As a marketer, you are an orchestrator of people, processes, and technology. Purposefully harnessing the energy of the tools and minds needed to produce a desired state.

As you zoom in and out of your organizational stack, you see the various levers to pull, tweaks to make, and approvals to get to reach your goals. Each system that you own impacts another. Protocols and documentation keep everything grounded. And it all works together seamlessly to drive organizational efficiency within a marketing team, as well as revenue. This is what you do, in some capacity, day in and day out. 

Orchestrating balance: The key to sustainable success

Here’s the hard question that you won’t want to ask yourself: In what capacity do you give yourself this same care and attention? In what capacity do you understand the orchestration of your own internal systems and how they contribute to your success in this role? Not just as a marketer, but as a family member? As a friend?

You are constantly working against friction — fielding requests, setting boundaries, facilitating discussions, setting and resetting priorities, and navigating complex workplace dynamics and interpersonal relationships. Often, this friction can feel so strong that the positive energy and momentum you’ve generated diminishes quickly and seems to replenish slowly.

Projects can lose traction, teams can become dysfunctional, and goalposts are missed. And even though you keep going, this takes a toll on even the most experienced orchestrator. Ultimately leading to burnout. A detrimental process in itself that has cascading effects impacting not only the orchestrator’s core functioning but everything and everyone they come into contact with. Often taking months to emerge and recalibrate, burnout can leave these people, processes, and technologies in a dismal state.

With this understanding, the key to success as the orchestrator is sustainable productivity and balance. But how exactly?

Funny enough, it is similar to the systematic approach that you take in your role; leveraging various internal tools and processes that are available to you and creating protocols that drive your very own harnessing and balancing of energy.

Just like your own stack, there are many internal systems and processes that are responsible for inputs and that drive outputs. Using data and communication, they control things like your energy, attention, physiological needs, hormone release, and so much more. In other words: the power behind the orchestrator.

While there are numerous books, studies, courses, and interesting papers written about all of these systems, there are two very interesting and lesser-known ones in particular that can be very powerful for orchestrators, conductors, and creators alike. Here, we will explore the power of your brainwaves, and in the next article your ultradian rhythms, and how you, as an orchestrator, can leverage these two systems and processes to call your energy back, enabling you to perform at the highest level without sacrificing your well-being.

Dig deeper: 20 ways to make your marketing team more productive

Decoding the music of the mind: Brainwaves

Imagine for a moment, you are on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Your surroundings are calm and relaxing, and because of this, the ocean responds in a similar manner — the surface is quiet, there is a gentle, rhythmic rocking, and the animals above and below are peaceful. You could easily lie down and enjoy a rest or quiet daydream.

Now imagine a storm cloud begins to roll into view, and the environment quickly shifts to a dark and stormy state. The ocean starts responding to the uptick in the wind and the movement of the weather patterns above, creating stronger rocking and turmoil below. The waves become so strong that it’s nearly impossible to stay grounded. There are no naps to be had here.

Did you know that a very similar process happens within you every minute of the day? Just as it is in the external world, this process is also driven by pure energy vibrating at varying frequencies. And our brain is at the helm — determining how to respond to everything outside of it and communicating through patterns of electrical activity produced by neurons. This electrical activity is called “brainwaves.”

Brainwaves are the energetic response to what you are seeing, feeling, and experiencing. Essentially, brainwaves determine the state of your consciousness, brain activity, and, ultimately, awareness, measured by frequency (Hz). There are five different brainwaves produced, and while these brainwaves are always being produced, one can become dominant as the environment around the brain changes. Each of these brainwave states is also responsible for various mental states, cognitive functions, and abilities.

Most of us have heard of one or two of these brainwaves. Maybe you’ve heard of delta, the dominant brainwaves during deep sleep. Or maybe you’ve heard of beta, the brainwave that is dominant during typical conscious waking periods.

But what most of us aren’t taught is the power behind each of these brainwaves and the states they can produce. As the oscillation of our brainwaves slows (lower frequency), we start to close the gap between our conscious and our subconscious minds. In doing so, we gain increased access to cognitive abilities and information that wouldn’t normally be available to us in a normal waking state (beta). Funny enough, our normal waking state, if recorded at higher frequencies, can be associated with anxiety and stress!

This is not to say that any of these brainwaves are inherently good or bad, but if we think back to our ocean analogy, what good comes out of a storm that never ends? Instead of a constant storm, we want to create environments where we can easily ride these waves — sometimes, we could use big waves and lots of energy that drive action and quick decision-making, and other times we may need a relaxing, rhythmic wave that creates space for inward reflection or creativity. 

Frequency Band Frequency Resulting Brain State
Gamma 30+ Hz “Super genius,” peak concentration, improved memory, motor functions
Beta 13-30 Hz Stress and anxiety, external attention, problem-solving, engaging, alertness
Alpha 8-12 Hz Relaxed, passive attention, creative, recharging, visualization
Theta 4-8 Hz Meditative state, inward reflection, subconscious connection, learning, memory
Delta 1-4 Hz Deep sleep, detached awareness

The conductor’s guide to brainwave optimization

So how do we harness these brainwaves to allow for the creation of the right space at the right time?

The good news is that you are mostly in control of this. As mentioned earlier, these brainwaves are responding to what’s happening outside of your brain (what you are thinking, feeling, and experiencing)…so start to reflect on the shifts in your mental state that happen in your daily routine. How are you feeling when you are relaxing on the weekend? Out in nature? Exercising? Sitting in yet another one-hour meeting? Rushing to get the kids to school? Right when you wake up? How you are experiencing these moments can be an indicator of the state you are in.

Notice how we often get our best ideas when we’re not sitting at our desks working. Maybe you magically problem-solve in your sleep or come up with great ideas, connecting seemingly unrelated thoughts in the shower. It’s not magic, it’s your brain responding. So, if you change how you are thinking, feeling and experiencing these moments or environments, can you change your brainwave state? That’s the fun part! 

As seen above, there are certain brainwave states that you could imagine being very useful for different situations. Given that an alpha state is associated with being in a relaxed, meditative, and creative state — this may be a great state to be in during a writing exercise or a creative brainstorming session. Alternatively, looking at gamma waves, the highest frequency band, associated with focus, improved memory, and concentration — this may be a great state to be in when you’re looking for a peak productivity window, practicing a presentation, or doing an important task that requires peak cognitive ability.

So we know that we naturally move in and out of these brainwave states all the time, but how do you become more intentional about it so you can harness them?

First, it’s important to simply notice your state of mind and how this happens naturally — this is the easiest way to take advantage of these moments. If you know that exercising puts you into a creative state of mind, then you can organize your workout around this. Power up your attention and intention to begin to see this natural flow of energy and what it produces. And you can take it to the next level by intentionally calling forth a dominant brainwave state based on your environment and activity.

For example, music and a calming environment can be powerful tools for speeding up or slowing down brain activity. And because music can also be measured in frequencies, you can put your orchestrator hat back on and find tunes and tones with a frequency that matches the desired state. 

We are not meant to be dominated by our beta brainwaves, but unfortunately, due to our mindset, emotions, and environment, this is where we operate. Be it due to a disconnect between our mind and body, how we have organized our day, or negative thought patterns driven by the programming of certain beliefs, assumptions, and values.

As a result, this drives up our stress levels and anxiety and is not the ideal state for many activities and tasks we need to perform. If you want to start to remove the friction, begin to notice how and why your brainwaves show up during the day and start to experiment in order to align them with what you need to get done in a more effective, productive, and balanced way.

Next time, we’ll build on top of this and discuss the important cycles you can align with that drive energy and productivity — your ultradian rhythms. You’ll discover, just like the systems you manage in your marketing role, how brainwaves can also impact these cycles in both productive and unproductive ways.

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The post From friction to flow: A marketer’s secret productivity engine appeared first on MarTech.