What Productivity Systems Will Not Solve

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for the perfect productivity system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist.

The problem isn’t with the productivity system — the problem is that none of them can solve a few really important (and related) problems:

  1. Procrastination
  2. Fear of uncertainty
  3. Fear of discomfort

For example, at the top of my to-do list today is “write Zen Habits post” and “write intro to declutter course” … pretty simple, right? Two fairly straightforward tasks. But as I started this post, I went to check and respond to email, sent a message to my wife, checked on my finances, cleaned the kitchen a little. I’m super productive at the little things when I’m putting off the big tasks!

No matter how good the productivity system is, it falls apart when I start procrastinating.

When a task is uncomfortable, I procrastinate, just like most people. When I’m facing a lot of uncertainty with a task, I procrastinate. Like most of us.

Often, we’ll work on a new productivity system, try out a new to-do list app, start organizing, or start getting our email inbox to zero, or start reading about a new way to be productive (like you are now) … all as a way to procrastinate on uncertain or uncomfortable tasks.

And it’s so much easier to follow the path of distractions and little tasks, than to face a big important but scary task. It’s easy to go to your bank’s website to check your balance, check on your favorite blogs and news sites, pop open your favorite social media network, and so on. These have no barrier to entry, and always give you some reward, while difficult tasks give you negative feedback and have obstacles to getting started. Not a fair fight, huh?

So how do we deal with this? A few important methods:

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8 Most Important Paid Search Tips For Online Retail Businesses

With the share of digital ad spend at 29.9% in 2015 and expected to increase to 39.3% in 2019* the digital advertising marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive for ecommerce retailers.

With this in mind, optimising paid search should be a priority for all retail marketers in 2016. Let’s take a look at some of the most important pay-per-click tips for online retail:

1) Segment Campaigns

Google Shopping and AdWords allow you to bid at product or keyword level, however, this is a feature that many advertisers fail to adopt. It is particularly important in online retail to segment your Google Shopping campaigns to the finest level possible, because your inventory may be seasonal and individual items have different bidding values.

Let’s take ‘women’s clothes’ for example. You could easily just create a single ad group containing all women’s clothes ads; however, this could easily lead to poor performance. It would be a much better decision to segment your products into groups such as ‘blouses’ ‘jumpers’, ‘trousers’ ‘shorts’ etc.

Doing so will allow you to have much better control over bids and bid according to seasonality for example. However this could be taken a step further: it is actually possible to bid for each individual product, so if you know that yellow shorts sell better than the green ones, you can adapt your bids accordingly.

2) Focus on environmental factors

When reviewing your campaign performance, it is tempting to focus on the reasons why you are not making sales, but perhaps you should also be looking at when your campaigns are performing their best?

By looking at the reasons for “good performance,” you may find that your sales can be influenced by environmental factors such as the time of the day, the user’s device or the weather, to which you can also adapt your bidding strategy.

3) Use geographic bid modifiers

For both AdWords and Google Shopping campaigns, consider implementing geographic bid modifiers. Do you only deliver to a certain region? Restrict who can see your ads. Are there some areas that convert better than others? Bid up!

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