Bullet 28

3 Secrets for Multiplying
Your Productivity, Success,
Income, and Personal Happiness
as a Copywriter or Marketer

Dear Marketing Top Gun:We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people achieve so much more than others. What are their secrets?

To supplement my own insights about this, I’ve researched the best minds in the world on personal productivity, including experts in psychology, creativity, goal setting, time management, and even personal happiness (which has a lot to do with how well you use your time).I’ve found a wealth of fabulous tips, way too many for one Bullet, so I’ll save some for future issues.

Today I’ll focus on three of my favorites and how to harness them to multiply your productivity if you’re a copywriter or marketer…

#1. Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything

The key to massively leveraging your productivity, success, and fulfillment both at work and at home is not putting in longer hours, getting less sleep, pushing yourself harder, or sacrificing those activities that give you pleasure.

You’ll achieve much more—in less time!—by applying the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle or the law of the vital few and the trivial many.

I’ve written about this before, but for new Bullets readers, let me recap my thoughts…

This remarkably reliable guideline holds that roughly 20 percent of your daily activities are responsible for 80 percent of your success, income, and personal happiness. These are your “big-payoff” activities.

Conversely, 20 percent of your activities, relationships, and customers are causing 80 percent of your wasted time. These are your “low-payoff”activities.

So the best way to multiply your productivity is simple—always be looking to free up more time for your big-payoff activities by ruthlessly eliminating the dozens of low-payoff ones that you unwittingly tolerate.

Example: One of the most successful marketing executives I know keeps a framed sign over his desk and carries an index card in his shirt pocket with the same message—“Is this leading me to my main goal?” He checks that reminder numerous times a day and saves countless hours each week by staying on track—getting out quickly from time-wasting phone calls, meetings, gossip, etc., and relentlessly getting back to the big-payoff activities for himself and his company.

#2. Harness Your “Hour of Power”

As an advertising copywriter, my highest-payoff activity has always been writing. But finding quiet time to write can be surprisingly difficult in an office setting. Here’s what I did, and it triggered a gigantic boost in my productivity. I harnessed my “hour of power.”

I rise early and the first thing I do, before showering, shaving,anything, is sit down at my keyboard and write for at least one hour. I do this seven days a week, every day of my life no matter where I am. My friends and colleagues Dan Kennedy and Clayton Makepeace, two of the most productive and successful copywriters of all time, do the same.

I love to write, so this starts my day off with tremendous satisfaction. Moreover, since writing is my highest-payoff activity, this simple practice has proven to be my biggest income booster. If I achieve nothing else for the rest of the day, it won’t concern me, because I’ve already socked away a big deposit in my “productivity bank.”

If I can go for longer than one hour (I strive for three), or if I can pick up additional productive hours later in the day, I’m golden, way ahead of the game. But no matter what, I’ve made progress because I’ve nailed that first hour.

Whatever your highest-payoff activity is, start each day with your “hour of power.” If you’re a writer, write!

If you’re in an occupation where you can’t perform your highest-payoff activity upon rising, say, if you’re a salesperson or merchant who won’t be in front of customers until later in the day, invest your early “hour of power” in learning and thinking about how you can perform better.

The legendary management guru Earl Nightingale counseled that if you want to put your career or business on the fastest possible success track, devote an hour each morning to thinking about how to serve your clients better.

“If you’ll spend one extra hour each day in the study of your chosen field,” said Earl, “you’ll be a national expert in five years or less.”

Whether investing your time or your money, the same principle holds. You will achieve much greater success when you “pay yourself first.”

With money, that means salting away at least 10 percent of your gross income every month before you pay your bills. This forces your expenses to adjust themselves downward and assures that you’re always saving at least 10 percent of your income. If you can save 15 percent, so much the better.

When it comes to your daily productivity, “paying yourself first” means making the first hour of the day your “hour of power.” It’s rocket fuel for your productivity, success, happiness, and income.

#3. How to Gain 6 to 8 Extra Hours of Productivity Every Day

Your second-most-productive hour is right before you go to sleep. This is a most opportune time to leverage your productivity by letting your mighty subconscious mind solve a problem while you sleep peacefully.

While you sleep, your subconscious mind keeps your heart beating, your lungs breathing, and your brain waves waving, and, in its spare time, effortlessly processes millions of complex cellular transactions while you obliviously snooze. Do you think that this greatest computer ever created can handle an unobtrusive request for, say, a breakthrough headline while you doze?


How to do it: just before going to bed at night, review a problem, question, or creative project you’re working on. Since headlines are the most important part of any ad, I like to hand off this task to my subconscious mind rather than knock myself out. Here’s my method…

As you get sleepy and the shop foreman of your conscious mind is about to turn over control to your brilliant but under-utilized “night manager” (your subconscious mind), submit your request as follows.

Say to yourself, “Great subconscious mind, I don’t want to work on this matter too hard, so please just figure this out for me by the morning, while I sleep peacefully.”

Then forget it—let go of it completely—and drift off to sleep.

For example, if you’d like to have a batch of potent headlines by morning, tell your subconscious mind very specifically what you want. I always like to come up with at least 25 headlines before I choose my favorite, so I say, “Great subconscious mind, I don’t want to work on this headline too hard, so please create at least 25 headlines for me by morning, while I sleep peacefully.”

During my “hour of power” the next morning, I find myself brimming over with so many ideas that, as I play with them and superimpose them on “classic” winning headlines from the past, I can usually produce 20-30 variations of interesting headline-subhead-offer elements.

(I’ll elaborate on this headline-producing process in my next Bullet and give you a quick-start list of my favorite “classic” headline formulas for creating new winners with great consistency.)

The best part is, when I let my subconscious mind handle this task automatically overnight, I don’t lose a wink of sleep!

You’ll find this technique amazingly effective. It’s like gaining another six to eight hours of productivity out of every 24. But be warned:your morning ideas are slippery fish. If you don’t net them immediately when you arise, they’ll swim away forever. So be sure you have paper and pen…or your trusty keyboard…at the ready!

More tips next time, Top Gun.

Sincere wishes for a good life
and (always!) higher response,


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