Time I$ Money! Mastering One Is ESSENTIAL to Mastering the Other!
One of the biggest things that holds people back from making money online is poor time management skills. After all, the internet is a seductive place, and you can sit down at your desk with the intention of working for 3 hours, only to get sucked into one of your favorite forums or looking at “cute cute kitty videos” or something.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have the ability to manage your time wisely, chances are you’ll never be productive online (which means, of course, no making big money, quitting your job, or working full-time in your underwear).
Time management is one skill you absolutely MUST master to be successful.
If you’ve tried to get your time under control before and failed, or if you’re just looking to get a head start on a productive lifestyle, then you’ll find some helpful tips below. (Just don’t spend too much time memorizing them…you’ve got work to do. LOL!)
Make A List
Establish a “quitting time” – a hard, fast, carved-in-stone quitting time after which you PROMISE yourself you’re not gonna go back online for ANY reason related to work.
Let’s say that you establish that time as 3:00 PM. About fifteen minutes before that time sit down in front of a pen and a yellow legal pad and make a numbered list of all the things you want to accomplish for the NEXT day. And never, EVER tell yourself, “Oh, yeah, I’ll remember to do THAT tomorrow; I don’t have to put it on my list.” Those are precisely the kinds of things you DO want on a written list because those are the things that are SO common sense that you either keep putting them off or you simply forget about ’em.
Be sure to put that yellow legal pad in a convenient place – out of the way, but in a conspicuous place – beside your computer. Making a “To-Do” list on a word file that you can file in cyberspace is merely an exercise in self-deception; unless you put that list in an OBVIOUS place where you’re going to mentally “trip” over it all day long, you’re wasting your time.
And take-your-time! Since this list is your Life’s Game-Plan for the next day, don’t just itemize what you MUST do; think about what you SHOULD do, what you COULD do, and what you’d LIKE to do.
Finally – and probably most importantly – cross off each item (even the minor ones) as you accomplish them. This is key to the whole process because it gives one a subconscious feeling of accomplishment.
“Managing your time without setting priorities is like shooting randomly and calling whatever you hit the target.“
The “Wurst Furst” Strategy
One of the failings we ALL share is the inborn need to put off unpleasant tasks as long as possible. In other words we have that all-too-human habit of…..
But there is a simple fix for this; When you’re making out that To Do list at the end of the day, pick out that ONE task that is most distasteful – that one task that you’d rather walk over hot coals than perform – that one task that makes your blood run cold!
Now, the all-too-human method of handling this item is to put it off as long as possible, maybe even until it moves from being a mere annoyance to a major problem or catastrophe. But WE’RE gonna approach this just a little differently; you and I are going to do this “WORST, FIRST.” We are going to conquer that most repulsive task of all BEFORE ANY OTHER ITEM ON OUR LIST!
You will find that when you consistently do the worst-first that you will be able to approach those OTHER tasks on your list with a relief and focus that would have been impossible if you had left that distasteful task weigh on your mind all day long. I have a little saying the I use whenever I feel an urge to put off what I think may be an undesirable task: “never put off for tomorrow what you can do today, because… If you do it today, you might enjoy it and you can do it again tomorrow“. 🙂
Obey “Posted Limits ” – It’s Important to Know When to Start, But It’s MORE Important to Know When to S-T-O-P!
There are a lot of theories out there about how best to budget your time. The most popular is the “80/20 rule,” which states that since 80% of your business comes from 20% of your activities, you should then focus 80% of your time on those activities.
Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, it’s really hard to stick to, and you’ll most likely find yourself going over budget on other things. And since any plan that’s hard to implement is essentially worthless, you need to find another tactic.
A great way to do this is to assign time limits to each activity, and hold yourself to them. If you give yourself 30 minutes to respond to emails, once that timer goes off, you’re done. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
This will keep you on track with your day, and even better, having that sword hanging over your head really helps you focus on the task at hand. Chances are you’ll respond to more emails if you limit yourself to 30 minutes than you would if you gave yourself an entire afternoon.
Break It Down – “It’s Hard By the Yard, But a Cinch By the Inch”
One mistake that many people make is giving themselves broad mandates. This means they’ll decide to do something like, say, create a webpage, and then they’ll give themselves a certain amount of time to do it.
This works against you in several ways. First, there’s a good chance your brain will be paralyzed by all of the decisions and tasks that go into such a broad job. Then, if you do manage to somehow focus on everything that needs to get done, you’ll often find that your initial time budget was way off, which can throw off your entire day and make you feel like a failure.
Instead, break everything up into its individual components, and budget from there. Instead of creating a webpage, say that you’ll buy a domain name, and give yourself however much time is necessary. Then you can focus your efforts entirely on that, and accomplishing a bunch of little things gives you momentum that you’ll carry throughout the day.
More Is Lost by IN-decision Than by WRONG Decision – Just Do It!
In my opinion that old Nike marketing quote – “Just DO It!” – is the most crucial in the study of time management.
People fool themselves all the time into thinking that things are more important than they really are. Should that key word in your sentence be bolded or italicized? Better think about it…and next thing you know you’ve wasted a bunch of time on something that’s likely inconsequential.
A far better strategy is to learn how to make decisions quickly. In the above example, just go with whatever your gut tells you, or even whichever’s easier. You can always go back and test to see if one truly is better than the other. Chances are, though, you’ll find most decisions are relatively meaningless, and so just picking one at random is preferable to wasting time debating their merits.
I’m not saying make major decisions on the spur of the moment, without thought or planning. But how many major decisions do you really make in a day? I bet not many. There might be a lot that feel that way, but once you learn to just treat them like any other question, you’ll find that the decisions come easier…and that you get a lot more done each day.
The best Strategy is: “Done” Is Better Than “Perfect”
One of my worst traits is that I am a perfectionist!
The sad part about it is that I know it’s a bad habit, a terrible habit, in fact. For example, I know fellow marketers who can sit down and write a well-crafted, effective sales letter in 10 or 15 minutes. But me? I might labor over a promotional message for hours. It’s not unusual for me to use a thesaurus to analyze if one word is more descriptive, more powerful, more “potent” than another word in delivering my message…
… Then one day a good friend of mine pointed out the “error of my ways.”
In so many words he admonished me thus: “Understand, that there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to do a good job, a GREAT job even: the pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. But the pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.”
To this day, like a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, I still struggle to overcome MY “addiction” whenever I start another project, no matter how large or small. But in the final analysis, I have found that it IS far better to be “done than perfect”; the end results are the same, but now…..
… I have much more time to look at cute kitty videos on the Internet!