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This week’s PPCChat session drew inspiration from Navah Hopkins‘s article which paid a heartfelt tribute to the late, great Mark Irvine and how he encouraged her to “do less.”. Here is the screencap of the entire session where host Julie F Bacchini sought experts thoughts on the struggle areas in PPC, how do they handle when life gets challenging outside of work and what do they think about work and life balance.

Q1: Do you ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day? If so, what makes you feel this way – work, life or both? And if not, why not?

I feel this way on pretty much a weekly basis. Between having a business, running the community here, having a school-aged child and aging parents, it can be a lot.I am immensely thankful to have flexibility in my work, so that I can ramp it up or down based on what life has thrown on my plate. @NeptuneMoon

Everyone gets 24 hours in a day. How you spend them will depend on your commitments and priorities. I sometimes overload myself out of a desire to help, but really need to “do less” at times (and say no more often). @robert_brady

@robert_brady Learning to say no is huge. @NeptuneMoon

Yes, I often find myself over-committing b/c I want to help others, which puts me behind on my own to-do list. @AmandaWitucki 

I had been doing PPC as a small part of my custom marketing consulting work for a decade. Decided to niche down on just PPC (just Google Ads lead gen really). This has surprisingly not made finding clients easier. So that’s taking up a lot of my days. @InquisitiveMarketer

Which then comes full circle when I don’t complete my project, or I stay up too late to finish it (stressing out), ultimately not “helping” my team anyway. @AmandaWitucki 

@AmandaWitucki  This always makes me think about how on flights they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, then assist others. That advice is given by therapists too. You have to take care of yourself or you won’t be able to be there for anyone else. @NeptuneMoon

Fair warning, y’all…I am in full PPC mom mode today. @NeptuneMoon

I also feel it can be tough depending on your company/clients outlook on PPC/digital marketing due to the vast net of channels, platforms, “skills to have” so I feel pressure to do more to stay relevant, in a way. (vs. @InquisitiveMarketer parring down your focus — I’ve definitely contemplated that, too!) @AmandaWitucki 

@AmandaWitucki  In theory it helps. In theory. @InquisitiveMarketer

The short answer is not enough time, but that’s okay. There never is! I’ve come to realize that it’s not “work/life balance” for me because the scales will always tip one way or the other. Trying to achieve “balance” adds unnecessary stress to my life. Perhaps a better analogy/tool is “work/life continuum” which inserts grace into the equation. So long as your day/week/month/year falls along the continuum at an acceptable place, you can find happiness. @teabeeshell

All the time.  Spend many weekend mornings catching up on Client deliverables while balancing things during the weekdays. @Realicity

@teabeeshell I like that continuum analogy. @AmandaWitucki 

@teabeeshell  I have evolved work/life balance to mean “in balance, on balance” – meaning each day or week might not be in great balance, but am I doing everything I can to make being in closer balance be the average. Also, the balance is not necessarily 50/50. @NeptuneMoon

@NeptuneMoon – I also find joy in the imbalance. Some days, I think to myself, “Man, I thrived at work today, but I shortchanged quality time with family.” Other days it’s the reverse, and I think, “It was tough to focus today at work. However, I created lasting memories at home, and I called a distant friend during the commute home.”Both days are wins for me. @teabeeshell

I often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day – there aren’t enough hours in the work day, there aren’t always enough hours in the rest of the day, there are never enough hours of sleep. @revaminkoff

There is always more work than time. Our team just focused on the items that will have the biggest impact. No point trying to get everyone done. Get done what you can in a 40 hour week. Then have as much personal time as you can. @duanebrown

Feeling it a lot lately as I’m overbooked with client work. I generally stick to 3-4 clients at a time, but have 6 at the moment and most are very high touch. Looking forward to cutting back at the end of June! @Austin_Dillman

Two things: I’m a new mom so having a newborn while trying to stay on top of accounts is a bit difficult. Second, I love doing analysis & strategy, but not so much the required client-facing meetings aspect of my role. Meetings with clients leave me mentally drained & it makes it harder to focus on more “under the hood” PPC task. @DiiPooler

Q2: Are there areas in PPC where you struggle to give up control? If you have overcome that feeling, how did you do it? Where are you “doing less” on the work front?

I have lightened my client load. When I first did it, I felt a lot of stress and like I was somehow letting myself or my business down by cutting back. But that feeling did not last long, as there were life circumstances which needed me so much more than any client’s PPC could at that time. @NeptuneMoon

Even though I’m the “PPC guy” for clients, I care about their business success and it can be frustrating to see issues in other areas leading to poor business results (bad product/market fit, weak email followup with leads, etc.) I have to realize that I can’t fix all of it, just my area of responsibility. @robert_brady

OMG @robert_brady I used to drive myself nuts over that kind of stuff on the client side. Letting go of responsibilities that no one ever actually put on your plate  is a huge way to “do less.” @NeptuneMoon

During managerial work, it can be very tough to relinquish control. Folks new to a process or type of work will almost never get it right the first time or replicate how I might approach things. However, investing (more) time upfront lightens the load for me, allows more work to flow through the door, and “unlocks’ higher level, more strategic thinking on my part. The result is better work for clients, which develops better client relationships. @teabeeshell

I’m spending less time in my email / letting my inbox swell — it would take at least an hour a day to control it (probably 2) and that’s just time I don’t have. @revaminkoff

Another one is clients who can’t get out of their own way. You can’t make a business do things differently or better! You can make suggestions, point out things you’re seeing in the data that point to issues on their end. But you can’t make them take any kind of action on any of it. Letting go of that process is huge too. A client who isn’t interested in having a stronger business is not going to be a good long-term client. Recognizing that and making an exit strategy for yourself is also a big way to release trying to control things which you cannot. @NeptuneMoon

Timelines. There are things that actually need to happen right now, but most things can wait a day or two or more… which helps give flexibility and perspective. @revaminkoff

Overview and Analysis.  Many details that take a critical eye to identify correctly.  Getting better at handing off less critical tasks and shifting to a review mode. @Realicity

With managing a team, I accept them won’t do it 100% how I would and that the outcome is more what I should focus on. Maintaining that high bar clients wanted from me. @duanebrown

I’ve started just scrolling past interesting things that are intriguing but don’t immediately serve me. This morning Jyll had a post about something and although I really wanted to get into it I saw the word “retail” and forced myself to scroll past it. @InquisitiveMarketer

Q3: Mark’s advice to Navah was to generally “do less” – is this something you practice or think you could practice in your work and/or life? If so, how do you do it? And if you don’t, would you think about trying it?

Do less as in focus on the biggest impact items for sure. If you have 12 items on a to do list, which ones have the biggest impact in reaching KPIs… focus on that. Forget all the busy work. @duanebrown

The push and pull of “Do Less” is trying to do more to continually provide value to clients.  Becomes a tough balancing act most months. @Realicity

I think it’s important to focus on high-impact lever-pulling vs. frequent lever-pulling. Doing stuff to do stuff is activity for the sake of activity, not results. The other half of this is that you’ll never out-trade a machine. Too many people in PPC think they can beat G. You can’t over any meaningful time period. @DigitalSamIAm

I see “doing less” as a reset to find the most direct path to an outcome. It’s not taking shortcuts, just working smart, like @duanebrown outlined. Discerning what’s meaningful work vs. busy work or distractions is a skill learned over time. @teabeeshell

Yes, I absolutely do this. There simply is not enough of me to go around, so choices in prioritization have to be made. You can’t be super productive in every aspect of your life without sacrificing something else. That is just simple math relative to time. One thing that is super helpful that you probably get to as you get into middle age (but you can do it way sooner!) is to stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is a thief of joy! And you have NO IDEA what things are actually like for the person or situation you’re idolizing. @NeptuneMoon

Also, know when your best effort (mentally, emotionally, etc.) is needed vs when something just needs done (80% is good enough).  @robert_brady

 @robert_brady great point! I have a friend whose mother is very ill and she said to me “I know I am not giving my clients my best right now.” To which I lovingly reminded her that her “ok” is still quite stellar. So be kind to herself during this difficult time. @NeptuneMoon

I try my best – I am realising I do have the budget to outsource more stuff, so I am speaking to a few people this week to do just that! What is the point of being financially stable if I can’t use it to get more help in my life. @TheMarketingAnu

Oooh @TheMarketingAnu  getting cleaning help was one of the BEST things I have ever done. @NeptuneMoon

Q4: When life gets challenging outside of work, how do you handle it?

Make the hard choices sooner… don’t delay things as I find it only makes it worse. Then just break down in small pieces and do the best I can. @duanebrown

Take a break and binge-watch my favourite show. Walking away from the challenge and then coming back to it with a clearer head is a major hack! @TheMarketingAnu

It depends a bit on what level of challenging is happening…But generally, try to be as easy on myself as I would encourage someone else to be with themselves. We can sometimes give the best advice to others and then totally not give ourselves the same grace.  @NeptuneMoon

OOO…have I gone in the opposite direction of Duane. I do get the don’t delay difficult decisions advice, but I also think if your stress level is high – your decision-making talent is very low. @TheMarketingAnu

I can make good choices under stress… it is lack of sleep for me that causes bad choices to be made. I break choices down in a phone tree style and make the best one for me. @duanebrown

I have found that religious worship helps me to recenter and often improves the quality of my work. @robert_brady

Reaching out and just talking with someone you trust can lighten a load too. Even if they can’t do anything concrete, just talking something through can relieve stress and get you ready to tackle a situation that needs tackling! @NeptuneMoon

I hear you @duanebrown different tactics will work for different people! @TheMarketingAnu

It’s important to battle the stigma of non-work life having “no place” in the work setting. Of course, life outside work affects us in the “office.” It’s inevitable as humans! Communicating early and often if work will be delayed, if you need a “me day” (mental health day), etc. can be effective ways to avoid A) burnout, B) coworkers/superiors creating the wrong narrative about you and C) having non-work life impact work life in an irrecoverable way. @teabeeshell

@TheMarketingAnu exactly… we all got to do what works best for each of us. @duanebrown

Q5: Is there advice that someone has given you that really impacted how you think about work and life balance?

If X thing won’t matter in 1 year or 2 years… stop worrying and stressing about it. @duanebrown

As a dear friend often says, “Don’t borrow trouble.” Sometimes we have so much anticipatory anxiety it impacts our right now. Ask yourself, “is this a today problem?” before you start worrying or expending mental energy on it. Not that you can’t or don’t want to think about things beyond today, but keeping them in the right perspective can be huge. @NeptuneMoon

And saying no is a good thing. It makes you available for the things that are most important without being drained or distracted. @NeptuneMoon

I don’t recall where this monitor post-it note quote came from, but I think about it nearly every day. If it’s out of your hands, it should be out of your mind as well. I find it to be a helpful reset. Have I done everything within my ability (or scope) to resolve the thing? If yes, relax. If no, push onward. @teabeeshell

Something like “nobody is on their deathbed wishing they had put in more hours at the office or stressed more about that monthly report.” Dying people tend to regret missed opportunities with family & friends… people matter more than tasks. @PPCKirk

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