How to Get More Done This Week Than You Have in the Past Month
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How often do full days slip by without you doing any actual work on your online business? Chances are it’s most of the time… meaning 4-5 days a week where you do absolutely no content creation , back link building, or traffic generation.
It’s an easy cycle to get into… you sit down to “work”, but you need to check your email first. There’s a few interesting offers or blog posts that you decide to read, and before you know it two hours have gone by.
Okay… before you really get started you should probably get a snack and go to the bathroom so that you can put in a few solid hours without having to get up. Once you’re in the kitchen, you decide that you’ll just watch one episode of your favorite show off the DVR before you jump into to a massive work session.
Alright, now that you’ve watched an episode, you’re going to get really productive. But you need to check your email real quick before you get started so that you don’t miss anything. You also check your stats because you might have made a few cents from Adsense or maybe even a Clickbank sale.
You open up Market Samurai or Google Keyword tool to find a good topic for the article you’re going to write. You see a few interesting keywords that you haven’t thought of before… but these are good enough to start a new site on. Your mind starts running wild with ideas about how this new site could make money. You go to Clickbank to see if there’s any related products you could sell, and then you check Amazon as well. It looks good… there’s products to market and it seems you’ve found some really great keywords.
Then your wife/husband/kid/phone interrupts you with an urgent issue.
“No problem” you think… “tomorrow I’m going to get a ton of work done.”
Getting Real Work Done at Home is Actually Very Hard to do
I’m sure the above scenario sounds painfully familiar, or at least parts of it do. Even as I write this blog post, my mouse keeps wanting to open up my Kindle ebook stats after every sentence (my latest addiction).
If you have kids, it’s 10 times worse. I don’t yet, so I’m guessing at that figure but it might even be 20 or 30 times harder to put in a few solid hours than for someone with no kids running around the house.
There’s just something about being at home that makes it harder to do real work for extended periods of time… I’m pretty sure it has something to do with not having anyone there to tell you what to do. In fact, you probably have someone there competing for your time. Your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse is probably telling you to help with the kids, clean something, or they just want you to hang out with them.
Another problem is that no one takes your “projects” seriously until you’re successful at it. If you’re making millions as a pop star, you’re awesome. But if you tell your friends and family you want to be a famous singer, they roll their eyes and tell you to get a job.
There’s a lot of other scenarios or issues that make it hard to get work done at home, but let’s move on to my best tips for getting things done despite the issues I’ve mentioned.
My Top 5 Productivity Tips For Getting Things Done
- Identify your “prime” work time, and take advantage of it: This will be different for everyone. If you have kids and a family, the best thing for you might be to get up an hour or two earlier to work, or maybe after your kids are in bed. If you have an hour or two right when you get home before your spouse does, that is your prime work time, and you cannot afford to use it checking emails or watching TV. The bottom line is, you need to either figure out when your prime work time is, or create some prime work time. Once you know when it is, you do absolutely nothing during that time except real work.
- Identify your avoidance loops, and preempt them: An avoidance loop is a series of events or time wasters that you engage in when you’re about to actually get something done. For example, my standard avoidance loop is to check my email, then various stats, then Yahoo, ESPN, and DailyMail to see if anything crazy has happened. Usually nothing has, but there is always some interesting news stories that I end up reading. The first step to avoiding your avoidance loop is to identify it as such. Once you’ve done that, the next time you start your loop, you can step back and realize it, and stop yourself.
- Use a timer for solid blocks of work: There’s all kinds of specific productivity techniques out there such as the Pomodoro technique, but I like 50 minute blocks. These blocks are most effective when you identify one single activity. If you’re writing copy for a sales page, then when that timer starts you shouldn’t leave your word processor once during that block. If you’re writing a blog post, shut every other browser tab and do not leave your seat or your WordPress interface for the entire block.
- Do not check your email until you’ve completed your key task for the day: Whether you get up early to work on your online business or you work on it at night, when you walk up to your computer, identify the one key task that you need to accomplish for the day. If you’re just starting then this would most likely be writing an article for your site. Once you do sit down and turn on your computer, do not check your email or any other time waster until you’ve completed that key task. If you can make this a habit and something you do everyday, you’ll finally start to make progress. Even just a little real work done day in and day out adds up… most people let several days go by at a time without doing any real work and that just doesn’t cut it.
- Plan monthly > weekly > daily: Most people plan way too much or way too little. I have found the most successful way is to identify some key things you want to accomplish in the next month, then break those down into weekly objectives, and then into daily goals. For example, if I’m planning a new site and I want the site up and to have 20 pages of content on it by the end of the month, I would make a week-by-week timeline of what I need to do. Then, it’s easy to break each week down into daily objectives. As I mentioned in this post, I use a Blogger blog to track my goals and plans.