4 Marketing Myths We All Need To Stop Believing

4 Marketing Myths We All Need To Stop Believing

The great wide world of marketing is something that many people know something out, but it’s very rare to find someone who knows everything. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s impossible. Marketing is a huge field with a lot of opinions and ideas, some of which work and some don’t. you can follow the best advice out there but it might not work, or follow none of it and see great results. What amazes us is that there is still a large portion of people who believe and perpetuate some ideas about marketing that have been proven to be completely false. These can at best leave customers with unrealistic expectations and at worse cause some serious harm to their business. So naturally, we wanted to bust some of them for good and sort the fact from fiction.

Content Creation Is The Same As Inbound Marketing

This is by definition untrue. Content creation is the act of conceptualising and creating content (fairly self-explanatory), whereas inbound marketing encompasses all marketing activities that bring visitors in, as opposed to having to go out and get prospects attention (outbound marketing). Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content. Obviously creating content is a very important part of this and will help to give your customers the information they want and establish you as an expert, but just creating more content alone won’t bring you results. It needs to be combined with your web design, SEO efforts, your social media presence and interaction, email marketing, marketing automation and conversion process in order to be effective. Content is really only 1 part of the puzzle.

‘I Just Need A Website And I will Get Customers’

Yes, having a website is really important and it’s a vital first step, but that alone won’t get you customers. Let’s get rid of this ‘build it and they will come mentality once and for all. It only worked in Field of Dreams anyway. Nothing in marketing works in isolation, instead relying on complementary efforts to produce results. If you simply build a website and leave it there, you won’t see any results –we’d be willing to put money on it. You have to put yourself out there and promote for people to notice you above the throng of thousands of other businesses competing for your prospects attention.  If you are not using other marketing and advertising tools to put yourself in front of them, it is impossible for you to be found and generate sales. Unfortunately, it’s no longer good enough to simply have a pretty website, you’ve got to know how to use it too.

If I’m Doing Something, It’s Better Than Nothing

This ideology is nothing short of insane. Marketing costs money, so if you’re just doing something because it fulfils the mandate for ‘doing marketing’, you are literally just throwing money away. Before you start saying yes to the first thing that comes along you should be doing research to figure out which marketing efforts will bring you the highest ROI. You need to define and hone your message and brand identity, dedicate time and money to making sure your message is getting to the right people and the resources to monitor, evaluate and change the direction of your marketing to make it successful. If you aren’t able to do that then marketing is just a way to camouflage throwing good money out of the window.

Marketing And Advertising Are The Same Thing, Right?

WRONG! It’s amazing how often we still hear the terms marketing and advertising being used interchangeably as if they were the same thing. Let’s clear this up. Advertising means buying time or space to relay a message. Like buying a billboard on the side of the road or a prime time TV slot to run your advert. It is a part of something bigger. Marketing, on the other hand, is the act of moving a product from concept to customer delivery and drawing in those customers. This encompasses the ideas of your company, your brand, how you communicate, the design, processes, measuring of effectiveness and market research. In short, marketing is a bloated giant of a concept, while advertising is relatively straightforward and small part of it. Marketing activities can include blogs, email newsletters, customer research, cold calling, search engine marketing and so much more. For small and medium sized businesses, advertising is actually the worst performing form of marketing, because advertising is a mass market tool, whereas most small and medium sized businesses are aiming for a niche market. So instead, they employ wider marketing tactics to gain new customers and raise awareness.

Marketing is a never ending task for every business out there, not least because there are so many options to try and avenues to go down. That’s why it’s important to take a measured view of your activities and understand how everything works and what it could do to your business. Hopefully shedding some light on these common marketing myths have helped to shape your ideas moving forward and will make your next marketing effort all the more successful. For more information on marketing myths and the truths behind them, or just to talk to us about your marketing strategy, get in touch today for your free consultation.

What Is PAS, And Why Do You Need It In Your Copy?

Copywriting isn’t a paint-by-numbers process (sorry folks!). There is no secret formula for you to follow to produce magical, compelling copy just by filling in the blanks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t formula’s out there that can help you. To give you a...
Read More

What Is Cornerstone Content (And Why Does It Matter)?

Imagine for a second that a really important visitor has arrived on your website. And I mean REALLY important – someone who could mean the difference between success and failure for your business. But this person has no idea what you do, and no time to go poking...
Read More

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More
We’ve Always Done It That Way

We’ve Always Done It That Way

Take a deep breath – I’m about to type the 6 most expensive words in business. The 6 words that will prevent your business from making progress, seeing growth or keeping up with your ever-evolving customer base. The 6 words that, in my opinion, form the most dangerous phrase you can say if you want to run a successful business.

‘We’ve always done it this way’. A failure in logical thinking that is referred to as the ‘appeal to tradition fallacy’. It’s something that we’ve all heard at one time or another in business or at home. It’s a conversational shortcut that allows us to avoid wasting time re-treading old ground. It is however, a fallacy, and a dangerous one at that. Here’s why.

Suggesting that ‘we’ve always done it that way’ makes two assumptions that aren’t necessarily true:

1) The current procedure or system worked perfectly when it was introduced.
2) The reasoning that was used when implementing the procedure/system is still valid in the present day.

The first point makes the assumption that the process or system that was originally implemented can’t be improved in any way – which is often incorrect. The second assumes that circumstances haven’t changed since the process was introduced. Again, not very likely. It should be fairly obvious that these are both quite courageous assumptions to make for any business!

When change is suggested and the response is ‘but we’ve always done it this way’, it is a major red flag for me. It shuts down the conversation before anyone has a chance to impart any new information and it implies that the current way of thinking is infallible. As the idiom goes, pride comes before a fall.

In many cases, the reasoning behind the decisions that have been made in the past is still valid. If that is the case, we should still be looking at the reasoning behind that course of action and appraising its efficiency. Is there a way we can tweak the process to make it work better or improve performance? Are there better ways of achieving the results we want? Can we reinvent the process to avoid common problems, or try implementing a new solution instead? All of these are judgement calls that decision makers should (and need) to make about every aspect of their business. By brushing these suggestions aside with ‘we’ve always done it this way’, then you are closing off the possibility of improvement. This course of action is actively harming your business, and soon you will start to stagnate while others leap ahead of you.

Avoid Becoming The Monkeys Uncle

There is a fantastic article by behavioural psychiatrist Leslie Durr that likens the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ response to research done in the 1960’s with monkeys. This is the simplified version:

You start the experiment with 5 monkeys in a cage with a set of steps. Place a banana at the top of the steps and wait for a monkey to approach the stairs to get it. When it touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. Continue to do this every time any monkey attempts to climb the stairs, and eventually the individual climbing will be attacked by the other monkeys. They know what will happen if he climbs, and they try to prevent it. Now replace one of the monkeys with a new one. This monkey will instantly try to climb the stairs, and be shocked when he is attacked by all of the other monkeys. Eventually he will stay away from the stairs as well. Now replace another monkey. All of the other monkeys (including the previous newcomer) will attack the new monkey when it goes for the banana. One by one, replace all of the monkeys. You now have a set of monkeys who will not attempt to climb the stairs and reach the banana, despite the fact that none of them had ever been sprayed with the cold water. If they could talk, they would say ‘we’ve always done it this way’.

Resistance to change is a common ailment among established organisations. Without reappraisal, ‘the rules’ or ‘the way of doing business’ that have perhaps been in place from the beginning, serve to make the organisation inflexible and inefficient. Critical thinking is the lifeblood of problem solving, and reappraisal is a huge piece of the larger critical puzzle. If we abandon reappraisal and re-evaluation then we abandon our ability to stay ahead of the competition and continue giving our customers what they want.

The purpose of this blog is not to give advice – but to propose two questions. Have you ever given this dismissive response when being questioned about practices? And how can you avoid the pitfall of the appeal to tradition?

What Is PAS, And Why Do You Need It In Your Copy?

Copywriting isn’t a paint-by-numbers process (sorry folks!). There is no secret formula for you to follow to produce magical, compelling copy just by filling in the blanks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t formula’s out there that can help you. To give you a...
Read More

What Is Cornerstone Content (And Why Does It Matter)?

Imagine for a second that a really important visitor has arrived on your website. And I mean REALLY important – someone who could mean the difference between success and failure for your business. But this person has no idea what you do, and no time to go poking...
Read More

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More
Your Date With Miss Metrics

Your Date With Miss Metrics

It’s late and you are sitting alone at a bar.

You are surrounded by marketing systems. A group of blogs are drinking huddled in the corner talking strategy, while newsletters are watching sports on the big TV and adverts are drinking shots at the bar trying to forget a long days work performing.

Then across the room you see a lovely lady – her name is Miss Metrics. You go over and start up a conversation. Amazingly, no one else in the bar seems all that interested in her. She seems like an interesting, mysterious sort of girl, with a lot of hidden depths just waiting to be explored. So you ask her out on a date. You learn a little more, and after a few more casual dates you finally become an official item. Once you open up and let her in, she shows you the hidden secrets of your marketing department. She helps you to measure how you’re doing as a business, how well your marketing efforts are performing and even how close you are to your company goals.

The relationship goes on until you feel you know everything about her. You can predict her moods, noticing when she is looking down and do something nice to make her feel better. This makes your relationship stronger and you start to see fantastically positive results – and by changing small behaviours she helps open your mind and see the big picture. And even when she has a bad day and goes a little crazy, you understand why, and are able to adapt and adjust until she’s happy again. She has become so important to you – she is your benchmark, the one you look to for advice and guidance, who helps you probe for weakness and who lets you in on the effects of your decisions – good or bad.

I might have taken the metaphor to its logical end there, but hopefully you get the idea. When you are looking at your business and your performance, metrics should be the thing you turn to. This is even more important in your marketing efforts. A lot of people think that marketing is a difficult thing to measure, and so generally don’t bother. But if you don’t measure your marketing efforts, how will you know what is working, and what is just a waste of money?

But How Do I Measure My Marketing?

You need 3 things before you can start measuring your marketing efforts:

  1. Your marketing goals
  2. Your key performance indicators (or measurement factors)
  3. Your plan for gathering performance information

For example, if you want your latest blog post to be seen by 30 people within 2 weeks, you need a strategy to promote that blog post, and a way to measure how many people actually read your post. You could promote your post through social media, with links directing customers back to the website. All of your links would link to the website, giving you a solid base for tracking reads. You will then be able to tally the total visits to your blog post page. If you have published your post on LinkedIn as well, make sure you add those reads into your total. At the end of 2 weeks, you can analyse how many people read your post, and if you reached your goal. This allows you to evaluate the success of your strategy, and perhaps tweak it for next time if you want to see better results. If you’re posting on social media, you are able to see how many people have interacted with your post and in what way. On some platforms like LinkedIn, you can go even deeper, and find out how many people have seen your post on a granular level.

In the world of print advertising, it is still incredibly difficult to measure your impact and the actual success of the campaign, but in the digital marketing age it has never been easier. For which digital marketing method you chose, there are several different ways to measure its effectiveness. The key is understanding what you want to achieve from your marketing, and what factors you will use to track and measure its success. You might want to do this through number of views, click throughs, lead conversions or open rates – the options are endless.

Measuring marketing effectiveness can be a daunting task, but in reality it has never been easier. In fact, measuring your campaigns’ success allows you to make changes as you go, and will put you head and shoulders above your competitors. By utilising metrics in your marketing efforts, you are able to discover which are your most powerful campaigns and capitalise on them, helping you grow your business quicker. If you want some advice about measuring the success of your marketing, or some help creating a marketing strategy, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.

What Is PAS, And Why Do You Need It In Your Copy?

Copywriting isn’t a paint-by-numbers process (sorry folks!). There is no secret formula for you to follow to produce magical, compelling copy just by filling in the blanks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t formula’s out there that can help you. To give you a...
Read More

What Is Cornerstone Content (And Why Does It Matter)?

Imagine for a second that a really important visitor has arrived on your website. And I mean REALLY important – someone who could mean the difference between success and failure for your business. But this person has no idea what you do, and no time to go poking...
Read More

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More
Tackling Creative Block

Tackling Creative Block

‘What the hell and I going to write about???”

If you’ve ever been called upon to write a blog, a newsletter or just some creative content for your business, this thought will undoubtedly have crossed your mind. This is often the stage when creative block leaps in, erecting a solid wall between you and the language centre of your brain. Suddenly you can’t even come up with a simple sentence or a title, and the blank pages glares out at you accusingly. Our first piece of advice here is don’t panic! Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE suffers from creative block and one point or another – even us! So instead of worrying and panicking

Why Does Creative Block Happen?

While no creative block is the same, there are generally 4 reasons we will experience the big bad block. There are some blocks that are more common than others, but each is one you might come across at some point in your life, and being able to identify why you are feeling blocked is an essential part of being able to get around it.

Mental Block: A mental block is the most common, and happens when you become so locked into your particular way of thinking that you stop seeing other options. This means you are approaching the problem from a limited perspective, and are unable to see other ways around it.

Emotional Block: Creativity isn’t always about figuring out which word comes next. It can be an intense and powerful process, and this can leave us feeling very emotionally confused. Maybe your subject is painful, embarrassing or weird, or you have become so deeply invested in your creation that you don’t want to lift the curtain and discover what happens next.

Work Habits That Don’t Work: Perhaps the problem isn’t in your head, but actually in the space around you. I for one know that I can’t work in a messy environment, and spend time every morning ritualistically cleaning and tidying my workspace before I can begin. Maybe for you, you’re working at the wrong times, in the wrong places or with the wrong systems in place to encourage your creative genius out of its shell. Experiment with different working patterns until you find something that works for you.

Personal Problems: These things are often unfortunately beyond our control, and so the best thing you can do is focus on resolving the problem before you can start up the creative fires again. If that means putting back the deadline by a week so you can finish moving house, have that big chat with the friend you fell out with or take some time off to grieve for a loved one, it doesn’t matter. Your personal and mental health should always come first, and often if you try to power through your work will suffer too.

How Do I Beat It?

While all creative blocks are different, there are a few tried and tested ways to break through or climb over the creative block and find your way back to progress.

Talk It Through. Sometimes we get stuck creatively because we have been so involved with a project for so long that thinking of the next thing to talk about is impossible. So rather than going over it again and again in your head, find someone completely unrelated to the project and talk to them about. This can help take that knotted ball of string of thoughts in your head and unwind it, letting you see the next steps, or things you may have forgotten. So collar a co-worker or your best friend for a cup of coffee and explain your project to them.

Walk Away. When you are suffering from creative block, there is nothing less productive than starting at a blank screen. So remove yourself from the room and do something else. It could be moving on to a really boring bit of admin, doing the washing or just going for a walk. Put the project out of your mind and don’t focus on it for a while. The best ideas always strike when you aren’t expecting them, so don’t obsess about the fact that you can’t think of anything to write.

Impose Some Boundaries. As we said earlier, sometime creative block happens because we have too much freedom. So if you’re struggling, put some boundaries in place for yourself. This might sound backwards, but even Wordsworth agreed that “the sonnet’s scantily plod of ground provides fertile creative soil for artists who have felt the weight of too much liberty”. So set yourself a word limit, a time limit, and a deadline. Swear you won’t have one more cup of tea or biscuit until you’ve hit your word count, and stick to it.

Take Yourself To Inspiration. Don’t wait for it to come to you. Instead of feeling miserable that you can’t create something right now, take yourself away and experience some culture and creativity. There is no shortage of galleries, museums and exhibits in the UK, so take advantage of it! Explore new ways of expression, expand your knowledge and find out about something new – you never know what exciting thing’s you’ll find.

But Remember, Creative Block isn’t Always Bad…

I know, shocker right? But creative block has a wonderful duality about it – it can have you pulling your hair out in frustration, but it also reminds you that you are unique. Some people struggle with creativity, and some experience floods of it and become overwhelmed, paralyzed by the options. But creative block often helps us do our best work in the long run. When you feel the shadow of creative block, this can be your mind (or your gut) telling you ‘you could do this better’. And then we do what most people do when faced with that challenge – we rise to it. We stay up all night drinking coffee and pouring over that one sentence, that one brushstroke that just isn’t quite right. It’s this obsession that defines a great creative, and it’s creative block that helps us find it. So don’t get frustrated when you hit the wall, instead just grab your pickaxe and start breaking it down one stone at a time!

What Is PAS, And Why Do You Need It In Your Copy?

Copywriting isn’t a paint-by-numbers process (sorry folks!). There is no secret formula for you to follow to produce magical, compelling copy just by filling in the blanks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t formula’s out there that can help you. To give you a...
Read More

What Is Cornerstone Content (And Why Does It Matter)?

Imagine for a second that a really important visitor has arrived on your website. And I mean REALLY important – someone who could mean the difference between success and failure for your business. But this person has no idea what you do, and no time to go poking...
Read More

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More
Standing Up To Your Boss Could Save Your Life

Standing Up To Your Boss Could Save Your Life

How avoidable aviation accidents have taught us the value of open communication.

On the evening of December 28th 1978, the crew of a United Airlines Flight 173 were approaching Portland International Airport for what should have been a standard landing. But as they lowered the landing gear, they heard a loud thumping noise throughout the plane. This, coupled with the fact that the light indicating the landing gear had locked into position was not lit up, caused them some concern. The captain had to make a call. And decided that they would put the aircraft into a holding flight pattern while they investigated the problem. One hour later the aircraft crash landed in a wooded suburb of Portland, and 2 crew members and 8 passengers lost their lives.

But what went wrong? Once the Captain decided to postpone landing to investigate the landing gear problem, all attention was focussed there, and no one was keeping an eye on their fuel gauge. While the decision to delay landing until it was safe was completely sound, the crash eventually occurred due to fuel exhaustion. So what could your business learn from this tragic accident?

Fault Is Not A One Way Street

While it might be easy to criticise the captain for taking his eye off the ball, we should instead look into the deeper lesson here about the way team communicate. On investigating the United 173 disaster, The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that: “the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the captain to monitor properly the aircraft’s fuel state and to properly respond to the low fuel state and the crewmember’s advisories regarding fuel state. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the other two flight crewmembers to fully comprehend the criticality of the fuel state or to successfully communicate their concern to the captain”. In other words, while the captain should have taken action to combat the low fuel situation, he should not be held entirely responsible. His crew members should also have been communicating with him and ensuring he was fully aware of the fuel situation. Which brings us nicely onto our next point.

Critical Communications

Let’s take a look at another air-based disaster. On January 13th 1982, the Air Florida Flight 90 crashed on take off from Washington National Airport. The flight take off and taxi time had been heavily delayed, causing fatal amounts of ice to build up on the wings of the aircraft. During preparations for take off the First Office became increasingly concerned, but didn’t feel confident in raise the issue in an authoritative way. Instead, he said to the captain:

“Look how the ice is just hanging on this, back, back there, see that?”

“See all those icicles on the back there and everything?”

“Boy, this is a losing battle here trying to de-ice those things. It (gives) you a false sense of security, that’s all it does.”

If you heard that, would you think that your First Officer had genuine concerns about the safety of take off? Less than one minute into the flight, the underpowered, overladen aircraft crashed into a bridge over the Potomac River. Injuries and casualties were high. Sadly, this tragic situation is one we are all familiar with. In the workplace, the boss’ authority is sacrosanct, and criticism flows down the chain of command, never up. Raising an issue or concern with the boss is something we often approach in the same tentative manner as the First Officer of Flight 90.

Just over half of all air crashes are the result of human error, many involving highly experienced pilots making basic errors. The staggering number of incidents citing poor communication as a contributing factor to accidents prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to look to psychologists for answers. Now we have a programme called ‘Crew Resource Management’, which is a set of training procedures to improve interpersonal communication, leadership and decision making in the cock pit. The idea behind the programme is to foster a less authoritarian culture in the cock pit, while still maintaining the command hierarchy by encouraging co-pilots to respectfully question their Captain if they feel there is an error.

But What Can Your Business Learn?

It might seem like we are a bit obsessed with the aviation industry in this post, but that’s because it’s the easiest way to see how simple communication issues can lead to much larger and disastrous problems. The most obvious takeaway from the psychological study of aircrews is that fostering a culture of open communications will lead to better decision making and fewer mistakes. By treating subordinates respectfully, encouraging their input and actually listening to it, more errors will be detected quickly and resolved before they can become fatal. The air crash examples we have given show a clear pattern: that even in life and death situations, raising concerns with your boss is not always done in a direct manner.

Human beings by nature make a lot of mistakes, while at the same time embarrassing and stigmatising those who make them. By cultivating a culture of open communication in your workplace, mistakes can be pointed out and averted without fear of embarrassment or shame, and before they can escalate further. The aviation industry was forced to learn these valuable lessons the hard way in the late 1970’s, but other businesses have been much slower to adapt. Instead, some businesses are still headed by the archetypal leader, the untouchable macho deity who rules from the top down. But this figure is missing out on one of the biggest assets in business and in personal growth – access to criticism, and learning from mistakes.

Why Do We Glorify Being Busy?

Why Do We Glorify Being Busy?

Here’s a philosophical question for you. If you saw someone who has been dashing around their office all day, working extra hours and generally running themselves into the ground with work, would you congratulate them and remind them how fantastic it is that they are that busy? Or would you maybe tell them to slow down and take a break before they burn out?

The fact is that despite the negative views on the ‘burning the candle at both ends’ approach to work, we still glorify being busy. When you can answer someone’s ‘how are you?’ with “I’m very busy’, it’s seen as a badge of honour. It’s true that most of us running our own businesses would rather have too much business than not enough, but that doesn’t mean we should be piling on the work even when we’re drowning in it. Being too busy is now a badge of honour, and this has harmful effects on our lives. It’s what causes us to work crazy hours, sleep with our phones, sacrifice our health and wellbeing and even miss important moments with our families. I think it’s important to remember that there are no prizes for working the most hours per week.

Personally I think that Tim Kredier summed up the popular opinion of ‘business’ in his book ‘The Busy Trap’. He points out that, in modern society ‘being busy is a virtue, so people are terrified of hearing they may have empty time. It’s like being told you’re obsolete’. In other words, if you’re not busy, you’re useless.

But What Does Being Busy Actually Mean?

As with all definition questions, let’s start with the dictionary. The good old OED defines busy as ‘being actively and attentively engaged in work or a past-time’. So, no matter how much you have on your to do list, how often would you say you are actively engaged and attentive? We have changed the meaning of ‘busy’ so often over the years, that it now means ‘doing reasonably well and have a fair amount to do. Or, as the Urban Dictionary refers to it, ‘attempting to seem important, and not being shy about it.’

But, if we take the term ‘being busy’ at it’s literal definition, then we are constantly focussed and highly driven in our tasks, and those tasks just never stop. I have 1 main problem with this concept. No human on earth is 100% focussed all day, every day on the tasks at hand. It’s just not how our brains or bodies are designed. If we were, then we would never have coffee breaks, lunch or those chats about what we did at the weekend. We would just be work drones.

Let’s Take The Glory Away!

Instead of taking the length of your to do list as a measure of success, instead let’s start measuring our success by what really matters. After all, at the end of our lives we all become the same dust, so our success should be measured by how much joy and influence we had in the world. At Eleven Eight, we have 3 top tips to do away with the ‘busywork syndrome’ and start balancing your life and enjoying a pleasantly buzzing work life.

Redefine Success

In a lot of societies, success is measured by how much money or power you have. This is the attitude that spurs people into this ‘busy’ spiral and can be very detrimental to your productivity. So choose another measure for success that isn’t related to how many hours you work, but more about the productivity of what you actually do.

Take A Digital Detox

We are constantly bombarded by the digital world. Emails, notifications, phone calls. Even during intimate or family occasions, it’s now common to see someone with their eyes glued to their phone. So take some time to turn the phone off and spend some real time with the people you care about. After all, that email will still be there tomorrow morning.

Avoid Burnout

Burnout might sound like a rare and frightening thing, but the fact is it’s more common than you think. Burnout, stress and depression are worldwide problems affecting some of the world’s largest empires and cultures, including the UK, America, China and Germany. Just remember, working harder doesn’t necessarily mean better results. In fact, working all hours at an accelerated rate can actually have the opposite effect.

So here’s a challenge. The next time you run into someone at a networking event and they ask how you are, try and respond with anything other than ‘busy’. Instead, talk a bout the tings you’ve been doing, and think about how ‘rushed off your feet’ you really feel, and see if there is a better way to manage your time to feel comfortable and relaxed with your workload.