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Mastering the Balancing Act
As online entrepreneurs, we often find ourselves juggling numerous tasks and responsibilities, striving to maintain a sense of organisation and accomplishment. One critical aspect of this balancing act is consistently making time for strategically important tasks, such as email marketing.
Email marketing is an essential tool for online entrepreneurs to connect with their audience, promote their services, and build their brand. Yet many busy entrepreneurs struggle to give it the consistent attention necessary to generate real results.
One popular tool we rely on to help with this juggling act is the trusty to-do list. Many people love to-do lists because they reduce our feeling of “mental clutter”, provide a sense of being in control, and it’s so satisfying when we get to check off a completed task.
However, when not used effectively, our trusty to-do list can actually undermine our productivity and mindset, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and perpetually falling behind. This can be especially true when managing the numerous tasks associated with effective email marketing.
Let’s explore the most common mistakes most people make with their to-do lists and provide practical strategies to overcome them.
By making these upgrades to your approach, you’ll reduce overwhelm, enhance your productivity, and improve your work-life balance. Even when dealing with the complexities of email marketing.
The Power and Perils of To-Do Lists:
To-do lists are a beloved tool to help keep track of everything, including all your life errands. They provide a way of getting all of our tasks out of our heads, helping us feel more organised. Alleviating the mental stress of trying to remember everything.
But the way most people use “to-do lists” increases overwhelm and reinforces the belief that time is always against us.
In essence, our to-do lists unintentionally train our brains to fail, and this can be particularly detrimental when we’re dealing with the time-sensitive and strategic tasks associated with email marketing.
Identifying the Problem:
Consider this scenario: You diligently create a to-do list each day, listing out and prioritising all the things you want to get done in your business, as well as your other commitments, errands, and so on. Your list may include a mix of meetings, calls, strategically important marketing tasks, errands, household tasks, and other commitments.
The resulting list may have 10, 15, or sometimes 20 items on it. It can seem that, no matter how hard you work, you never have enough time to complete everything. The strategically important projects often remain unfinished. You know, the ones that could truly transform your business and life, including getting on top of your email marketing tasks. Drafting that new campaign, segmenting your email list, analyzing the results of a recently completed campaign, or scheduling new content.
And the more times we fail to get through everything on our list, the more we believe that there is just never enough time to get it all done. This becomes a self-perpetuating cycle, affecting our email marketing efforts and overall business growth. As well as our confidence, motivation, and wellbeing.
The good news is that you can break free from this cycle of overwhelm and reclaim your sense of control over time. First, let’s identify the most common mistakes many people make – so you know what to avoid. And then we’ll share some simple yet powerful upgrades to the way you approach your to-do list, which will help you accomplish what truly matters, in less time, and with less overwhelm, including managing your email marketing effectively.
Common To-Do List Mistakes:
Let’s explore the common mistakes we make with our to-do lists that undermine our productivity:
Unfiltered Long Lists:
Often, we create our to-do lists by simply asking ourselves, “What do I need to do today?”
Our brain then supplies us with a long list of tasks which may or may not be aligned with our current goals. Sometimes, they are not even our “stuff”, but are other people’s “shoulds”.
Result: We end up spending time and energy on “busy work” that doesn’t contribute to our desired outcomes.
Neglecting Strategically Important Tasks:
Strategically important tasks are often left out of this process, or drop to the bottom of the list, because they often don’t have the same sense of urgency, or are outside our normal “comfort zone”. These often include strategic business development, content creation and marketing, and making time for our relationships and our own health and self-care.
We prioritise comfortable and urgent tasks over those that have the potential to make a significant impact.
Result: We feel stuck and frustrated, constantly busy but just not getting the results.
Lumping Different Tasks Together:
When we lump together strategic work, administrative tasks, household management, and errands, our mental clarity suffers.
These tasks require different types of mental energy, making it challenging to switch gears smoothly.
Result: Our focus becomes scattered, impeding our overall effectiveness, and reducing our energy and productivity.
Detailed Task Listings:
It’s often tempting to list tasks in great detail – because then we get to “tick more things off”. However, a long-detailed list can lead to a sense of overwhelm. “I have so many things to get through today!”
Instead of grouping similar tasks together, we end up with an overwhelming number of individual items.
Result: We become overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the list, making it difficult to prioritize and take action.
Setting unachievable lists for the day is one of the most damaging mistakes.
Failing to account for the amount of time we actually have, and for those unexpected interruptions that often come during the day, sets us up for failure. If you’re not 100% confident that your plan for the day is achievable, your subconscious picks this up. This can lead to procrastination and reduced motivation.
Result: We reinforce the belief that there’s never enough time, perpetuating the cycle of overwhelm and frustration.
Practical Strategies for Effective To-Do Lists and Email Marketing:
Now that we’ve identified the common mistakes, let’s focus on strategies for upgrading your to-do list to enhance your productivity and improve your email marketing outcomes:
1. Filter and Prioritise Your List:
Start by ensuring that your list only contains tasks that move you towards your goals. Always ask: Does this task align with my goals? Is it crucial for my email marketing campaign? Use a method like the Eisenhower Box to help distinguish between urgent and important tasks … and ensure only important tasks make it onto your list! Once you’ve filtered your list, prioritise the remaining tasks. That way you’ll always know your next step.
2. Break Down Large Tasks:
If a task seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller, manageable parts. For example, instead of writing “Create email marketing campaign” as a single task, divide it into: “Draft email copy”, “Design email layout”, “Segment email list”, etc.
3. Time Blocking:
Dedicate specific time blocks for different kinds of tasks. For instance, reserve your most productive hours for strategic tasks and set aside time later for administrative duties. This strategy is highly effective in managing email marketing tasks that require deep concentration, like content creation and data analysis.
4. Make it Achievable:
Ensure the list of tasks you are committing yourself to is achievable, considering your available time and the potential for unexpected interruptions. Remember, it’s much better to under-promise and over-deliver – including to yourself.
5. Use Technology:
Leverage technology to manage your to-do lists. There are numerous apps that not only help you record your tasks but can also remind you, help you prioritize, and even track the time you spend on tasks. Email marketing tools can automate tasks like sending emails, segmenting your list, and monitoring campaign performance.
A productive to-do list, or “daily plan”, is not just about capturing everything you feel you need to do. It’s about focusing on what truly “moves the needle” for you, prioritising, ensuring your plan is achievable, and using strategies that align with your business objectives and personal productivity style. If used effectively, it can greatly enhance your email marketing efforts and overall business growth.
By applying these 5 strategies, you can transform your to-do list from being a source of stress and overwhelm, into a tool for organisation, motivation, and productivity.
Would you like 5 Steps To Creating More Balance In Your Life … Every Day? Get your Balanced Life Blueprint here.
And if you’d like to know more about outsourcing your email marketing, get your Collaborative Outsourcing Checklist here.
Happy Business Growth!
Meet the Authors:
Louise Deed is an Email Marketing Strategist who helps service-based business owners create impactful email marketing campaigns that drive growth. With her deep understanding of newsletters and digital marketing, Louise guides entrepreneurs towards effective and engaging communication strategies.
Anna McKinlay is a Lifestyle & Business Breakthrough Specialist dedicated to helping individuals unlock their full potential. With a keen focus on time management, goal achievement, and personal growth, Anna aids her clients in aligning with their unique potential, building habits that lead to sustainable success, and creating a business and life they love.