2021 is a chance for a fresh start for marketers (and everyone, really). We spent 2020 navigating the choppy waters of the pandemic, encountering struggles of a new variety.
From that time period, marketers experienced growth in unfamiliar ways and created new strategies, habits, and ways to adapt in order to both survive and thrive.
These new ways of adapting have driven us all through the start of the pandemic until the present. We are what we repeatedly do and that’s what makes or breaks a habit.
What habits should marketers be making in the middle of a pandemic? What habits should we be breaking?
Make: Having patience
If there is any habit to make in times of COVID, it’s learning how to be patient. No one knew what to expect when the pandemic started and most of us are taking it one day at a time and rolling with the punches. Business has slowed for a lot of marketers, some of us have thrived, some of us are still apprehensive. Having patience is the best habit to make this year.
Break: Getting burnt out
It’s hard to avoid burnout sometimes. Some weeks are hectic and jam-packed and we don’t get a second to breathe. This is why it’s crucial to realize your breaking point before you, well, break. We need to learn healthy coping mechanisms for managing work-related stress and burnout. In fact, HIPB2B just wrote about 10 Ways to Stay Zen and Avoid Burnout While Working from Home.
Make: Embracing change
In addition to being patient, we should learn to expect the unexpected and embrace change. Absolutely no one knows what’s to come but change is inevitable, normal, and necessary. When you learn to welcome change, you allow yourself to flow with the natural evolution that is the reality of existence on this planet.
Break: Creating lackluster content
While we’re embracing change, we should also be embracing creativity. We are in a pivotal moment in the world to try new content strategies, designs, routines, and habits. Creating lackluster content while the world is looking for something to liven up their day will only bury your content deeper. We’ve all been stuck at home for a year now. It’s time for inspiration and creativity, not boredom and the mundane.
Make: Having a routine
If you’re a digital marketer or a digital anything, you’ve likely been working from home since the pandemic. You’ve switched from a solid 9-5 routine with an office and a commute to walking 5 steps to the kitchen table at whatever time you please. This is the best time to create a routine for yourself. Set time for meals, meetings, breaks, taking the dog for a walk. Structure out your day so you aren’t staring at your computer screen asking yourself “what was it I was supposed to be doing today?”
Break: Repeating your same routine for months
Conversely, you don’t want to repeat the same cyclical routine for months at a time. That may make you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Instead of going out for lunch every day, create a meal plan for what you’d like to make throughout the week. Go to the gym after work? Start working out with the early birds. Change up the soundtrack to your workday. Switch from coffee to tea. Break up the monotony.
Make: Networking and collaborating
Networking and collaborating in 2021 is a lot different from what it was in 2019. We aren’t meeting face-to-face anymore, we aren’t attending marketing conferences, we aren’t having lunchtime roundtables. But does that mean we should stop networking and collaborating altogether? Absolutely not. In fact, we all NEED to network at this moment in time. This is the primary way to keep in touch with our colleagues and clients, through Zoom meetings, sharing our screens, and having lunchtime video chats.
Break: Not communicating
There’s nothing that will make you feel lonelier in a pandemic than simply not communicating. Most offices have a channel of communication, whether you talk to your colleagues via Slack, Teams, or email. Pinging someone every other day can sustain a level of comfort and socialization. Whereas keeping yourself as a hermit and isolated can do some serious damage to your mental health. Reach out to coworkers and compadres if you’re feeling lonely, or if you think someone else could use a chat.
Make: Humanizing your brand
We’re no longer face-to-face out in society. A lot of us stay home to mitigate the risk of COVID and when we do go out in public, half of our face is covered by a mask. There’s never been a more important time in history to humanize your brand than right now. Show that your company has actually humans with their own lives fueling operations. Let the world know you aren’t a robot behind a screen.
Break: Not following up
As we aren’t that advanced in artificial intelligence just yet, robots don’t have the ability to follow up with clients as well as humans do. Everybody likes to be pursued, rather than be the pursuer. If you have a potential lead, be sure to follow up with them at a later date and see if they’d like your business. This doesn’t just go for clients. Follow up with your family and friends, too. Did your friend mention she was struggling with work? Maybe your parent needs help setting something up on their computer. Follow up and let leads and loved ones know you’re thinking about them.
Make: Being your own boss
If you’ve been working at home, now is the perfect time to become your own boss. Your day is completely structured out the way you want it to be. You dictate what gets done on what day within what structure of time. Take work into your own hands and be proactive with productivity.
Break: Not staying up to date
2021 will undoubtedly have a continuous stream of updates, trends, and news, as 2020 did. Becoming more in-tune will keep you ahead of the curve. COVID updates may affect your business. There may be new design trends that work better with the way the world is run right now. Some strategies and practices will need to be adjusted to fit with current times.
Make: Trying someone else’s routine
There’s no better way to learn how to be successful than following the morning routines of some of the world’s most successful CEOs. Here are some examples:
- Jeff Bezos goes to bed early and gets up early. His puttering time is very important to him.
- Oprah walks all five of her dogs, has an espresso, reads five cards from her 365 Gathered Truths box, practices meditation, and works out, all before midday.
- Arianna Huffington says a big part of her morning is in “what she doesn’t do.” She doesn’t look at her phone when she first wakes up. Instead, she takes a minute to breathe and sets her intention for the day.
- Warren Buffet wakes up every morning at 6:45am and reads at least six different newspapers. He also eats Mcdonald’s for breakfast.
My routine includes waking up any time between 4:45 and 5:45am, spending an hour at the gym, making a healthy breakfast and a big pot of coffee, and hopping on my computer promptly for 8:30am.
Break: Not taking time for yourself; focusing only on work and worry
There’s more to our day-to-day life and our big picture life than working and worrying. When the pandemic first crept into our lives, a lot of us were in a panic about what was to come next for our jobs and our lives. After over a year in, we’re still working and worrying away. But as with anything in life, it’s important to take time for yourself. Everyone needs R&R from time to time, even if it’s half a day of self-care. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and you can’t have one without the other.
Everyone knows that 2020 was a tough year. The real question is do we want 2020 to repeat itself into 2021? Probably not. Marketers have learned a lot in the last year and it’s important to create and sustain habits that will not only keep us afloat but help us thrive. Here’s to 2021 being our fresh start with a fresh perspective and making and breaking necessary habits.
- What habits have you created in the last year?
- Have you broken any bad habits?
- What’s your favorite habit on this list?