Marketers: Are you doing your best work?

In today’s fast-paced world, many marketers work more than 40 hours per week. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to spend that much time at work, I want to be doing my best work. Yet I hear many marketers complain that they don’t have time to do their best work.

Over the years, whenever I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing my best work, I’ve learned to ask myself the following questions to get back on track.

Is there an obvious reason I’m not doing my best work?

For example, I don’t do my best work when I’m not feeling well, if there’s a death or serious illness in the family, etc.

If there is an obvious reason why you’re not doing your best work, be kind to yourself. Let yourself get well or take some time to focus on your personal life. While this should be easy to do, it often isn’t. I blame American work culture, where we feel we must be always on and always available.

The above meme illustrates one of the reasons US American marketers can’t always do their best work.

We also live in a culture where we’re sometimes afraid to ask for help. However, most people are willing to help others. Instead of letting your job make you sick(er), take the time you need to refresh or get well. Then you’ll be able to do your best work when you do return to your job.

This blog has tips for taking a vacation without feeling guilty.

Do I still like my job, my manager, and my organization?

If the reason you’re not doing your best work isn’t obvious, it’s time to dig deeper. Ask yourself if you still like what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. When we’re unhappy or don’t respect our leadership, we’re less likely to do our best work.

When that happens, we often trick ourselves into thinking things will get better or will change. And while sometimes they do sort themselves out on their own – your manager quits, you get a promotion, etc. – banking on that happening is a risk. It’s a risk to your happiness and your health.

If it is time to get proactive, treat looking for a new job with focus. Block out time on your calendar to do a little each day, so that it doesn’t overwhelm you or interfere with your current job.

Do you dread looking for a job, or don’t know where to start? My colleague and friend Asila Calhoun has a great service that can help.

Am I getting enough outside inspiration?

If you’re feeling healthy and happy and you like your job, then it’s time to ask yourself if you’re still inspired. It’s easy for us to get lost in the day-to-day activities of our jobs and feel like we don’t have time to find outside inspiration.

But successful marketing depends on staying up to date with the latest trends and being creative with ways to engage buyers. If we don’t, we simply can’t do our best work.

To ensure you’re getting enough outside inspiration, block time for it on your calendar like you would for any meeting or appointment. Here are some ideas on ways to get outside inspiration:

  • Join a virtual or in-person networking group.
  • Find an interesting new blog or Substack to subscribe to.
  • Go to at least one conference a year.
  • Take regular walks outside and observe what’s around you.
  • Do something creative you don’t normally do. If you’re a writer, try some type of art. If you’re a designer, try writing or designing in a new medium.
  • Join a book club or read new books on your own.

To be successful, marketers need to do their best work. Taking some time for yourself, finding a new job, or simply getting some outside inspiration can get you back on track to doing your best work.

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