I’m reasonably sure I suffer from advanced sleep phase disorder (ASPD). I usually fall asleep around 9PM (and realistically, I could fall asleep earlier), and I’m awake and at my computer by 4:30am every day of the week, where I stay until I go off to the gym between 6:30 and 7am. Now, I’m not “working” that entire time…with my morning coffee, I ease into my schedule, catching up on news and sports, checking and answering email, monitoring and adjusting my fantasy sports teams, and emptying my RSS Reader of stories. When that’s “done”, I’m generally left with between 15-45 minutes to directly impact and affect my “work” before I go exercise.
I actually see this window of time as giving me a strategic opportunity to positively impact the accounts that I manage. It’s dark outside (except in mid-summer), and I’m not distracted by anyone being awake in my house, hitting me up on Skype or social media, or actually answering any emails I might be sending. I’m working in a very compressed time period, giving me incentive not to dawdle. Most importantly, however, I’m able to see my work and my accounts in a restfully awake, pre-caffeinated, unaltered state of consciousness whereby I’m able to see and perceive much differently than I am during the work day.
In this early-morning window, how can I positively impact my accounts for when I start my work day later?
The Email “Factor”: Yes, I have clients who email me in the late evening…after I’m asleep. When I respond in the early morning, continual productivity is assured (and more than once my sanity has been questioned).
Is Everything Working? Even in the most professionally managed accounts, things “break.” It’s much better for all involved if the “break” is caught at 5am instead of at 9-10am. All the accounts I’m working on have a relatively small overnight volume, so making the fix early is a huge strategic advantage.
Bid Adjustments: With my head clear of distractions and yesterday’s data fresh, I’m much more likely to make global bid changes in the early AM than later in the day.
Planning: I jot down notes and items that I will need for later.
“Crap Tasks”: The best time to do the least interesting, most tedious tasks is during the early morning when the head is clear.
When I leave my desk to hit the gym, my mind is quasi-primed for the work day. When I’m doing my 60 minutes of cardio with my MP3 player cranking out killer tunes in my ears and my eyes focused on the bank of television screens in front of me, my mind is processing the information gathered and gleaned from that 15-45 minutes of early-morning work. My gym workout adds clarity and context to what my mind has taken in earlier, and when that information is processed by a more active, wakeful brain, I’m able to create actionable items to benefit my accounts and clients when I get back to my desk.
It isn’t really possible anymore to ignore competitive PPC accounts outside of working hours. I’m sure other top PPC Managers have their own tips and tricks as to how to best deal with this fact while still maintaining a normal life away from work. This is how I do it.
About the Author
Todd Mintz is a Sr. Account Manager at PPC Associates, a digital marketing firm based in the Bay Area and downtown Chicago. Todd has worked in search engine marketing since 2000 and has used Google AdWords since it began. He also is very visible in the SEM social media space and is a curator/contributor at MarketingLand. He was one of the founding members of SEMpdx (Portland’s Search Engine Marketing Group), is a current board member, and writes regularly on their blog. Todd lives in Portland, OR.