The second full workweek of 2014 is here, and if you haven’t put last year’s challenges behind you or taken the lead on 2013 to-do list holdovers (including past-due invoices), you’re f—d.
Starting the new year in the red, mentally and financially, doesn’t necessarily spell failure, but it does conjure up feelings of being frustrated and frazzled—a frame of mind that diminishes productivity and focus, critical on the job functions. If you want to set the stage for business success, you have to get your head in the game.
Regrouping after the holidaze is never easy, but this year seemed worse than usual. Due in part, surely, to modern day , 24/7 work hard-play hard demands finally easing up. But mid-January is here and the party is officially over.
Whether you’re a C-suite exec or small to mid-size business owner, the habits you establish now, and the goals you set, will set the stage for 2014’s accomplishments.
Hopefully you took advantage of everyone still being a little bit checked out last week to clean out your inboxes and update your social media pages and blog editorial calendars. Now that you and your peers are settled, it’s time to follow up on those “Let’s do coffee or lunch” invites and to catch up on motivational, industry or digital marketing reading. If you’ve got a Dropbox folder full of free white papers, setting aside 20 minutes each morning will help get you through them, and kickstart your brain for the workday.
LinkedIn is a good place to start because your contacts are all there, and if you use the app, you can quickly access a lot of useful information posted publicly, or get a taste of insider tips by checking in on all those groups that you follow. For things that you don’t have time to read, save them via Instapaper or designate a document or app on your device for creating a link library. (I love to use the Notes feature as it automatically updates to my phone and iPad, which means if I am stuck waiting for an appointment, I can easily catch up on trends and business news.
You’ve probably got more links stashed than you have time to read, but here are a few (below) that should be pushed to the top of the list. SEO and social media are still impacting the way companies and clients/customers are connecting, giving digital marketing top billing in almost every online conversation.
This collection of SEO soundbites provides Real Advice from Real Experts in a palatable dose, while this set of infographs, provided by HubSpot , may come off as daunting. But in order to keep up with the conversation, and to get the people on your team closer to understanding and executing your business’ SEO strategy more effectively, spending some time trying to glean the basics can prove fruitful. This final image is a bit easier to swallow, and is valuable because it simplifies the integrated process of SEO and spotlights all the ways you can drive traffic to your site.
You’ll also find a bevy of SEO, social media, blogging and press releases how-to content on Google Plus. Go ahead and gripe that there’s too much to read, but when you land on that one aha-moment post, you are going to be glad you worked as hard as you did to find it. This link will take you to one of my online stashes of reference materials, Pinterest. It’s a great place to store and share worthy reads (and infographs).
Digital Marketing aside, another tactic that will help lift your company above the competition, is to establish a set of keywords—not the SEO kind—that describe what you want from yourself, your employees and your business dealings. For example:
- Relevancy …
By saying your suite of words aloud every day and using them as your guide, decisions will be easier and frustrations will dissipate more quickly. (You can thank @PeterShankman for the inspiration.) Another word to put onto that list is “no.” Use it loud and clear when saying “yes” takes you away from your own goals.
Hone your thinking and stay on track with motivational quotes as well. You’ll likely find that those you latch onto relate in some way to your set of keywords.
For example, this Deepak Chopra quote, “No solution can ever be found by running in three different directions,” relates to the word focus. If that’s a goal for you, grab a sticky, write it down and display it by your desk. Do that with other quotes and when the going gets rough, you’ll have plenty of verbal support, just without the noise.
2014 is still going to have its frustrating moments, and things won’t go according to plan each and every day. But fortifying yourself, by way of organization, inspiration, education and a solid professional network, will help keep your feet on the ground when all you want to do is use one of them to kick a chair. You know the sayings: You can’t control the weather and you can only control yourself. So get your 2014 self dressed for success, inside and out.
“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”
—CoCo Chanel, founder of Chanel, Inc.