Recently I came upon this quote, “The new year stands before us like a blank chapter in a book, just waiting to be written. We can help write that story by writing goals.” This stuck in my head because it requires the collaboration of right and left brain in equal parts. The creativity of the storytelling executed with the precision of careful strategic planning. For those of us in small marketing departments, this back and forth of brain hemispheres is the exercise that takes place at our desks every day.
When wearing the hat of the “creative”, the brain needs lots of room to explore. When writing content, working on a video, or designing a new logo, there’s usually no specific process or timeline. Time actually seems to stand still as my thoughts go to where they need to go to access the ideas and make the connections that spark creativity and generate good work. All the Asana in the world cannot make that process happen on a schedule. But the Asana tool can help by setting start and stop dates for projects, to allow for time to wrap my head around a concept and play with it well before the due date.
Time cannot be so fluid when wearing the hat of the Director of Marketing and Communication. This person needs to be uber organized to keep track of campaigns across platforms, manage deliverables, and capture and assess data. In order to stay on top of trends, there are endless new tools, algorithms, platforms, and technologies to research and to try to learn (or at least understand enough to be dangerous). When wearing the Director hat, brain activity shifts across the hemisphere for serious strategic planning and execution.
The challenge is switching hats mid-stream on a project, reorienting your brain quickly, and then trying to remember where you were when it’s time to put the first hat back on. I find it helpful to schedule blocks of time, so as to accomplish the big tasks. Each week I take half a day to write, just write. I’m not in my office and I don’t answer emails. This unencumbered time is my gift to my right brain. But my left brain ends up the winner as well, as it allows me to accomplish projects by their due dates. Since it’s equally critical to find quiet space to think big about future plans, my goal for this year is to add a half day each week for strategic planning.
So this is the first chapter of my new year book. It’s my declaration that I will commit to giving both sides of my brain the dedicated time that they need to do good work. However, I’d love inspiration from my fellow marketers. Tell me how you balance your creative work with strategic planning and execution. Let’s make 2020 a great year!