Whether you’re under a stay-at-home order, quarantining because of COVID-19, or currently have lots of free time, there’s more you can do for yourself than sit on the couch and binge the newest Netflix series.
During our first COVID lockdown in New York, I kept entertained by Tiger King for a couple of days, but I needed more of a creative, productive outlet.
I took on a lot of personal projects: sewing face masks before they were commercially available, landscaping my front yard for the first time, and learning how to use Adobe Illustrator to digitally illustrate, to name a few. We all know that when you’re stuck at home or have nowhere to go for an extended period of time, you start to get a little stir crazy.
As human beings, we have high standards for personal and professional productivity. A lot of us won’t allow ourselves to veg out at home without it being a reward. If we stay stationary for too long, we start to feel an amount of guilt. But what can you do to keep your productivity and creativity alive?
For most of us who are lucky enough to be able to work remotely with home internet, we have access to unlimited resources. YouTube, LinkedIn/Facebook groups, online educational courses, podcasts and audiobooks, literature and eBooks, webinars, and that’s just to name a few.
But how can you make all of these resources and tools work for you?
FOCUS ON ONE AREA OF INTEREST
What industry are you in? What kind of skill would improve your career? Are you a marketer? Would an online course be beneficial? Maybe a podcast. Do you work with data? What if you brushed up on your Microsoft Excel skills? If you’re a creative, there is nothing you can’t learn. Actually, no matter what you do, there is always something new to learn.
CREATE A TO-DO LIST
This is the easy part. Create a list of things you want to get done in the next month. What do you want to learn? What will help you grow? Start small and work your way up. Put the easiest task at the top of the list, as that will provoke you to keep checking things off.
CHOOSE YOUR RESOURCES
Depending on what you’re trying to learn more about, there may be better resources than others. Regardless, there is something for almost everything. The Internet is one big reference network. Since HIPB2B is a B2B marketing agency, all of the resources we’ll cover here will be for marketers.
Unsurprisingly, two of the videos I’m suggesting here are by Gary Vee. If you don’t know Gary Vaynerchuk, he’s the chairman of a “modern-day media and communications holding company” and CEO of a “full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients.” He’s an incredibly influential mentor, as you’ll see in his videos and on his social media. I’m also including a TEDxTalk, as they are always beyond inspiring.
50 Minutes of Marketing Strategy You Can Start to Use Today | Digital Agency Expo Keynote
Top 2020 Marketing Strategies That Will Help Your Business Get Attention | RD Summit 2019
There is No Luck. Only Good Marketing. | Franz Schrepf | TEDxAUCollege
LinkedIn is the #1 hub of all professional networking, which makes it a great resource for learning and growing. Groups can be utilized to network, read relevant articles, brainstorm new concepts, as well as pretty much anything else you’d like them to do. HIPB2B has had a popular B2B and content marketing group on LinkedIn, where we share interesting posts, as well as our own posts from our blog.
- Demand Generation and Content Marketing Group
- MarketingProfs — MarketingProfs LinkedIn community
- ANA Business Marketing
Like LinkedIn, there are countless marketing and networking groups to be a part of. On both Facebook and LinkedIn, it may take some time to find the proper group, as a lot of them are spammed with irrelevant or just plain spammy content. As well as LinkedIn, Facebook provides a direct line to your audience, albeit in a way more personal manner. If you can’t find a group that suits you, you can create and moderate your own group.
If a structured course is more your speed or more your learning style, there are several online marketing courses. All of the big online course websites, like Coursera, Udemy, and edX, offering classes in every kind of marketing. If you’d like to get certified in digital marketing, you have plenty of options, too.
- MECLABS Online Certifications
- Digital Marketing Institute’s Digital Marketing Courses — The Global Standard
- Simplilearn’s Digital Marketing Specialist Course
PODCASTS AND AUDIOBOOKS/EBOOKS/LITERATURE
Podcasts are great for those who like having something to listen to that isn’t music during the workday, the commute, or while cooking in the kitchen. They allow you to learn information by the earful and all you have to do is listen.
- Behind the Numbers by eMarketer
- Social Media Marketing Podcast by Social Media Examiner
- HBR IdeaCast by Harvard Business Review
While Freakonomics Radio isn’t purely a marketing podcast, it is an incredibly popular and informative podcast, covering topics such as hitting deadlines and improving team meetings.
If listening to an audiobook or reading a real paperback is more your speed, there is plenty of literature to consume.
- This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
- Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence — and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk
Webinars have seen a resurgence in popularity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re used as a live online educational presentation or a “web seminar.” Marketers and viewers alike tend to enjoy webinars because they’re live and topical. There are also plenty of archives of past marketing webinars to consume.
- 12/16–12/17/20 — Marketers Rise: A Content Marketing World Event
- 12/18/20 — Rethinking Content Delivery in a Digital-First World by ON24
- On-Demand — Agile Marketing and the Role of Content in the Age of Disruption
If you’d like a little more variety, check out our blog post on panels from marketing conferences: BYOMC: Build Your Own Marketing Conference.
While the first pandemic lockdown was a brand-new experience for all of us, it was also a grand learning experience in every possible way. With another inevitable lockdown looming, being proactive and mapping out your personal and professional plans ahead of time can serve you well.
Make personal development your number one goal, if not at all times, then at least during another COVID-19 lockdown.
Looking for more COVID-19 resources? Check out HIPB2B’s related posts.