How to be More Productive in Life AND your Online Business
Resistance to any task for a sustained period of time ultimately creates a negative association to that task.
Do this enough times and watch as you feel paralyzed every time you sit in front of your computer screen.
Been there, not a nice feeling.
I want you (from here on in) to focus your attention on “productivity” above all else.
At the end of the day, it’s action that yields results – and yet most people are focusing on “studying” instead.
It’s easy to study.
It’s easy to passively consume information and falsely believe you’re being productive, but you’re not.
You’re busy wasting the most valuable asset we Internet marketers have, which is our “time” of course.
Never confuse busyness with productivity.
Highly productive people are often less busy than those who are overworked and overwhelmed.
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau
If you’ve been in this business for at least a month or so, you most likely have everything needed to start earning a full-time income online.
Even the people who haven’t made a single cent, already know this on some level.
What most likely happens is they continue to absorb more information until they completely Zombie out and become marketing vegetables.
In essence, they have a head full of mush, I’ve been there too.
It’s a killer.
But… there’s no need to keep learning if…
There’s No New Information:
There really is no “new” information in this business – just variations of the same reframed to make them seem unique.
I’ll give you an example:
Take my last eBook “Strategic Profits Blueprint.”
No seriously – take it, it’s here.
Forget about the step by step implementation of what the book shares.
Instead, let’s summarize it in 6 steps…
1) Find a niche where people are spending money
2) Set up a squeeze page to capture leads & write a 10-page quality report to give away as a freebie/bribe
3) Set up a “one time offer” where people are directed to after they opt in – and write 3 more quality reports to sell for $7 so you can start building a buyers list
4) Set up a series of autoresponder messages that deliver valuable content and super targeted promotions
5) Drive traffic to your squeeze page via paid (solo ads, PPC, FaceBook ads etc) or free (forum marketing, guest posts, youtube etc)
The above strategy has been used by almost every successful internet marketer out there in one variation or another.
It’s a solid proven method to making money.
A lot of people know this, right?
So why do most people fail in this business if they have already been given this information, probably many times before?
Again, this is nothing new.
You wouldn’t even have to follow the strategy step by step, and most likely you’d deviate a little to incorporate your own ideas and concepts into the mix, which takes us back to the very first point I made…
“There’s no new information – just variations of the same”
If you’re thinking there’s a lot more to it than that – you’d be right.
After all, the Devil is in the details, right?
Yep, but isn’t that the point?
Are we not the ones who make up the details through trial and error?
Isn’t the action taking part where we find (create) the details?
Remember, no new information – just the same old stuff reframed from another person’s perspective…
… And the reason so many people are stuck inside this perpetual “learning” cycle – is because they keep absorbing the same information over and over again without realizing that it’s useless until they add their own ideas and concepts to the mix – which is why they need to be taking action in the first place.
Many say that “action” is useless without direction.
I agree, to a point, but I’d rather take blind action every time over passively sitting there reading another marketing report I’m never going to use.
And I’m sure I’ll learn far more in the process.
How many reports have you downloaded but never used?
A lot, right? Me too…
We’re not just talking about blind action here.
We need to act on information that resonates with us.
Information that we know we can use, but never do.
The truth is, the amount of time people spend “implementing” is shockingly low compared to the time they spend learning.
“Ready, Fire – Then Aim” That should be your new motto.
Study to Action Ratio:
No doubt what most people do is study 10 times more than they take action.
It’s not hard to see this being played out in this business, to be honest.
They study for 10 hours and take 1 hour of action.
I reckon the number is probably much higher than this – and it becomes a habit over time.
Just like anything else in life, habits are easily formed and very hard to break.
The biggest problem with the “study to action” ratio is that most people are not fully conscious of how detrimental it is to their success or lack thereof.
I wouldn’t mind – but it’s not a difficult obstacle to overcome once we stop thinking and start doing.
Momentum baby, that’s what we need.
What To Do About It:
Next time you pick up a report or watch a training video, I want you to stop as soon as you come across one piece of content that you know you can put to use – and take some action with it.
Even if it’s just for 30 minutes.
Form this habit and you’ll see your productivity go through the roof.
You have to simply stop consuming information you have no intention of using.
Look at it this way…
How many times have you been reading a report and came across a great little tip that struck a chord with you?
Now, how many times have you put the report away and actually implemented that little tip, immediately?
Probably never, right?
That’s the key here.
As soon as you stumble across a neat little tip that you know you could use, just stop everything you’re doing and go do something with that information.
I have always found that it’s much harder to start than it is to stop.
Form the habit of taking action with every little nugget of information you know you could be using.
Make this your goal for 30 days????
What a very powerful habit to have.
Let’s Get Down To Brass Tax:
Your study to action ratio should be more in line with “1-hour study to 10 hours action.”
That, of course, seems very high but is exactly what successful people do.
They find or create an idea – and immediately put it into action.
They iron out the details as they go.
There’s time for planning – but our most valuable lessons come from the experience whilst in the thick of it.
All you have to start with is a “1 to 1″ ratio. 1-hour study – 1-hour action” – and after a while, you’ll get into the habit of taking some form of action with every piece of quality content that resonates with you.
And by the way, when you take consistent action your results will massively grow far, far, far (yes 3) more substantially over time than you could even possibly imagine.
It’s called “Compounding.”
Do you want success?
Master “productivity” and see how quickly you’ll start seeing results.
Why Master This Skill:
You will always learn more from experience than you would do from hearing about someone else’s experience.
That’s the key here.
Studying is comfortable.
It’s somewhat rewarding too – and most often we associate these two with “results” which they most certainly are not.
You can read all the books.
You can mirror others achievements, but you will never fully understand how something really works unless you contrast your successes against your failures.
Read that again.
Mastering productivity will not only increase your success substantially, it will also seep into other aspects of your life as you become the person who just gets it done…period.
In order to master such a skill, you must begin to place specific deadlines on the most important things you do.
It’s one thing to take immediate action when you stumble across something you can use – but that’s only half the battle.
There are always times when we have a couple of important tasks that need to get done So, we need to assign specific time-frames to important tasks.
We achieve maximum productivity when we assign deadlines to tasks using…
When I first heard of this law I kinda passed over it at first.
I mean, time management and productivity aren’t the sexiest of things to learn, but by good God they are essential.
After a year or so online without seeing any substantial results from my 12 – 15 hours a day being busy online – I finally woke up to the fact I had a serious problem that needed immediate attention.
It was clear that I wasn’t being productive with my time.
I now work less time and get twice as much done…at least.
This law states that the task at hand expands to fill the allotted time given to that certain task…
… and if you haven’t allotted a specific amount of time for completion of that task… you’re screwed!
Since time is indefinite, it takes forever to do stuff, which essentially means you end up with a million things needed to get done but you feel like there’s not enough time to finish them as they continue to pile up…
… quite a paradox.
Touch It Once:
The only way to get crystal clear about your intentions is to put a specific deadline on whatever you do – and once you touch a project, you finish the damn thing come hell or high water.
The old “touch it once” concept is about “completing a task in one sitting,” but that’s just not good enough in my opinion.
Unless you specify a deadline, you could easily “touch it once” at 1 pm and finish it at 4 pm – when it could have been completed by 230pm.
Total waste of time.
If you’re writing a blog post for your…well…blog, you set up a timer to complete that post in 1 hour.
No more – no less… 1 hour tops.
It sounds simple, and it is, but what this does is forces your brain to work a lot more efficiently.
If you only have 1 hour, guess what?
It will take you 1 hour.
If you have 2 hours, guess what?
Exactly – it will take 2 hours.
You’ve essentially halved your productiveness when it should have been doubled.
You have to make a commitment to use Parkinson’s Law with everything important you do online.
If for example, you want to change the theme on your website, you must set a specific deadline for its completion – and after that allotted time is up, you leave it exactly the way it is.
It’s so easy to get caught up doing menial tasks which should be secondary to the tasks that actually produce results.
Your time is valuable and cannot be wasted by pissing about trying to get things perfect…
“It doesn’t need to be perfect – it needs to be done”
If you allow 2 hours for completion of a certain task, be strict enough to tick that task off as DONE once that time-frame has ended.
You cannot go over the time allotted.
It would completely defeat the whole purpose of what you’re training your mind to do if you allotted 2 hours to finish a task, but ended up taking 3 hours to complete it.
Remember, your time is valuable.
One More Example:
If I want to write a new report to give away on an opt in page, I’d probably allot 10 minutes to pick a topic, 20 minutes to outline the structure of the report, and 1 1/2 hours to write it….
…absolutely no compromising on the times I have allotted to each task.
When the bell rings, I move onto the next one.
There needs to be a sense of urgency to whatever important task you’re working on.
You MUST set deadlines – it’s as simple and straight forward as that.
If there’s no deadline attached – you’re wasting time and cheating yourself.
If you follow the “study to action” principle I outlined earlier – you’ll find that after a short while your content will be everywhere online.
That’s a great thing.
The more you have out there, the more chances you have of connecting with people and making sales.
The more content you have online – obviously you’re going to have more stuff to do, right?
This is where the power of Parkinson’s Law comes into play.
Both productivity tips outlined here today complement each other seamlessly.
If you master both – you’ll meet with inevitable success.
What To Do Now:
Chances are you’ll need to sit down and create a plan, especially for the Parkinson’s Law method.
Nothing too rigid though – the goal here is to work to “uninterrupted” deadlines.
That means, if you start something and you have a 2-hour deadline to finish, you MUST focus on that task for the full 2 hours.
No email, no social media, no bathroom.
Let’s take a look at one of my daily schedules – maybe you’ll get something of value from it.
This schedule is set up for the Parkinson’s Law method, so every action that’s taken inside the schedule is 100% uninterrupted time.
My Productivity Schedule:
What I’m showing you here is so stupidly simple at first glance – you may very well pass over it without much thought.
But, I can guarantee you productivity; organization and progress will be made if you just try it out for a couple of days.
There’s a lot more to this simple strategy than meets the eye.
The Actual System:
Get a whiteboard, or whatever else you can find to write on – and list down 5 categories.
- Personal Category
- Writing Category
- Content Category
- Traffic Category
- Education Category
If you think of any activity or task you have to complete to take your business to the next level, you’ll find it can easily slot into any of the above categories. It sounds very simplistic – and it is at that. Even in its simplicity, this has proved very powerful for me since I started to implement it.
Here’s how you would structure this…
You put anything outside of your business into this category. If you have to go to the gym, meet a friend, attend your child’s play (see what I did there) go for a walk, meet the parents (again) or even if you meditate, for example, they all go into this category.
Ground-breaking stuff eh?
If you do email marketing, you obviously have to write messages to send to your list. If you’re blogging you need to write articles for your website – and if you write guest posts – they go into this category.
Anything from creating a video for YouTube to working on a report, or a new eBook, goes in here. Sometimes certain tasks within the “content” category will overlap with the “writing” category, but they’re not exactly the same. You decide which task goes into each one.
This should be the most important category on your list. Anything from social media direct marketing, right on up to paid advertising and the likes of forum posting will go into this category.
Although guest posting, for example, can be thought of as a traffic generation strategy, the results are not immediate; therefore you keep that task for the “writing’ category.
Procrastination and Information overload stem from using this category too much.
But now, you only use it for specific tasks.
For instance, if you have a webinar to attend or a marketing video to watch – they get placed into this category.
Note: You MUST place at least “one” task into each category the night before – and you MUST complete each one the next day.
The order at which you approach each task is entirely up to yourself.
This is a lot more powerful than just writing a list of “things to do” on a whiteboard (piece of paper – whatever) than you may think.
This way of organizing your “to do” list forces your mind to dump out a wider scope of ideas to work on.
Here’s an example of a daily schedule…
Go for a run.
Make Dentists appointment.
Place banner advertisement (20 mins)
10 Forum posts (30 mins)
Write blog post (1 hour)
Write autoresponder message (30 mins)
Read 2 bookmarked blog posts (10 mins)
Read Scientific Advertising eBook (30 mins)
Spend time on new book (45 mins)
Create new sales page (2 hours)
Total time = 6 hours uninterrupted focused work
What I love about this system is how super simple it is – and how it extends out to reach almost every aspect of my online business.
Each day there will be different tasks to do in each category.
I believe if you follow a similar approach like the one above, your productivity will massively Increase.
Even if you decide to put small tasks into each category, your productivity will still be compounded over time and results will definitely astound you (seriously)
I find Information overload becomes less of a problem with a system like this – and you never neglect any part of your business as a result.
There are no magic bullets.
You already know this, right?
Do yourself a favor and take these ideas very seriously.
I could sit down and have a report researched, written and out there ready to generate leads and sales in less than 2 hours.
It’s very empowering to know I can do this simply by following what I am teaching here.
Making productivity your main focus opens up so many opportunities for you online.
Just to sum it up for you…
- Use the “study to action” ratio and get into the habit of taking action with every piece of valuable content you come across that you know can be of use to your business. Start off with a “1 to 1” ratio (1-hour study –to- 1 hour of action) – never read an eBook all the way through. There’s no point absorbing 10 different tips and using none, instead, act on the first piece of information until completed. You can then revisit the ebook and continue the process.
- Set a specific deadline for every important thing you do online. Never start a task unless you have a deadline in place – and NEVER go over your time limit. Soon enough you’ll get really good at this. Projects that would have taken you 4 hours can easily be cut in half. Remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect – it needs to be done and in the least time possible.
- Set out a daily to-do schedule like the one I use myself (above) and come hell or high water make damn sure you get into the habit of completing each task before the day is over. Ask yourself before you go to sleep if today was a productive one. If you find your answer is NO a couple of nights in a row, then you have a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.
To your freedom,
John W. Newman
Helping you create TIME AND FINANCIAL FREEDOM by building a PROFITABLE Business Online!
Dream It… Believe It… Then Achieve It!
Love social media? Join me on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram.
==>> Download my new cheat sheet 5 Simple, PROVEN Secrets to CRACK THE CODE of Affiliate Marketing… <<==
Hi John. I completely agree. It’s easy and safe to gather information. It takes a lot more courage to take action. Like we’ve heard so many times before, you don’t grow until you step outside your comfort zone.
Also, and probably more importantly, most people don’t really learn anything by studying. You might get some interesting trivia but probably not much more. The real learning comes from doing. At least that’s the way it works for me. If all I do is read it and not do anything with it then I’ll forget it in less than an hour. I learn by doing.
BTW, at the beginning of the post you say 6 steps then list only 5. You left out the most important step, didn’t you? I’ve got you covered.
6) Celebrate your earnings!
I agree, Ben! You learn far more from doing than studying!
Although reading and studying are important, the real growth comes from getting out there and taking action!
Glad you noticed number six too! So right!! Thanks 🙂
I think this was a wonderful post. I have kind of the same problem but backwards. I hate wasting time with all the small stuff.
I tend to jump in with both feet, at times I should have done a little more studying. But I just love that you brought this whole issue out in the open.
I worked as a District Manager and I would say things like this to my managers all the time. I walk in your store you always look busy but nothing ever changes I just don’t get it.
So my point is just like studying all the time makes you think your busy. Its the same as just because your moving around all the time, doesn’t mean your busy even if they think they are.
This can be a hassle to explain to someone, because they won’t understand. (Seems like you have found the way to explain.) But, at the end of the day its all about what you have accomplished.
You have to accomplish something to be successful, that’s why there is such a high turnover in this business.
So I agree, put the books down stop all the time wasting and get your site up and running. How big of a mistake are you really going to make?
All the best,
Hey RickD, you make some great points!
Just being busy, doesn’t mean you are productive… that’s almost as a big of a killer as procrastination.
That’s why it is really important to work out your goals and plans first and then design the tasks to achieve them.
There have been times when I have been on Facebook and in my mind, I have justified that with working on my business, but really I was just wasting my time.
You have to work on tasks that bring the greatest ROI!
Thanks for your feedback 🙂
I have to say I like the sound of your 6 steps and the way you have broken them down. I am at Step 3 and am excited to learn more.
I also love your Instagram account and will be following. It’s enlightening to hear that things don’t have to be perfect in this business before you put your work out there. I have a problem of wanting everything to be absolutely perfect in my business – and I tend to procrastinate because of this. I will make a substantial effort now to stop doing this.
Perfection is an unattainable outcome Tracy.
Done is a lot better outcome than perfect anyway!
Keep working on the steps one at a time and you will get there for sure!
Looking forward to connecting on Instagram too 🙂
Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you touched on this subject. I think this happens to everyone at one point or another. I consider myself a very productive person but sometimes I get so so stuck thinking about what I have to do that I never actually get to doing it! It’s the worst! I build it up so high in my mind as this mountain I have to climb when I actually just need to take one step forward and I’m basically there. Thanks for laying out all this info! Much appreciated.
Glad you liked it Helen!
This is a trap that a lot of us tend to fall into – overthinking things!
But this just leads to procrastination and eventually frustration.
Action is the key!
We can always go back and fix things up, but if we don’t start, nothing happens!
Hi John –
I can totally relate to this post…Staying focused on one thing at a time is truly the key to productivity. I definitely have struggled with maintaining focus and not getting side-tracked. I absolutely love the organized, simple schedule example you provided – what a great tool for tackling tasks one at a time! Thanks for the great info!
I think we all have from time to time Stef!
I am sure the schedule will help get you moving and on track!
Thanks for commenting 🙂
Good morning John well detailed post with a lot of valuable information. Action is the key and this is so powerful as you pointed we can study, study and study but if we don’t take action it is all for nothing. Action is the key that opens the door of success.
So true Norman!!!
Action, measure, monitor adjust, and MORE action!
Thanks for commenting 🙂
It is easy to get distracted whilst working online, so it was refreshing to read your post on staying focused on the task at hand and implementing whilst we learn. Were all guilty of letting time slip through our fingers, but we cant let it become habit forming if we are serious about achieving success. Adopting a lean management approach to our marketing efforts is the only way to move forward in this business, as its all about working smarter and not harder. We all want to earn more money and have the time to enjoy it, but we can only achieve this if we put more emphasis on good time management.
Forming great habits are the key Daniel!
It’s so easy to slip into bad ones, but as you say… work smarter, not harder!
Thanks for your feedback 🙂