I want to read this blog post right now and to set yourself an immediate target. I want you to be more productive in 2011.
That means – you'll finish all the Internet Marketing projects you started. You'll eliminate all the distractions that hold you back. You'll make something positive happen for yourself in 2011, because if you don't do it, you can't rely on anyone else to make things happen for you.
Certainly, one of my own personal targets this year is to work more effectively, and a big piece of that is to manage my time well. Now, that doesn't mean accounting for every single second of every day. That takes all the joy out of life, and it's just not possible for the average person with unpredictable responsibilities. But, I've spent the past few days discovering all sorts of little tricks which can be used to improve time management, and I want to share three of them which I think will work for you in this blog post.
#1 – Eliminate Distractions When You're Working
Remove all the distractions from your working environment.
Now, this may sound obvious, but it's often easier said that done, particularly if it is your work environment itself which is the distraction.
If you work from home, you need to be able to keep yourself isolated during your working hours. If you allow people to enter your working environment, they cost you time. This is not only the time when they're engaging with you, but also the time it takes you to get back into focus, and to work out what you were doing.
Distractions can be electronic as well. Every time your phone goes off when you're working, that's a distraction. Every time a Facebook chat window pops open in front of you, you're wasting time. And all this time wasted adds up. What should have been a 30 minute task can easily balloon to a couple of hours, and still not be completely finished.
Try and isolate yourself as best you can for the set time when you're working. Keep your environment as free of physical and logical distractions as you can. That will offer you the maximum opportunities to succeed and manage your time successfully.
#2 – Set Yourself Firm Targets And Meet Them
Treat Internet Marketing like a job, even if it's one that you do part time.
That means you need to work to the kind of deadlines your boss would set you.
Now, you're probably marketing online for one of a number of reasons, but I'll just list two of them:
- you just want to make a little extra money each month to help you to enjoy life more
- you want to get away from the day job and work full time as an online marketer
In either case, the end result is the same. You want to be financially independent, and in some ways it's no better leaving a job if you're then just replacing it with one where you have to work very hard for yourself, with no guarantee of success.
Eventually, you want to be able to take yourself out of the equation as far as possible, so that your business ticks over without you even being there (or spending anything more than a minimum amount of time on it).
But, you do have to reach that stage, and that's where your own hard work and determination sets in.
Make sure that you have targets and deadlines that can't slip and by which you have completed whatever task you were working on to a satisfactory end. If the task was writing a report, then you've finished it. Now, these items don't have to be perfect, but they have to be completed within the time available.
The time management strategy has to be to get something 'good enough' ready, by the deadline, and improve it later if time permits.
#3 – Make The Very First Thing You Do The Most Important
Now, you need to make sure that every task you try and complete is short and achievable.
Make the very first thing you work on each day, the most important task for that day. Something that needs to be done, and not something that you necessarily enjoy doing (it's good to get something less fun completed early on).
Some people have a lot of success with doing this task as soon as they wake up. That doesn't work so well for me, but if you're a morning person this might work better for you (and coffee is allowed).
It's important to make sure that this task takes no more than an hour. If you're scheduling yourself early morning tasks that take longer than that, you need to look to break them down into smaller chunks. There is a limit to how far you can get first thing in the day. Having a number of short tasks to complete also makes it much easier for you to put these tasks into some kind of priority order.
It's important that this first task is one that accomplishes something for you towards your long term goals. Don't make this task answering emails, or firing up Facebook. Both of those can wait. Write a chapter of your ebook, write articles for a client, write some sales copy, produce a mind map for your latest video, or whatever will take you one step closer to your long term goal. You'll be much happier once you're getting this task out of the way each day.
Over To You
Do you see any of these strategies helping with your own time management? If so, which of them?
What's something that you're going to do differently for 2011? Is there a new way that you've been managing your time that has worked for you.
Your feedback is highly valued and we'd all love to read it.
Just comment in the box below and share your thoughts with us.