High Tide has been remote since day one. Our goal has always been to put our client’s money towards their projects, not towards our overhead. We’ve been seeing a lot of posts about the struggles and stresses of working from home, so we compiled our top 10 tips.
Top 10 Tips to Stay Productive While WFH During COVID-19:
- Close Social Media Tabs: Have you realized that the blinking message sign from Facebook is almost begging you to check it? That’s sort of the point… don’t tempt yourself with social media. Close windows on your computer and put a time cap on your phone (we recommend starting with 30-45 minutes less than what you’ve been spending and weening yourself down from there). You can also use a monitoring app for reinforcement.
iPhones have an app called “Screentime” that shows how much time you’ve spent on each app while Andriod users have an app called “Digital Wellbeing” that allows you to see how long you’ve spent on an app, and add time caps. If you feel more comfortable with a third-party app, SelfControl is a good one. They block distracting websites until the time limit you set is up.
- Keep Your Morning Routine: Do you have a morning routine? Keep the same schedule. Wake up at the same time and plan to ‘leave for work’ at the same time. Not only does this make it easier to transition between your relaxation mode and your working mode, but it will also make it easier to go back to work once COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past.
It’s also beneficial to separate your relaxing and morning routine areas from your work areas to help promote productivity. However, if your kitchen table doubles as your workspace (we are not judging you), try taking a few minutes after your morning routine to stretch, walk around (maybe change into work clothes) and sit back down with your ‘ready to work’ mindset.
- Write a Daily/Weekly To-Do List: To-do lists are great for two reasons. 1) they help you keep track of daily tasks and prioritize them and 2) if you’re having a hard time feeling productive because you’re at home, they can provide a tangible measure of productivity.
Start out every morning by asking yourself “What do I need to accomplish today?”. Put a checkbox next to each task and prioritize them. Ask yourself questions like “What needs to be done first?”, “What takes the most amount of time?”, and “When can I schedule a lunch break?” Start with the hardest/top priority tasks and work your way through.
At the end of the day, look back on your to-do lists and ask “Did I get as much done as I wanted to?” If the answer is no, roll some tasks over to the next to-do list and focus on being more proficient tomorrow.
- Set Timers: It’s a grade-school cliche, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun with it now that you’re an adult! Challenge yourself by estimating how much time a task will take you and then set a timer and try to beat your time. Sometimes a little competition against yourself is just what you need to crunch through a big to-do list. You may surprise yourself with how efficient you actually are.
If competitions aren’t really your thing, try working with the Pomodoro Technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and work straight through. When the time is up, give yourself a five-minute break. Rinse and repeat. Online timers like TomotoTimer or EggTimer will automatically do this for you.
- Don’t work with the TV On: Trust us, as much as you don’t think you will be distracted, you will be. If you’re really craving some TV time, work through your hardest/top priority tasks first and then leave the mindless tasks to complete in front of a TV show.
‘But I need some sort of noise to focus!’ If that is the case, try out an instrumental music station. You get sound, but no words (or drama) to distract you from your work. Try looking up “Focus” in Spotify and pick from any of their hundreds of playlists.
- Exercise: You’d be surprised at how often you get up to walk around the office to chit-chat with others on a normal workday. Your body ultimately craves those small breaks of movement and socialization to help keep you focused. Take five to ten minutes every once in a while to go for a walk and call a friend or family member. Just doing small workouts in your apartment and talking to your cat for a moment can give you body and brian enough of a break to stay productive all day.
- Make Your Workspace Comfortable: Get a nice chair to work from and put your laptop it a position where you aren’t looking down (this is where the kitchen table really gets you!), such as on a box or a bunch of books. This will make it so that you’re looking straight ahead instead of down. Your neck will thank you later. You can also try putting something soft (like a balance ball or a small pillow) underneath your seat, it’ll help your back and keep your hamstrings from getting too sore.
- Remember to Eat: Food = Energy, but we know that once you get into the zone, it may be hard to get back out. Set one an alarm on your phone to remind you to take a lunch break around the time you normally would at work. It’s important to keep a normal schedule in place so that it’s easier to transition back to it later. Lunch breaks also give your brain a break from work and provide an ample amount of time to catch up with your friends.
- Clean Your Workspace First: The most common complaint we hear from those working at home is that they get distracted by wanting to clean their house. Yes, that laundry pile DOES need to be taken care of but your work hours are not the right time to do it. If you feel the need to clean, focus on cleaning everything you can see from your workspace and your desk. Alternatively, move your workspace against a wall. Try to compartmentalize ‘after-work activities’ to keep them from becoming ‘during-work’ activities.
- Enjoy This Time: Try to make the most out of working from home. Listen to smooth jazz, work in comfortable clothes (not your pajamas, but something that is comfortable), wear a facemask while you work (unless you’re jumping on video calls), or use your breaks to talk to your family. If you no longer have a long commute to and from work, try using this extra time to cook nice meals to eat while working! Suddenly being told to stay home and work doesn’t have to cramp your productivity. Enjoy working from home.
Now that we’ve given you tips on how to work from home effectively during COVID-19, let’s talk about the underlying issue that most of us are struggling with. Working from home is one thing, but feeling isolated from society is totally different.
We have seen a few posts circulating that talk about taking this time to self-care, but there are a lot of us out there that might not know what that looks like. We compiled a list of six ways to combat loneliness during COVID-19.
If you own a business, you’ve at one point noticed a competitor during better than you because of brand awareness and a solid marketing strategy. You want to hire someone to help with marketing but you can’t afford a full time marketing professional let alone a marketing department. You want to hire an agency, but their price point is too high. You decide to find a marketing consultancy, a boutique agency with consultants who can help guide you in the correct direction while allowing your employees (or bringing in new hires) to take charge and support various marketing efforts.
As a marketing consultancy, we believe that marketing is a cornerstone for growing your business. That being said, we don’t believe it is a good fit for all businesses. After working with clients and businesses of all sizes, we put together 5 questions to help you decide if you are ready to work with a consultancy. We want your business to succeed and sometimes, that means being honest and turning down business. We truly believe that we rise together and sometimes that means supporting businesses from afar.
These questions are not meant to deter you from working with a marketing professional, we work with plenty of incredible marketing consultants, these are simply meant to help you understand if we are a good fit for your business right now.
Is your business thriving or failing?
Marketing should be used as an asset to help grow a brand and business, not save a shrinking one. A consultancy should not be brought in as a last-ditch effort to grow a struggling business.
A marketing agency can help grow your brand, but doesn’t look at the books and cannot save a struggling business. A solid marketing strategy takes time, effort and some additional funds.
If you are reading this frantically while brainstorming ways to boost your business, you may not be a good fit.
Do you have enough to cover their cost for at least 1 year?
Most agencies will require a minimum of 3-6 months so that there is time to understand the business and produce results. A lot of times, your grand ideas will take far more than the monthly allotted time. Even if the final product doesn’t produce the results you were hoping for, you still need to prepare to pay your agency for time worked.
Marketing isn’t an exact science (and anyone who tells you otherwise is ripping you off). Marketing is a theoretical approach to selling a product. Not everything will work, 100% of the time. You pay a consultancy based on their expertise and willingness to pivot and try new tactics. Those tactics, overtime should increase brand awareness, presence, and overall purchases.
If you are planning to bring on a consultancy and expect that there will be an immediate ROI that will cover their costs within the first month, you might not be a good fit.
Do you have clear expectations of what you want to accomplish with the agency?
The benefit of hiring a consultancy is that you aren’t on the hook for a marketing department (which can start at $600,000 a year). The downside is that you do not have 24/7 access to the consultancy. There are a set amount of hours in the negotiated contract.
One of the consultancy’s jobs will be to get involved in your company to understand it as intimately as possible. That being said, you still know your company better than anyone else. Do you understand your current customers, what their needs are, and where you want to put your marketing efforts?
A consultancy can come in and develop the strategies and information needed to put together a comprehensive marketing plan, but that takes time and money. Are you willing to make an investment? Since the consultancy acts like an outsourced marketing department, you are still considered the head. Are you prepared to lead the team? If not, a consultancy might not be a good fit.
Do you understand that outside your set amount of hours, they have other clients?
A consultancy gives you the opportunity to afford a highly experienced team, but that affordability comes at a cost. The consultancy is contracted to multiple clients at one given time, each with a set amount of hours.
Consultancy’s use a monthly retainer to smooth out months with more work vs. months with less work. but along with that comes other commitments from the agency.
If you are expecting to only pay for 20 hours a month and consistently get 40-50 hours worth of work, you are not a good fit.
Are you able to communicate effectively?
You will be in constant communication with your consultancy, but will you be able to voice any questions, concerns or direction changes? Agencies will always work to fix any perceived problems, but they cannot fix what they are not aware of. Nor, can they fix the problem months after it has presumably been fixed.
Consultancies will go above and beyond to make sure you are satisfied with the product you are receiving. They cannot fix what they don’t know is broken.
If you’ve ever found yourself arguing a bill month’s after it was sent to you, you are not a good fit.
As a consultancy, we pride ourselves in our work and the ability to bring strategies from ideas into reality. Our goal is to help all the businesses we encounter, succeed. If you feel as though are prepared to grow your business to the next stages, contact us here. We will be in touch within 12 hours.
As I sit here and think of what to type, I look around at my surroundings. I glance at the white Toyota Corolla parked next to our office that says, “Hey! I get a lot of gas mileage but I’m still cute and professional”. I glance at my iPhone and Macbook I purchased because of the association of Apple products with creatives. I take a snap chat of my Starbucks pumpkin spice latte with my computer and other work spread out in the background, “Happy Hump Day!”. I laugh to myself because even though some people don’t believe it, marketing is everywhere.
We live in a time where it isn’t always the best product that wins, it’s the one that people remember. One of my favorite examples is with Edward Bernays and his impact on the cigarette market or more specifically, his impact on Lucky Strike Cigarettes. Bernays believed that people are motivated by unconscious desires. He was one of the first documented marketers to combine marketing with crowd psychology.
In the 1920s the American Tobacco Company realized they were missing out on a huge share of the market, women. At that time, it was still taboo for women to smoke so they had to think outside the box. Bernays talked to a psychoanalyst Abraham Brill who explained to him that for most women smoking was taboo but for feminists, cigarettes were “torches of freedom that represented their freedom from male oppression.”
Bernays contacted a female friend and had her get a group of women to “light their torches of Freedom” in front of reporters and photographers at the New York City Easter Day Parade. They did and on April 1, 1929, the headline read, “Group of Girls Puff at Cigarettes as a Gesture of ‘Freedom’”.
Later into the 1920s and early 30’s he made the emerald green on the Lucky Brand Cigarettes the color of the year. Interior design, fashion, balls, department stores, everyone was embracing that emerald green which meant Lucky Strike kept that grasp on the female clientele for quite some time.
Whether you agree with his marketing schemes or not, Bernays was a great example of the way we market today. We are bombarded with advertisements, infomercials, and celebrity endorsements every second of every day. When we go to the grocery store, there are hundreds of brands offering the exact same products. How do we choose? Do we choose based on price? Based on looks? Or based on a feeling? Although some people (myself included) shop based on price, a large group of people shop based on their feelings surrounding the product.
Lucky Strike didn’t take control of the female market share because they sold a cigarette. They took control of the female market share because they sold a statement that went along with holding a Lucky Strike Cigarette. By smoking one, you were not only smoking but you were making a statement.
The cars we drive, the clothes we wear, what we post on social media, it all boils down to how we see ourselves and how we want people to view us. Marketing isn’t just about marketing the features something must offer. Marketing is about understanding your customers, how they think, what they want, how they act, and then showcasing your product to show how it will benefit their lives. The best marketing is marketing you don’t even notice and that is an art. We hope you find as much appreciation for it as we do.