As we prepare to begin another year a lot of discussion has been going on in the Private Community about productivity and making the most of time spent online. I’ve explained to members that right now in my career I feel like I’m working more efficiently than I ever have before.
Over the last sixteen months Ruck and I have went from creating IMGrind.com blog, Private Community, as well as hosting live Workshops and Events across the United States. Over the last twelve months we’ve welcomed Bill and Preston to the team as we’ve launched our own proprietary mobile tracking software iMobiTrax and our digital advertising agency at Revived Media. None of this would be possible without effective time management and productivity optimization.
A lot of Entrepreneurs I’ve met over the years suffer from what I refer to as “shinny object syndrome” and I’ll admit I have too at certain points of my career. By nature Entrepreneurs are very ambitious and are constantly coming up with million different business venture ideas and sometimes it’s very hard not to take that idea and run with it. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. There are only 24 hours in the day and there is only so much a couple people can do. Some will make the argument that they’re a “multitasker” and they can handle it. I beg to differ. Let’s do a quick little exercise to examine your awareness. Watch the video below and count the number of passes the team in white makes:
While I’m going to really break this down over the weekend inside the Private Community there are three main things that have allowed me to make the most of my time spent online and allow the three companies I’m managing partner of to grow. They include: developing a consistent routine, effective goal setting, and time optimization.
Developing A Consistent Routine
Being an Entrepreneur is fun. You don’t have a set schedule and being your ‘own boss” you don’t have to worry about deadlines, lunch breaks, or when you’re going to take your annual vacation. However if you don’t develop some type of routine it’s easy to spend a lot of time online and accomplish very little. Over the last sixteen months I’ve developed a routine that I follow at the beginning of each day until I close things up for the evening.
I begin each day by checking my email (I did catch a study this fall that said this was bad, but it works for me). Each of my three companies are separated so everything doesn’t get mixed into one. Using Gmail, I go through each one and star the important ones, delete the junk, and reply to the ones that need immediate attention. Normally this part of my day takes about an hour to complete. I don’t sit around and refresh it all day waiting for more emails, I simply move on to the next item on my list physically crossing out each task as it is completed. Depending on the day of the week, each item on my list from morning until noon is basically the same.
By developing a routine I’m certain I haven’t missed, overlooked, or forgot about something that’s important. If I have an appointment or something at the beginning of my day, when I get online I still follow the same routine. Everyday even on the weekends.
Effective Goal Setting
One of the most ignorant goals some Entrepreneurs will set is once they make X they’re going to move onto Y. This very rarely works. You see money is a very poor motivator because there is never enough. If you say you’re going to move to Y once you’re making $100/day profit; I highly doubt it. It’s likely you’re going to go for the $1,000 day then the $10,000 day, etc. You’ll never make it to Y. Therefore I set my goals depending on project completion. For example, one maybe I won’t move on to iMobiTrax support before I’ve spend two hours being active in the IMGrind Community. The goal is to be productive and add input to the Community before moving on to the next project.
Accounting is an on-going job but very much part of any business. On item on my list for a particular day is to ensure all of the accounts are properly reconciled and receivables/payables are in order. I won’t skip this and move on to the next thing until it’s completed accurately.
As you can see goals can be accomplished when simple tasks are completed. They don’t have to be “when I make $1,000,000” as I explained above money is a very poor motivator or performance indicator. Effectively setting goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis allow you to increase your performance overall.
I learned this very early on in my career. Given I got started online at a young age (when I was 13) I didn’t have much responsibility. I lived at home with my parents, I didn’t have to worry about bills, cooking meals, and other items we often take for granted. As long as I performed well in school and did my chores around the house my parents didn’t get on me too much about being on the computer. However as I continued to develop my ventures I realized on some days (in particular the weekends or holidays) I would spend the entire day online. Eventually I started to ask myself “what did I accomplish” sitting online all day. What I began to realize is I was spending MANY hours of the day chatting to other people in the industry on ICQ and AIM. This was good to an extent as I developed relationships with webmasters that have went on to do some amazing things but bad in the fact I was becoming too consumed in “industry drama” rather than focusing on building.
When there is money to be made there is competition and unfortunately drama. The Internet Marketing/Affiliate industry is no different, there is never lack of something going on in this industry. Rather it’s on a discussion forum or a Facebook group it’s easy to waste a lot of time getting involved in all this junk. You’d be amazed how quickly time adds up just reading.
To optimize my time I reflect back every two – three hours and ask myself a simple question, “how did the last two-three hours benefit my businesses.” If I can’t instantly and clearly answer that; I’m bleeding precious time. Remember there are only 24 hours in the day and if I don’t spend each hour that I’m working efficiently it’s possible my competition is and I’ll begin to lose competitive advantage.
In conclusion I’ve followed this exact process to a T in 2012 and I find myself very refreshed at the end of the day knowing I’ve accomplished many of things. Eating healthy, getting enough rest, and exercising regularly are also things you should have in your daily routine. Your body will thank you and you’ll be much more productive than if you were to sit around all day eating junk and scrolling the Interwebs. As we prepare to enter 2013 I challenge everyone reading this post to reflect back on their businesses and examine areas of growth and the number of projects you’ve successfully seen though. That’s awesome that you have a lot of “great ideas” but if you have a lot of unsuccessful projects it’s likely you’ve mismanaged your time somewhere along the line.
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.