So I’ve been studying up on time management. There are a lot of tactics out there: cut up large projects into smaller ones, eliminate distractions, make lists, and on and on. But I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s really only one time management strategy.
Know the difference between a tactic and a strategy? Sun Tzu in his Art of War wrote,
All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
I understand the difference as one of generality and specificity. Tactics apply strategy specifically: a tactic is a specific method of carrying out the general plan of getting from here to there.
For example, your marketing strategy might be a combination of direct contact and advertising. To implement this strategy you might utilize the tactics of cold calling and lead-generating direct mail.
When it comes to time management, there’s really only one strategy:
As much as possible, make whatever you’re doing at any given time further your goals.
That’s time management. There’s no real strategic secret beyond that simple idea. Tactics, sure—but if you’re not seeing the forest for the trees, those tactics lack focus.
Whatever you’re doing, consider asking yourself, Is this getting me closer to where I want to be?
A recent 2015 study by the American Psychological Association shows that sex and/or violence in advertising does not actually sell more products and services (Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 141, No. 5, 1022-1048, Do Sex and Violence Sell? A Meta-Analytic Review of the Effects of Sexual and Violent Media and Ad Content on Memory, Attitudes, and Buying Intentions).
In this study, as intensity of the sexual ad content increased, memory, attitudes, and buying intentions decreased.
But this is nothing new. As far back as 1978, several studies have found that brands advertised in print using sexual content are remembered less often than brands advertised using nonsexual content (Alexander & Judd, 1978; Richmond & Hartman, 1982; Weller, Roberts, & Neuhaus, 1979).
Yet some ad agencies and marketing companies haven’t gotten the memo.
Did you know that in 2014 every dollar spent on direct mail advertising resulted in $12.61 in sales, on average (The Direct Marketing Association [DMA])?
With these numbers, what you should do is clear: send out as much direct mail as you can!
Did you know that every dollar spent on commercial email resulted in $36.70 in sales?
What’s that mean? Send out as many emails as you can!
Say your business utilizes a two-tiered membership. There’s really no excuse for not sending direct mail packages and emails to current, lower-tiered members, selling the upgrade to the higher tier. But I see it happen.
Basic oversights such as this cost thousands in sales.