Arriving Smarter: More Than 15 Ways to Get Busy During Dead Time

Most of us spend at least an hour a day travelling; commuting to work by car, train, bus or flying somewhere for business. It’s time that’s often spent looking out of the window, texting mates or eyeing the cute guy/girl sitting across from you on the train. (Or if you’re travelling to London, wondering whether the leaves on the track are going to delay the train again…)

It’s an hour or more that you should recuperate and use for your own benefits; arrive to your destination feeling smarter.

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Kicking off 2009 with a new themeword: Impact

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about my #themeword for 2008, which was exploration. My objectives were to explore in four key areas; travel, business opportunities, new or unused skills and friendships/ relationships.

Owl photo by Aussie Flickr user AaardvaarkIn reflection, it was a good year. In fact, it was an amazing year. I could have done better in terms of travel; I did an awful job of going to new destinations to which I’d promised myself a visit! But I did well in balancing work and fun, with plenty of dinner parties and get togethers with friends throughout the year.

When I wrote about business opportunities exploration, in the back of my mind, I knew I would work for myself before the year was out, it was just a question of having the cojones to jump, so the latter part of 2008 has offered me a taster of what 2009 will bring.

So on with this year’s themeword. I’ve opted for one overarching theme, divided into three key goals, reflecting what Chris Brogan and many others have done.

In 2009

I hope that in 2009, I can use the knowledge I’ve acquired to make a difference. If I can help one business make a lasting impact on their customers, or help someone learn the true value of the communication tools I’m so grateful for, I’ll be a happy gal.

To put it into action, I want to create, lead and focus.

Create by pushing ideas beyond replicas of what’s been done elsewhere by someone else and produce something remarkable.

Lead by example in doing marketing work that is graceful, ethical and genuinely valuable to its participants.

Focus on the right things. With rivers of news and infinite numbers of social networks, with masses of potential projects, clients and events, in 2009 I will need to focus my attention, energy and abilities on the most important ones. After all, there’s only one of me!

Beyond this big picture, I’ve also got a few simple things I’ve promised myself this year, most more personal than the above.

  • Backup my digital life regularly and reliably
  • Host or go out for dinner with (non-business) friends at least once a month
  • Call my mom more regularly and book a trip to Canada before summer 🙂
  • Visit my sister in Paris when she heads there to study for a few months
  • Take (and publish) more photos on Flickr to remember important life events
  • Keep making homemade stuff like cards, liqueurs and tons of fresh cooking. It’s good for the mental health.

What’s your themeword for the year? Need inspiration? Try searching for #themeword on Twitter Search.

[Image: Owl photo by Aussie Flickr user Aaardvaark under Creative Commons]

Blogging as part of a marketing role: Give it the time it deserves

In the corporate world, there are more blogs than ever. Along the lines of 70% of Fortune 500 companies will have at least dipped a little toe in it by this year, according to Wikipedia’s utterly incomplete entry. For a handful of us, it’s an integral part of the job; important internally, important externally, yet so little time allocated as thinking time. That’s frustrated me for a long time.

Blogging is natural for me, but it still doesn’t come as easily as having a morning dump. Seriously. I realise that my entries are rough and ready; I don’t have Seth Godin‘s conciseness, Chris Brogan‘s punch or Jeremiah Owyang‘s insight (especially with my comparison above, for which I truly apologise) but even with my willingness to keep entries in a natural state – thorns, weeds and crawling critters included – it takes some time to cook up. And unfortunately, I don’t believe most marketing teams generally allocate enough simmering time for even the best in-house blogging god or goddess to write something meaningful.

I’m a strong believer that in every business there is a story worth telling, a mistake worth owning up to, a success worth sharing. Or just a story. A really honest, truthful story that allows customers, prospects, fan boys and haters to see behind the marketing pitch. A blog is so much more than a home for your latest press release.

So marketing managers, directors and CEO’s, please remember that beyond the board reports and year-on-year growth charts are human stories which will help your users, current and future, love you more and become true evangelist for your brand, if only you’d open the door and let them in. How good is your relationship with your users? Honest enough to let you see without makeup on Sunday morning?

and they say that the truth will set you free
but then so will a lie
it depends if you’re trying to get to the promised land
or you’re just trying to get by

ani difranco (listen)