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The political season is finally over. Amen. Now everyone in the online advertising industry can take a well-deserved break. Actually, let’s just turn off our phones, unplug our laptops, and go sit on the beach until we have the perfect neon tan.

That’s a great pipedream to believe if you’re actively enjoying certain new laws passed in Washington or Colorado. Those of us in reality are first and foremost very appreciative if we were one of the few firms selected to generate a meaningful amount of new business from the short-term influx of online political advertising revenue that was thrown around. After reflecting on our newfound appreciation for the political cycle, we quickly realized that the fast and furious holiday season is starting to wake up. Bring it on Black Friday.

The holiday season is wide awake and ready to start promoting products, bragging about sales, and generating enough online revenue to make the budgets managed by politicians look like a piggybank of an 8-year-old. In short, it’s go time. Get ready to grip and rip and not sleep until the 24th of December. Don’t act surprised. You’re an online digital media buyer.

What a lovely picture. No sleep, no free time to shop for the special people in your life, no personal time to hit the gym, shave, or eat a full meal while sitting down at an actual table. Is that truly your reality or are you just mismanaging your time and inaccurately blowing your to-do list out of proportion?

I’m not claiming to have the perfect recipe for maintaining an ideal life/work balance, nor am I claiming that I don’t work long hours, which I do, all the damn time. But I’m the guy who, after nine years in this industry, has figured out how to sprinkle in a resemblance of a life into my schedule. I’m the guy who’s enjoying a beer while writing this column, who will shop during this holiday season, and who won’t shave (personal choice) but will hit the gym and also eat a full meal at an actual table and not in front of my laptop.

How is this possible, you wonder? I’ve outlined three suggestions below that have helped me and will hopefully help you maintain a healthy work/life balance. Relax, you’re an online digital media buyer, not the inventor and sole supplier of oxygen on Earth. You can do this.

Support Programmatic Online Media Buying

Let’s get real. Do you want to send out 45 separate insertion orders that must be signed and faxed back individually? Do you want to receive 45 separate Excel documents or log into 45 different reporting interfaces and calculate overall spend, click-through rates, and reporting variance? Let’s not even start thinking about “unique user” overlap or how increasingly difficult it will be to control where your ad tags are actually displayed.

You don’t want this scenario. If you do, you should probably call 1-800-I-HATE-MYSELF because you have created a strategy of self-abuse. You deserve better. This isn’t 2003, nor do we have to act like our online advertising technology hasn’t advanced since then. Let’s be smarter and more efficient.

As a result of denouncing the above behavior, we can freely explore programmatic online media buying as a proper and successful strategy for creating, implementing, and executing online media buys. If done right, you’ll end up successfully performing an online advertising campaign that not only represents a fair market price but will generate results that will make your client very happy and motivated to continue working with your firm.

Programmatic online media buying is both operationally efficient and cost-effective. It replaces manual request for proposals (RFPs), separate insertion orders (IOs), and rack-based cost-per-thousand (CPM) pricing. All of which helps you save a lot of time while allowing you to perform your job successfully.

Minimize Time-Suckers

What exactly is a time-sucker? Watching “Castle” on Monday nights? No. Calling your wife during lunch and asking how her day is going? Absolutely not. How about spending hours liking and reading comments from your 351 fake Facebook friends who are talking about their weekend festivities, baby showers, and random pictures of their food? Yes, this is a time-sucker. It’s not only a time-sucker but a complete waste of time that backhands your calendar into believing that you are busier than you actually are.

If you don’t have time to call your mother on her birthday, buy flowers for you girl, or weed out a poorly performing gaming website from your travel-centric campaign, then don’t gossip during lunch, stop posting pictures on Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram, and don’t complain to your colleagues about how busy you are at work this holiday season. Focus on work when you are at work. This has the surprising effect of freeing up time for the rest of your day.

Embrace Limitations

You have limitations. The firm you work for has limitations. Everyone has them. They are the ugly part of your job’s existence and the reality of your job’s description.

Believe it or not limitations are good huggers. They are something that should be embraced and expressed. The sooner you accept that your firm has limitations, the sooner you will perform your job more successfully and go home earlier. If you accept your limitations and embrace your firm’s shortcomings, then you will spend less time in the weeds and more time selling and managing the services you are actually able to offer.

There is nothing efficient or successful about offering a service or a solution that you cannot actually do. Stick with what you know and offer services your firm can actually execute successfully. Embracing your limitations will make you more successful at your job, help you waste less time overall, and will get you out of the office and home earlier.

Article was original published by Tim Nichols on November 21th, 2012 at http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2226179/3-ways-to-achieve-a-healthy-work-life-balance-as-an-online-digital-media-buyer

Topics: Media Buying & Planning, Programmatic Media Buying, Real-Time Media Buying

Tim Nichols

Written by Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols is a founding partner at ExactDrive, a digital media buying agency with white label, reseller and managed service options available. ExactDrive plans, manages, and optimizes online advertising campaigns with the objective of delivering measurable value and empowering clients to find precisely targeted audiences. ExactDrive has offices in Minneapolis, MN, Milwaukee, WI and SouthWest Florida.

Tim Nichols is also a contributing author on Forbes.com.

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