As we approach the start of a new year, and indeed a new decade, the blogosphere will no doubt be overwhelmed by predictions and forecasts of various kinds concerning the future of traditional media, social media, PR, marketing etc.
So I thought I’d take a different tack.
I’m going to assume that we are indeed heading into another year of evolution and change. So if that’s a given, why not consider you. What will you do in the next year?
It’s December, it’s a great time to take stock, to review how you’re doing, and to preview where you’re going.
The world of work is changing; and I think that PR and marketing professionals face even greater challenges as we struggle to juggle our traditional work loads and responsibilities with new emerging channels, tools and relationships. So how will we cope with these challenges?
Now before I go any further, I would hate you to think that I’m living in some sort of personal Zen. I can assure you that I am not. However I have reached the conclusion that we must take responsibility for how we manage our personal and working lives. We need to actively think about how we not only cope with a broader set of responsibilities but how we succeed with them.
In short, I think 2010 is the year that you need to invest in you.
I’m not a personal development guru, but here I present 12 areas that I’ve been thinking about recently – for what it’s worth. (And there’s not one mention of unfollowing people on Twitter – that’s a promise.)
I would love to hear your views. What have I missed? What do you disagree with? Jump in with a comment or write your own post and let me know, I’ll add links here.
1. If you don’t know where you’re going.. I am sure there are many people in this world who are naturally ‘planful’. No doubt their work and personal lives revolve around a clear vision of short, medium and long-term objectives. I’m not one of them. However, I have been investing some time in thinking about my own priorities and my own objectives. What roles do I play in my personal and work lives? What objectives do I have? What changes do I want to make? Where do I want to go and how do I get there? Start small, map your roles and responsibilities and your aspirations, then review and review again.
2. Make time for your personal life… Do I need to write any more? If I do, then please refer to the beginning of this paragraph.
3. Love what you do.. It amazes me how many people hate their jobs. They dread the sound of their alarm clock. Well, they are clearly stronger than I, because I couldn’t do that. It’s a personal thing. I need to have a passion for what I do. There’s a nice quote I read recently from a Steve Jobs address to students at Stanford: “You’ve got to find what you love… If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” Spot on.
4. Get smart about your workload… You face an avalanche of work, commitments, e-mail, tweets, meetings, tasks and calls every day. Do yourself a favor, start thinking about how you can work smarter. There are some great approaches to more efficient personal workflow. Research them, try them, and give yourself some time back.
5. It’s OK to be a nerd… Related to getting a personal workflow is getting smart about how you use the tools you have. Investing some time in learning to use your PC and applications – as well as the tools and services available online – more effectively, is a good investment that will give you a huge return. Get searching.
6. Get Social.. I know this sounds really obvious, but social media is here to stay. Ignorance really isn’t an option. Many, if not most of our traditional tools and channels will remain important and relevant for the foreseeable future, but social media opens new opportunities to increase the effectiveness of your efforts. The fact you are reading this on a blog means you’re probably already there, however, keep current and get involved. See point #12.
7. Consume greedily.. Keep your brain active and challenged. Find time to read, find time to listen to podcasts, find time to talk to people. Expand your mind outside your area of expertise. Build it into your objectives. Creative ideas and approaches come from many sources and many of them are surprising. Bring your Zune or your Kindle to the gym or on the train. Make time.
8. Live a little… So as the quote goes, "If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got." We live in exciting times, take calculated risks, experiment, review it and measure the results. At worst it provides fantastic learning opportunities and at best will have a major impact on the effectiveness of your work.
9. Write proper…Isn’t it time we addressed the black and white elephant in the room? The advent of social media demands that we revisit how we communicate. Corporate speak is over-used and it no longer resonates with our audiences. We must change how we think about it, we must bring words to life and go back to telling stories. This is a long journey but one that is worth taking.
10. Where’s your vision… There’s a land grab underway in social media. Who owns it? Who drives it? Don’t be left behind, take control of your destiny. Be clear on your goals (and how they tie back to the business), your strategies and your tactics. Social media isn’t about starting a Twitter account it must be integrated across your business.
Remember the story about everybody, somebody, anybody and nobody?
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about this, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
11. How big was it?… Don’t look at your shoes and cough. Measure your successes AND your failures. Review them. Learn. Go again. Be accountable.
12. Know your audience… Invest in getting a better insight into your audience. It will pay huge dividends. Don’t pay lip service to it, do it.
Last but certainly not least, enjoy it… remember this isn’t a dress rehearsal…
When I was drafting this post, I happened upon a post I wrote around this time of the year back in 2007. It’s still relevant.