friend. Having coffee or lunch with a friend. Doing personal business during work hours. It has no-effect in your work life, but most people spend 50% of their time in C-tasks that have no relevance to their work at all, and then they wonder why they’re not getting ahead.

    D – D tasks are things you can Delegate to someone else. The rule is that you should delegate anything that someone else can do so that you can free up time for more of the A tasks that only you can do.

    E – E tasks are things you can Eliminate all together and it won’t make any real difference. This maybe a task that was important at one time, but is no longer important to yourself or anyone else. Often it’s something you continue to do out of habit or because you enjoy it. But every minute you spend on an E task is taking away time from a task or activity that can make a real difference in your life.

    The key to making this work is to practice discipline and start immediately on your A task, and stay with it until it’s complete. If you have several A tasks, list them as A-1, A-2, A-3, and start on your A-1 first.

    Use your willpower and mental strength to get going and keep going on this one job, the most important single task you could possibly be doing. Eat the WHOLE frog and don’t stop until it’s finished completely.

    This alone can double your productivity the very first day you begin using this system!

    “Make your list the night before, or at least the morning before you start work.” – Brian Tracy

    “Never start work without a list. Think on paper.” – Brian Tracy

    Without this system, I am dead in the water. But to paraphrase David Allen, it gives me the “psychic bandwidth” I need to be creative. But I can’t let my ideas flow and make a mess without having order in this part of my life.

    So for me, Evernote is truly my virtual brain. And using it in combination with GTD and Eat That Frog gives me the peace of mind and confidence that I’m doing the most important thing every minute of the day.

    I also use Evernote for my CRM system to manage my client projects and sales funnel. It’s a true Swiss Army knife!!

  • Hi James,

    You probably know this re where eat a frog comes from, maybe others don’t.

    The French writer Nicolas Chamfort (not Mark Twain) recommended that you should start your day by eating a frog.

    What he meant was to do that one thing you hate the most first.

    His Wikipedia page explains more. worth a look.


  • I knew the metaphor was about the idea that if you eat a frog first thing in the morning, then nothing worse could possibly happen for the rest of the day. That is, if you start with the hardest thing, everything else will seem easy after that. But I didn’t know it was actually Nicholas Chamfort who coined the phrase. Thanks for sharing the source document!

  • Are we going to talk about the first 8 minutes of this podcast. I think it needs to be addressed! Haha

  • I agree. I’m really concerned about Mark.

  • You mean…it’s a metaphor? Shoot. I’ve been doing this wrong, and may have even poisoned myself.

  • Was it entertaining or a waste of time? I never know. We entertain ourselves and assume people go along for the ride : )

  • Ditto.

  • Thanks for the great blog post! : )

  • Delicious over ice cream by the way.

  • Ha! I was just sitting here stressed trying to think of an idea for a blog I have to ship in the morning. Looks like I have my post!

  • No need to thank me.

    — Your friendly neighborhood blogger

  • I must! Your comments section is a fantastic blogging platform. Perhaps a new software platform to add to your growing suite of products?

    For the same small price of a luxury foreign sports car a day, you can listen to The Marketing Companion. Throw in a case of Dom Perignon White Gold Jeroboam valued at just $40,000 per bottle and you can use the Grow Social Comments section to produce content to repurpose on your own blog.

    But wait, there’s more! Since BusinessesGrow has such high domain authority we’ll throw in an East Tennessee size haul of blackhat back links that point at your domain absolutely free!

    They say a sucker is born every minute, so sign up for and stop sucking today! … Right after we get your credit card number.

  • I know that I was laughing and with a lot of dry marketing podcasts I listen to it’s a nice break!

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