Do you suffer from deadline deficit disorder?

Or how to stop neglecting your own marketing

Are you one of the many businesses that neglect their marketing? Or perhaps it’s the panic button you hit when you hit a dry spell. If so, you’re not alone.

And here’s my dirty little (not actually that secret) secret – I too have deadline deficit disorder and am very, very guilty of pushing my own marketing to the side.

Like many copywriters, I’m amazing with a deadline. It gets my synapses firing and fingers tip-tapping across the keyboard like nothing else. I love the undertone of barely controlled fear of not delivering that works better than coffee. (NB – just like caffeine, the deadline-rush needs to stay just the right side of energising rather than “OMG, my heart is racing so much that I’m tempted to call an ambulance.”)

Deadline motivation can be a fine line between “getting shit done” and “oh shit, there are fires everywhere and I can’t put them out!”

Without a deadline, my mind wanders. I start road tripping down the information superhighway and before I know it, I’m down some dead-end and pothole-filled unsealed road. A quick lunchtime episode of Scrubs turns into a 2-hour afternoon binge. And let’s not even mention the dangers of a fully stocked pantry and fridge for the home-based worker.

I love a sneaky lunchtime Scrubs session

What can you do to defeat deadline deficit disorder?

Like building the discipline to go to the gym (5.30 am alarm three days a week isn’t for fun, y’know?), the first step is scheduling in your marketing. My new commitment is 3 hours every Monday afternoon. Why Monday? Because it’s giving my brain the message that working on my business is important and should be prioritised at the start of the week, rather than squeezed into whatever is left on Friday.

Pumping up the Monday motivation!

Step two is accountability. To carry on my gym analogy, it would actually be really easy to hit snooze on that 5.30 am alarm, especially in the cold, dark and wet mornings in the depths of winter. That’s why I pay a personal trainer who will kick my butt and not accept my excuses when I don’t show up. Writing and publishing this blog post is one part of making myself accountable by publicly making a commitment. I’m also going to enlist a couple of my business buddies to check in with me and keep me honest.

Having a clear goal is also important. For the gym, I never went when my goals were about losing weight, rocking a bikini, blah, blah, blah. Turns out those things aren’t actually that important or motivating to me. What was motivating to me was being able to lift heavy weights and the rush of achievement that comes from saying “Oh, yeah, so I did my first 100-kilo deadlift this morning.”

And this is what I’m realising with my business too – hitting certain financial targets hasn’t been the motivational carrot that I’ve needed. In the spirit of disclosure, I need to figure out what the more powerful motivator is going to be for committing to my business marketing, but I’m working on that. I never thought I’d utter this phrase, but I think it’s going to be time to invest in some business coaching sessions. (Hold me, I’m feeling very fragile.)

My DDD-smashing plan

Here’s what I’m planning to do on those Monday afternoon marketing sessions. I’m working on a monthly rotation as I think this is a realistic volume to produce for a solo business operator. On top of these activities, I’m committing to at least three posts a week for Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, with this being a mix of my content and curated content from other sources.

Week 1: One blog post for my own site

Week 2: One video

Week 3: One email newsletter

Week 4: One-on-one outreach to network for guest blogging opportunities, collaboration partnerships etc

I’ll report back in a few months on how successful I am with sticking to the plan and what outcomes I achieve.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your tips for motivating you into action when you don’t have a deadline rapidly approaching. Let me know how you’d treat deadline deficit disorder, I’m all ears!