Time and Promotion

Heather Milligan has just published the third blog post in a series on “Marketing Me.” The series (of four planned posts) is intended as a counter to what Heather calls “the worst piece of advice I ever got.” This was: “Do a good job, Heather, and they’ll notice you.” Naturally enough, they didn’t.

The third post, entitled “When do you find the time?” contains some really useful tips:

  • Manage your process
  • Avoid distractions
  • Clear your life
  • Make social networking part of your job
  • Take Advantage of Technology
  • Filter the Noise
  • Have faith, it will settle down

One of the actions under the heading “clear your life” resonated with something I wrote about last year. Here’s Heather’s story:

I went through my calendar and started to cross out everything that really wasn’t necessary, beginning first with the television. What was I watching that I didn’t enjoy? What was complete junk that I really didn’t need to watch? Gone.

And here is Clay Shirky:

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads. This is a pretty big surplus. People asking, “Where do they find the time?” when they’re looking at things like Wikipedia don’t understand how tiny that entire project is…

Coincidentally, Charles Arthur has posted a link to a long interview with Clay Shirky in the Columbia Journalism Review. He then poses an interesting question:

But what also occurred to me that is not said anywhere, ever, yet seems to me to be ineluctably true is that part of the falling-away of long-form content (which includes novels and newspapers and other things that require some time in a quiet place) is down to the way that life is just getting more intense.

Is it just me, or are people generally having to run harder to keep up? I’m intrigued by the question of how many hours people have to work to have the “average” standard of living. I’m sure there’s data that American workers haven’t seen an increase in living standards over the past howevermany years. I wonder if the same exists for Britons, Europeans, people all over the place? Even as living standards rise, the rising tide means that if you fall out of the boat you’ve still got a lot of swimming to do.

The comments on Charles’s post are worth reading as well. There is an emerging theme that we tend to fill what we think is empty space with things like TV, radio, music, video games and so on, and that the increasingly portable nature of those things makes us think that we have no time to spare. In fact, those activities represent someone else’s priorities and we could use the time better to think about things that are more important to us.

That leads to Heather’s point about social networking:

I was asked recently how I was learning/managing social networking and my work load. Well, part of the answer is that my continuing education, which is what this was for me in the beginning, is part of my job. As the marketing professional for my law firm, I must keep up with not only the happenings in the industry, but the advances in technologies.

In addition, by marketing myself, I am building relationships with peers, vendors, reporters, publishers, and other professionals which all benefit my firm.

That is clearly more important than watching yet another cookery programme on TV, surely? I certainly think it is. If your life is too intense, I think you need to work out whether that intensity is being driven by things that are in fact of  little interest and value to you.

1 thought on “Time and Promotion”

  1. Mark –

    This is a timely piece of advice.* The fallacy of many time management theories is that they encourage us to believe we can and should cram more activities in our days when, in fact, deleting some activities and freeing up that time for thinking would be far more beneficial.

    Thanks for this reminder.

    – Mary

    *(Sorry, I know puns aren’t appreciated by all, but I couldn’t resist.)

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