12 Essential Tips to Double Your Productivity
Many of you will be giving internet marketing a go while also holding down a full-time job, so learning how to get the most out of your hours is essential. That said, sometimes it’s even more difficult to be efficient if you have all day to do it so decent time management is also super-critical for full-time marketers. That’s why in this lesson we’re going to look at 12 Essential Tips to Double Your Productivity
#1: Use time-management software
We recommend ClockingIt.com – it’s free and it does the trick.
Add in your ongoing and one-off tasks and select a due date. When you begin working on a task, click on the “start work” icon and ClockingIt will start the timer. Click on the icon again when you finish working on the task. You can keep stopping and starting until you finish the task — at which point ClockingIt will tell you how long you’ve spent on it.
The software makes it easy to see where you are spending your time and pinpoint potential bottlenecks (it’s quite shocking to realize that you spent five hours of your working week checking your email!). It’s also a great tool to get your staff using too, if/when you employ any.
You may also find it useful to use a countdown timer for when you want to accomplish a lot of work in a short period of time; try setting your timer for two hours and then working solidly for that time, refusing any interruptions. Try to this a couple of times a day, and you’ll see big results! (If you’re nervous, try 30 minutes to begin with. You can still get an amazing amount done in 30 minutes if you avoid distractions! Once you master that, increase the time period.
#2: Keep a notebook of ideas
It’s easy to get distracted by a brainwave while in the middle of a task. If you follow it up, you can inadvertently spend hours of time away from what you really needed to get done. Obviously, this isn’t good for productivity — but at the same time, you don’t want to ignore and potentially forget about these good ideas.
Dave Allen, author of the fantastic book Getting Things Done, recommends that busy people keep a ‘tickler’ file. A ‘tickler’ file can be a Word document, notebook, or a permanent ClockingIt task. The idea is that a tickler file is somewhere to quickly jot ideas when they occur to you, so that you don’t need to interrupt what you are doing and you can easily find the idea again in the future.
#3: Set daily micro goals
All too often we get overwhelmed by big tasks and end up floundering around not really achieving anything at all. The best way to counter this is to make a list of three to five small goals to achieve each day. You can either make your list the night before or first thing in the morning.
Online task lists are handy, but there is something about actually picking up a pen and writing on paper that helps to focus your mind. Micro goal setting ensures that you systematically get where you want to go. And it also helps you to feel like you are achieving something, each and every day.
#4: Get rid of clutter
A tidy office equals tidy mind. If you find yourself getting distracted by items on your desk, chat windows, the phone, or the view out of the window, then simply remove them (or change the position of your desk). It makes a world of difference to your power of concentration.
#5: Limit your email checking to twice a day
Did you know that, for most people, email is the single biggest interruption? We recommend checking your email only after midday, as you may discover a lot of fires to put out that are best left until after you’ve done some important work. Don’t keep checking your email throughout the day; close your email program or the window in your browser. Concentrate on your current tasks and limit yourself to two checks a day at the most.
#6: Learn to say ‘no’
Being able to stay on task for an extended period is vital for getting a good result, but that can’t be done if you are constantly getting interrupted throughout the day.
The solution is to get ruthless: only say ‘yes’ to tasks that just can’t wait, or that can be easily completed along with your other goals for the day.
#7: Get the worst job over and done with first thing
Procrastination is very distracting. Get into the habit of tackling the task you dread the most first thing in the morning, so that your mind is free from niggling worry for the rest of the day.
#8: Pull to-dos out of emails and add them to your task list
Going back and forth from the original email to check up on what you need to do can waste valuable minutes, and increase the likelihood that you’ll overlook something critical. Make sure you immediately add tasks from emails to your time-management software.
#9: Use the 80:20 ratio
Eighty percent of your time should be spent ‘doing’, and no more than twenty percent should be spent ‘learning’. This is an especially important lesson for affiliates! We can be easily suckered into sales pitches from Internet marketing gurus, and we all know how long those sales pitches can be! If you’re going to give time to these sales pitches, or to reading forums and blogs and newsletters, make sure it fits in with your schedule for getting things done – set yourself a timed task and keep track of how much time you spend, then decide whether that time would have been better spent achieving goals on your task list.
#10. Use a cell phone with a calendar or personal organizer
When you’re busy it’s easy to forget important appointments. One way of solving this problem is to add appointments and meetings to your cell phone calendar and schedule the alarm to go off 15 minutes beforehand.
#11. Keep a separate to-do list for personal matters
If you suddenly realize there is something that you need to do that has nothing to do with work, write it down in a separate personal to-do list and come back to it outside of work time. Keeping your personal life organized ensures it doesn’t overflow into your business day.
#12. Delegate as much as you can
Don’t hoard tasks that your staff or other people are more than capable of carrying out for you. Some people find letting go of pet activities is tough at first, but it’s very necessary in order to free up more time.
Also, make sure that you have set times each day for appointments with staff and/or joint venture partners. This is critical if you want to avoid constant interruptions throughout the day.
So there are 12 tips for doubling productivity! It’s easy to downplay or put off organizing your business, but setting up efficient business practices is just as important as good SEO or pay per click strategies, so make sure that you take these seriously!