Marketers face a growing gap between what they need from their customer databases and what those databases actually can do — and the problem is worsening as the numbers of channels and customer expectations both grow. That was the ominous warning marketing consultant David Raab sounded three years ago.Continue reading...
The customer has already transformed. And it is the customer who will transform the organization. Citizens Advice is a wonderfully clear and concise service for citizens of the UK, helping them with things like money management, housing, discrimination, etc.Continue reading...
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that Facebook ads are one of the best marketing tools available to bloggers and business owners.
But whether you’re a complete newbie to Facebook ads or if you’ve been using them for a while, there’s probably still a heap of features that you didn’t even know existed. From cropping images to free stock photos there’s a lot that you can do within the Facebook Ads Manager that will save you time. And if you’re using video (which you should be) then the Ads Manager offers a lot of dynamic options to really make the most of the effort you’ve put into your videos.
So here’s 5 ‘Secret’ features that you should look for in Ads Manager when you’re running your next campaign.
Secret Feature No.1 – Breakdown
If you’re like most other people that have dabbled in FB ads, you’ve probably uttered the words “my ads didn’t work” at some point in your life. And that might be true. But did you know that there’s a heap of information attached to all your ads, which will give you an idea of WHY they didn’t work? And you can then use that information to make improvements for your next ads.
Go to Ads Manager then on the top right of your ad results you’ll see a button saying ‘Breakdown’. Click on that and you’ll see a dropdown with lots of different options to choose from.
Some of the ones that I pay attention to are:
- Age – You can see which age groups performed the best and if it matches your idea of who your ideal client was. If a certain age group outperformed the others then you might want to only target that age group with your next ads. Conversely, if you really want to target a certain age group and they weren’t clicking on your ad then you might decide to try a different image or different ad copy to try and get them to engage.
- Placement – A placement is where someone sees your ad e.g. mobile, desktop, Instagram. You can see what it cost you to get a click or a conversion from each placement and which one performed best.
- Country – If you’ve grouped lots of countries into the same Ad Set then you can see where your money was spent and which country performed best. You can use that information next time you advertise and might decide to separate out the countries into different Ad Sets or even to leave out some countries altogether if they didn’t perform well
- Day of the week – Go to ‘By Time > Day’. Use this to see if there’s any days that perform much better than other days. With one of my clients we realised that they never get any meaningful engagement over the weekend, so we chose to switch ads off on a Saturday & Sunday. But once Monday morning comes along we switch the ads back on because things kick back in again.
Secret Feature No.2 – Free Stock Images
Stuck on what image to use for your ad and don’t want to have to pay for a stock photo? No drama, Shutterstock has got you covered. They’ve made thousands of images available for use for free. Just head into Ads Manager, click on the green ‘Create Ad’ button in the top right, and when you get to the Ad level where you need to add an image just click on ‘Free Stock Images’:
You then just type a keyword into the search bar that is related to whatever you’re advertising. Choose up to 6 images that you like and they’ll be added to your ad for split-testing.
There’s a couple of important things you need to know about this option:
- You still have to adhere to Facebook’s guidelines on having text on the image. Which means if you choose an image with a lot of text on it then your ad will be penalised by Facebook. There’s more info on the guidelines here.
- The image may not be the correct size for the type of ad you want to run. Which means your image may end up being cut off and looking a bit odd. (There’s more info on the correct image size for each ad here.
So that brings us onto the next hidden feature that you may not know about…
Secret Feature No. 3 – Crop Image
There’s specific image sizes that you need to use for different types of ads. The correct image sizes can be found HERE.
By using the correct image size it will ensure that your ad looks good on all the different placements that it might be seen (mobile, desktop, Instagram, right hand column). If you’re creating the images yourself you can use Canva, PicMonkey or Photoshop to resize your images to the correct size. But sometimes you’re in a rush or using the free stock images. So that’s when you want to use the ‘Crop Image’ feature.
When creating the ad within Ads Manager you’ll need to choose your image first and then you’ll click the ‘Crop Image’ icon in the bottom of the image.
Then you can move the grid around to make your image look good within the dimensions.
Just remember that some images will just not fit in the ad dimensions, so you may have to try a few images to get it looking good.
Secret Feature No.4 – Create a Slideshow of Images
Now you might have a few images you want to use in your ad, or you might think that just using one image is not exciting enough. But creating a video might just seem a bit too much work, or not something you’re good at. Well, Facebook makes it super easy to create a slideshow of your images, which plays just like a video in the ad. Just click on ‘Slideshow’ at the Ad level then ‘Create Slideshow’ down the bottom.
You then click on ‘Add Photos’ to choose your images. You also have a few options about how you want the video to look:
- Aspect ratio – Original, Square, Rectangle or Vertical
- How long each image is on the screen
- Whether you want any transition between the images
You can also add some music to your slideshow, using either the royalty-free music available in Facebook or uploading your own. Just remember, if you’re uploading music you must have the right to use it. (You can find out more info on copyright here).
Then you’re done! It’s a really easy way to add a bit of movement into your ads and to capture the attention of anyone that sees it.
Secret Feature No.5 – Create an Audience of People That Have Viewed Your Videos
If you hadn’t heard the newsflash, video is so hot right now. Facebook wants to be the place to be for viewing videos. So if you’re willing to take the time to create some catchy vids or to put yourself out there on camera, you’ll be rewarded with better organic reach and engagement.
However, there’s another reason that you should be seriously considering using videos for your business. And that’s the fact that you can create an audience of people that have viewed your video and then show them an ad for something else.
Think about it… if someone has taken the time to watch your video, they already know who you are. So if they then see an ad telling them about your shop/service/product then they’re more likely to click on it.
You can create the ‘Video Views’ audience after you’ve posted some video content on your Facebook page or run a video ad. To create the audience go into your Ads Manager and then click on Audiences > Create Audience > Custom Audience > Engagement on Facebook > Video
You can then create audiences based on the amount of your video that people have watched.
You need to know that Facebook classes a video view as anyone that has watched at least 3 seconds of your video. Which means that someone scrolling through their newsfeed may have seen your video for 3 seconds but wasn’t actually paying any attention to it. So the total video views is not really indicative of people that have actually taken the time to stop on your video. So I often like to use 25% or above to create my audiences.
You then choose the videos that you want to use to create your audience, click on ‘Confirm’ in the bottom right, name it and then ‘Create Audience’
You can then select this audience from the ‘Custom Audiences’ dropdown in the Ad Set level when choosing your targeting.
So there you have 5 awesome features in Facebook’s Ads Manager that you probably didn’t know existed.
Which of these features are you going to try next time you run an ad? Leave a comment and let me know.
Angela Ponsford is one half of Dotti Media and is a self-confessed Facebook Ads nerd. She loves geeking out over clients’ Facebook Ad campaigns and figuring out how to get them the best results. Angela also works with clients doing one-on-one Facebook Ads coaching, runs Facebook & Instagram workshops and is the co-creator of ‘Get InstaSavvy’, an online Instagram course. When she’s not on Facebook you can find her on the roller derby track as her alter ego, Slingshot Polkadot. She lives just outside Byron Bay with her husband and twin daughters.
The post 5 Facebook Advertising Features You Probably Didn’t Know Existed appeared first on ProBlogger.
B2B marketing has been touting account-based marketing (ABM) as a key strategy that is helping to fine-tune prospects that are ideal for your solution. The tactic can provide an effective avenue for creating meaningful campaigns that appeal to these prospects, enabling you to increase your conversions.
Just because more people are investing in ABM because of its success rate doesn’t mean all these marketers are moving forward and using the concept of ABM correctly. Part of ABM's effectiveness is its ability to provide very relevant and detailed data. However, there’s so much data that it quickly becomes a complex marketing tool. This complexity has resulted in some common pitfalls like the six listed below:1. Thinking It’s All About Digital Marketing
While all types of online digital marketing certainly offer considerable benefits in reaching these prospects, many companies often forget about the offline marketing platforms, mistakenly believing they are dead. In reality, many businesses still spend considerable time with more traditional marketing communications where they feel they can develop tangible relationships with companies that can offer them solutions.
Companies in particular and people in general tend to trust the physical presence more than the virtual world, especially when many of the business solutions they are considering come at a high cost or involve a major investment. Look at targeting accounts in specific regions and determine which events in those areas should be added to the strategy in conjunction with your digital tactics.2. Not Maximizing Value of Existing Content
This is a huge mistake because new content may not be necessary for each of your targeted accounts. Not only does this utilize more resources than necessary, but you also are not maximizing the value from the existing content. Keep your content library organized and review existing white papers, eBooks, case studies and articles for content that can be re-purposed or minimally changed in order to suit various accounts.
There is so much information thrown at us on a daily basis that we cannot catch every noteworthy piece of information; creating the need for a few repeats here and there.
Even something as simple as changing the images that accompany the content can create something new and engaging for different accounts. You may want to add enough content that is relevant to an industry that your new account now represents while keeping the primary benefits in place. I personally do this by publishing daily on our blog.3. Not Personalizing the Content for Each ABM Campaign
There’s also the risk when recycling content or even creating new content that it will not be personalized to the degree necessary to truly enthrall and delight those target accounts.
Again, the need to keep pristine filing of content so that you will have the ability and option to hone in on the personal challenges of each target and present that information in a way that shows specifically how you can address those personal business challenges.
Be sure to deliver this content in a segmented way through various channels like email marketing, social media, and smart content found on various landing pages. This will add considerable value to each ABM campaign and capture your targets’ attention.4. Not Developing the Right Infrastructure with the Appropriate ABM Tools
In the rush to benefit from the ABM trend, many companies just ad-hoc campaigns in the hopes they can gain quick benefits. The reality is that a company needs to have the right infrastructure to support ABM campaigns, including the most appropriate tools.
Your ABM toolbox should contain tools like a CRM platform, social media accounts, content promotion tools, a content management system, and a marketing automation platform. I also love tools such as Visme for creating stunning photos. In selecting these tools, look for those that offer third-party integration so you can connect as many ABM tools as possible for maximum efficiency and lift-off.5. Separating Marketing and Sales Rather than Encouraging Collaboration
Your marketing and sales teams cannot go off and do their own thing because they are missing out on opportunities to collaborate and are creating barriers to identifying the best prospects. Together, your marketing and sales team can become a powerhouse force that shares and agrees to certain metrics that identify target accounts as well as developing and managing more successful ABM campaigns.
The project work involved in an ABM campaign can also be split up amongst the two departments to balance workload and generate the most relevant content.
Consider these mistakes when creating and implementing your ABM strategy and design your campaigns so as to prevent you from losing ROI and to help you strengthen your account relationships.
The Modern Marketing Guide to ABM will help you increase your conversions and lead you away from more pitfalls, allowing you to make the most of your time and resources to create meaningful campaigns.
Does this ever happen to you?
You read something from one of your favorite writers — maybe it’s a blog post, or a scene from a novel, or an essay on Medium.
You’re caught up in the words. The way that writer spins and turns the language, shaping what you see and feel as you read.
And once the reading spell is broken, you think …
Dang, I wish I could do that.
Experienced creative workers — writers, painters, musicians — know how to make it look easy.
But when we try our hand … it’s harder than it looks.
We all want to get good at things
Maybe you want to master the art of creative storytelling for your content. Or you want to start off your content with that satisfying “Bang!” that gets people to keep reading. Or you would just really like some more shares and links.
“Enjoy the process” is fine advice, but it’s even nicer when the process leads to real improvement. When we get better at what we’re doing. When we start to have more impact.
I find this quote by Jeff Olson both intriguing and depressing:
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”
My friend and genius dog trainer Susan Garrett has tweaked this to:
“Successful people make a game out of what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”
For the chronically immature (like me), this is an especially useful insight.
Some things about business are hard.
Some things about content marketing are hard.
If you can make a game out of them, you get to change “hard” into “fun and challenging.” Do that consistently, and there are all kinds of amazing things that can happen.
The content marketing Intimidation Factor
We love content marketing for many reasons … but we tend to avoid it for one:
There are so many things to learn.
Not to mention techniques for specialty content like podcasts, infographics, or video.
If you’re standing at the foot of Mount Content and looking up, the summit looks uncomfortably far away. And high. And spiky. And probably cold.
Lately, I’ve been counseling people to try a new approach to scaling that mountain … and it starts with realizing that it isn’t a mountain at all.
There are lots of recipes for success
You can visualize content success as Mount Everest. There’s one defined path up to the summit. It’s very hard to climb. You need equipment, know-how, elite-level conditioning, relatively good weather, a guide, and some luck. Even then, you might die.
Or you can visualize content success as making some soup.
There are a lot of recipes. Some people like spicy soup. Some people like savory soup. Some people like cold soup, or fruit soup. There are a lot of options. Some of them are weird, but that’s fine, because there are plenty of people who adore weird.
Personally, to tell you the truth, I feel a lot better about my ability to make some nice soup than to climb Mount Everest and possibly die.
One thing I like about the soup metaphor is that it recognizes that you can create something worthwhile out of what you happen to have available.
If you have a great writing voice, hardly any money, a few chunks of free time on weekends, and a lot of hilarious stories, you can create an interesting content soup out of that.
If you have a writing voice that isn’t as strong, but you have the budget to hire an editor, you consistently have an hour a day to create content, and you have a whole bunch of interesting people in your contact list, you can create a different content soup out of that.
You don’t have to master every single element of content marketing right away. And
hardly anyone no one does.
But the more techniques and tactics you can get good at, the more kinds of soup you can make. And the more effective your content will tend to be.
Enter: the 30-Day Challenge Method
Anyone who uses Facebook is familiar with these — we decide to adopt some habit or pattern for 30 days, and watch what happens.
There are nutrition challenges, fitness challenges, art challenges, handwriting challenges. One of the best-known, NaNoWriMo — a challenge to write an entire novel in the month of November — kicks off tomorrow.
I have to be honest; I’m not necessarily a fan of signing up for other people’s challenges. Too often, they’re inflexible and they’re overly sweeping. They set you up to fail, instead of setting you up to learn. (Every time I’ve tried NaNoWriMo, it’s tanked my writing output for months afterward.)
In other words, the game quits being fun around Day One and a Half.
Instead, try writing your own challenge. And make sure it’s more play than penance.
Here are some guidelines I’ll suggest:
- Decide in advance to define your challenge as a game, to be played for fun and learning.
- Pick something to work on every day for 30 days.
- Make it not too hard and not too easy. You want to push yourself, but still have fun.
- Set a defined start date.
- Do some prep before the start date. Make sure you have access to everything you’ll need (materials, internet access, free time, etc.).
- Allow yourself to do more on some days and less on others. But do a little something every day during your challenge.
- Decide in advance what the “absolute minimal effort” option might look like … you’ll need it at least once.
- Try to have a defined time of day to do your challenge activity — but if you miss it, just squeeze it in there somewhere.
- If you miss a day, start again the next day. Try very hard not to miss a day.
- Don’t come up with elaborate punishments for yourself if you slip up. It’s a game.
- When your 30 days are up, give yourself a rest before you start a new challenge.
So, what kinds of things can you work on?
You might notice that you can use this kind of challenge to work on literally anything that’s bugging you. Here are some ideas for your content or business:
Choose one of these to study and practice every day for 30 days:
- More effective headlines
- Great first sentences
- Writing dialogue
- Quick stories
- Translating features into benefits
- Writing sales copy
- Brainstorming lists of blog post ideas
Or maybe you’d like to take a consistent action every day for 30 days:
- Reach out to a new blogger or online publisher.
- Touch base with someone you haven’t talked with in a while.
- Spend time describing, in detail, a business process you do all the time, so you can have an assistant take it over.
- Take a short walk, then immediately sit down and write for 20 minutes.
- Go through one tutorial on that software you’ve been meaning to learn forever.
I’ve found a lot of power in doing something every day, but if for some reason you really want a free day every week … it’s your game. You set the rules.
How about you?
Ever done a writing challenge or another type of content challenge? Interested in coming up with a challenge of your own?
Great ideas are even better when they’re shared … so let us know about your challenge ideas in the comments!
The post Want to Sharpen Your Writing Skills? Try This Fun Challenge appeared first on Copyblogger.
We talk a lot about a/b testing here on MarketingExperiments. What we don’t usually talk about is a/b testing for the mobile web…especially testing within mobile apps.
I thought we should change that. As I was scouring the web looking for mobile a/b tests, I found this 2-year old video by Amazon.
Apparently, Amazon Web Services (AWS) at one point had an a/b testing feature that is now closed
When they had testing, however, one app developer used it extensively and shared their experiences in a promotional video for the feature on Amazon. The developers were behind the game Air Patriots. Russell Caroll was the Senior Producer for the game and Julio Gorge was the Game Development Engineer. The game is a kind of aerial take on the classic tower defense game genre.
Now granted, this was a promotional video, but the content still speaks for itself. These guys had (and still have by the looks of it) a fairly successful mobile app and they ran some successful tests. It’s a great starting place for what you can test in your mobile app.
By the way, while Amazon has shut down its a/b testing feature, there are a lot of other tools for testing mobile apps that will accomplish the same thing the developers talk about in the video.
Test #1: What is the impact of ads on customer experience? (1:34)
The first thing the team tested was the impact of ads are on their customers. They wanted to make sure the ads did not harm the customer experience. So they tested a single ad in the main menu near the bottom of the screen.
They found that the ads didn’t affect customer retention. This meant that they could insert ads and generate more revenue without hurting their customers.
Test #2: Will in-game ad placement affect customer retention? (2:56)
In the second test, the team put ads in the game screen.
In both the first and second tests, the ads had a little “X” that the customers could tap to hypothetically dismiss the ads. When they tapped, a pop up came up that told customers they could eliminate ads with any purchase in the game’s store.
In this test, there was again, no impact on customer retention, but there was a statistically significant increase in revenue.
Test #3: Simple game-circle icon test (4:20)
In this test, the team wanted to know whether an icon to the game-circle (Amazon’s game stats and leaderboards portal) would improve performance.
It’s not clear which icon won, or even why this particular test was useful for the team, but they did get a favorable result, and the lesson they wanted to drive home was that simple changes like icons can make a difference. We’ve, of course found that to be the case in a large number of our tests on MarketingExperiments.
Test #4: Does game difficulty affect revenue? (4:58)
In this 4th test, Caroll made a mistake. He accidentally changed the game difficulty to make it about 10% harder. As a result, every metric that was important to them tanked.
The team of course fixed it as fast as possible, but it gave them an idea.
What would happen to revenue if they made the game easier?
So they ran a test that had 5 treatments: The control and then 4 difficulty levels that were easier than the control.
It turned out that the easiest difficulty performed the best. By making it easier, they players playing 20% longer and revenue went up 20%.
Test #5: When is the best time to have push-notifications for re-engagement in inactive players? (7:43)
The team then tested a push-notification that offered inactive players and incentive for picking the game back up.
They wanted to know when the best time to send the notification would be. So they tested a few different variables and found that the best time was 3 days after the last game play.
They also found that sending the notification 7 days after the last game play negatively impacted their performance metrics.
With these 5 tests and probably a few more that have been happening off the record, the team was able to develop a great app for their customers and steadily increase their revenue. At the end of the video Carol gives a few key takeaways for marketers who are a/b testing their apps.
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3 MORE Tips to Help You Increase Your Productivity
In today’s episode, I want to continue on from the previous episode and share 3 more thoughts on how to become more productive and build healthy habits around your blogging and in your life.
While normally our episodes are designed as stand alone episodes this one really does build upon the last one, so I would encourage you to listen to that one first if you haven’t done so, yet.
In it I talked about:
- Starting with your why and building goals around it
- The power of saying ‘it’s just what I do’ and ‘normalising’ the habits you’re trying to build through making appointments with yourself
- Building Systems rather than thinking just about building ‘good habits’
Today I want to extend upon these ideas and talk about how I got my own weekly system or routine to the point it’s currently at – because it didn’t just happen!
Today I’ll share:
- The power of ‘leveling up’ your habits
- My approach to when you can’t keep your schedule up
- And how I stay sane as someone who doesn’t like systems – but has one!
So if you’re someone who struggles with managing your time or have tried to build good habits but have failed to stay on track – this episode is just for you.
In Today’s Episode 3 MORE Tips Productivity Tips to Help You Build Healthy Habits
- Start with Small Things and ‘Level Up’
- Never Miss 2 in a Row
- Create Space to play
Further Resources on 3 MORE Tips Productivity Tips to Help You Build Healthy Habits
In today’s episode, I want to continue on from the previous episode and share three more thoughts on how to become a more productive blogger and how to build healthy habits that help you to achieve your blogging goals, but also goals in other areas of your life as well.
Normally, our episodes are designed to be stand alone, you can just listen to one and then move on. This one today definitely builds upon the last one. If you haven’t listened to Episode 163, I do encourage you to go back and listen to that one first because everything I say today builds upon that.
In that previous episode for those of you who need a recap, because it’s been a few days, I talked about starting with your why and building your goals around that why. I talked about the power of saying, “It’s just what I do,” and normalizing the habits that you’re trying to build through making appointments with yourself. Lastly in the last episode, I talked about building systems rather than just thinking about building good habits.
Today, I want to extend upon those ideas and I want to talk about how I got my own weekly system or routine to the point it’s currently at because it didn’t just happen. Today, I’m going to talk about the power of levelling up your habits. I’m going to talk about my approach when you can’t quite keep that schedule up for different reasons. Lastly, I want to talk about how I stay sane as someone who doesn’t like systems but is living my life by one. If you’re someone who struggles with managing your time and you try to build those good habits in the past but have failed to stay on track, this episode is just for you.
Continuing on from that last episode, today I want to start by talking about starting with small things and levelling up. Most of the good habits and elements of the system that I’ve built for my week started off not as you see them today, but they started off really quite small. There have been a few times where I’ve started big. For example, deciding to walk 10,000 steps a day, that was a pretty big thing. Most of the time, my habits, the things that I do, have started off by being quite small to start with, and I’ve evolved them, I’ve levelled them up.
As I mentioned in the last episode, I talked about my health journey in that particular one. I want to go back to that. Made a series of small changes to help me get where I’m currently at today in my health journey. It started actually even before I started walking with my diet. As many of you know, I use the five two diet, it’s intermittent fasting for a period of time. I don’t practice it anymore because I actually lost too much weight on it and it was starting to waste away but it was a really good starting point for me to get some of those extra kilos off.
For me, that was the starting point, actually doing that. I worked on that for a few weeks, a few months, and then I decided to start to level things up because I knew I was addressing my diet but I wasn’t addressing my exercise. That’s the time that I started to walk, and that was 10,000 steps a day.
That was pretty much as far as I went for six or seven months with my health journey. Getting the diet under control and getting the walking. The reason I did that, I just didn’t level up too quickly after that. I wanted those things to become normal for me. I wanted to normalize that as I talked about in the last episode.
After six months of walking, I decided that the next thing for me to level up was to get a stand up desk and to spend more of my days standing rather than sitting. You will probably have read lots of articles on the why of that so I’m not going to go into great depth. Again, this was something I started really small. I bought the desk, I brought it home, I set it up, and I decided that I would spend the first hour of every working day standing up, that was all. I would sit for the rest of the day. It was a small step.
I went after a while, after I got used to that. It does take a little while to get used to. I decided to do an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, then gradually I moved it to a whole morning and an hour late in the afternoon. Gradually, I’ve been able to move to a point where I spend most of my day standing now. Again, it wasn’t something I just decided to do straight away, I worked my way up.
The next element was to add in some gym work and to get a personal trainer. I go two days a week to my personal trainer. That’s getting to the point where that’s starting to be normal for me. I’ve been doing that for six months now. I’m now considering my next level up. Going to a gym by myself to do a bit more cardio work because most of the work I’m doing at the PT is strength work.
For me, it’s been a really gradual thing. It’s taken me two years to get to the point that I’m at. I’m gradually levelling up. I don’t know where this all going to end in this health journey for me. If you had asked me two years ago to walk 10,000 steps a day, to stand up most of the day at my desk, to go to the PT twice a week, to go to the gym on other days, I don’t think I would have done any of it. It would have been too much for me. Small steps, normalize that behavior, then level up. I think the same thing applies in the work that you’re the doing, the habits that you’re trying to build in your blogging. Really, I guess that’s what this part is, what this podcast is about.
Your goal might be to eventually be writing everyday but to suddenly go from no post a day to a daily post, that might be too much for you. You might need to do one post a week, you might do two, you might do three, you might gradually level things up. The same with your social media, the same with running a podcast, there’s different ways to go about it. Sometimes to get to that end result that you want, you need to take a small step and then to level up.
Levelling up is the first thing I want to talk about today. The next one is kind of a little rule, another little mantra that I have. The mantra is never miss two in a row. Let me explain because kind of is a bit cryptic. The reality is that that schedule that you see, I cannot keep it up every single day. There are things that get in the way of that. The reality is for 10,000 steps a day, my walking, I can’t do that everyday. I travel, I’m getting on a plane next Tuesday to go to a conference in Orlando. I’m going to sit on planes for 36 hours to get to that conference. That period, I’m not going to be able to do 10,000 steps unless I have a long layover in an airport where I can walk around. I’ve done that plenty of times in the past.
There are sometimes some ways to weave in the walk around some of these things. Travelling, going on a holiday, getting sick, family commitments, these things all get in the way. Sometimes I can weave them in like walking around an airport, I remember doing that once at Singapore airport, going for a really long walk. I also don’t want my schedule to rule my life. I give myself permission from time to time to have time away from my routine.
The little rule that I do have is that I try not to miss two in a row. This means different things for the different habits. For example, my walking, if I miss a day, I try not to miss the next day. That’s my rule. I try to walk at least every second day. My goal is to walk everyday but sometimes things happen.
Earlier in the year we’ve been to Thailand as a family for holiday. It was tough to get my 10,000 steps in a day there. We were in a resort, it wasn’t a very big resort, it didn’t lend itself to long walk, hated the weather, lots of rain, it was hot, and plus I was on holiday so I gave myself some days off but I still managed to go every second day.
With my personal trainer, means that when I’m travelling I can’t go. I’m going to be away for a whole week next week but what I’ve decided to do is to find a gym locally that I can go to once while I’m away. I’m not going to do my normal two sessions a week, I’m going to do one, I’m going to miss one. Giving myself permission to do that.
With creating content on my blog, I may not be able to keep up the normal routine while I’m away at the conference but I’m going to try and reach my goal every second day. Write half the post that I would normally write, I would create half of the podcast.
For me, the key I guess here is to try and find ways to keep the practice of what I’m doing going, to keep those muscles working even if it’s not at the frequency that I am aiming for. I guess what I’m trying to do is to keep it normal. It’s just what I do, I create content, I walk, I go to the gym, I do these things, these are normal. For me, where I get into trouble is where I have extended breaks away from things. I try and find ways to keep things going. Whether that’s not missing two in a row, maybe there’s some other way to do that for you.
That works for me, the state I’m in at the moment. I will say when I first started walking 10,000 steps a day, I didn’t want to miss a day. That’s where I did walk around Singapore airport and did my 10,000 steps anyway. Sometimes in the early days or building habits, sometimes you get excited and you want to keep pushing through, and that’s totally fine. I became a bit obsessed, I wanted to keep my unbroken record of days of getting 10,000 steps going and that was part of my motivation in the early days. You don’t have to build a system that rules your life. The system is there to help you achieve your goals, sometimes you need to be a bit gracious with yourself.
The last that I want to talk about in this little mini series that I’m doing is to create space to play. The first version of my weekly routine was wall to wall activity. I packed every minute from 8:00AM to 10:00PM full of activity, trying to be productive all through the day. I realized that that was going to kill me. Really, as much as I was getting a lot done, it wasn’t something I could sustain.
As I mentioned in the last episode, my myers-brigg personality type is to be a P on that I’m part of the spectrum there. I’m naturally very spontaneous, impulsive. Sometimes where I’ve got space to play, that’s where I get my best ideas. For me to not leave time to be spontaneous and impulsive squashes some of those good ideas out of my life. It also squashes up space that I get energy. I know I get energy when I have a space to dream, to think, and to play with ideas.
If you look at my schedule today, you’ll see that I’ve now created space in my schedule to play. Some of that happens at the end of the day, some of that happens on the weekends, but I also put aside Monday afternoons for this exact reason. For me, every day is different how I use my playtime. Sometimes it’s reading a novel, sometimes it’s watching something on Netflix, other times it’s going to a movie, or going to a café, or having a date with Vanessa, or having a sleep. Other days it ends up being a working kind of thing where I write something that is a bit more playful or something that’s more of a passion project.
For me, I really need that time to play. That may just be my personality type but I suspect most of us need that time as well. To schedule time for rest, for play, for dreaming, for imagining, that blue sky thinking is a really important thing as well. If you want to be productive, I think it’s really important to build those things in as well.
They’re my six things I’ve kind of gone through over the last couple of episodes. I would love to hear what you’ve got to say as well. My six things were to start with your goals and your why. Number two was the power of normalizing things, it’s just what I do, scheduling the things that you want to build into good habits. Number three was to think about systems, not just the habits, and actually schedule the important things that you want to build into your life. Number four was to start with small things and then to level up. Number five was to never miss two in a row, might be three. And number six was to create space to play.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these. Do one them resonate with you? Do you disagree with one? Or is there something else you would into the mix?
You can tweet me at @problogger, or leave a comment at my Facebook page at facebook.com/problogger. Love to hear what you think about this, what has helped you, and what you’re going to do as a result of this as well. Love to chat with you more on this particular topic. It’s one that I’m constantly learning on as well, so do be in touch.
I’ll chat with you in a couple of days time in Episode 165 where I’ve got an amazing interview to share with you from one of the most popular speak is that we have ever had at the ProBlogger event. Tune into that in a couple of days time.
How did you go with today’s episode?
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