The following is a guest post by Glen Allsopp:
I’ve been serious about making money online now for the past three years. For the three years before that, I’m pretty sure I spent more time reading about ideas to make money, rather than actually doing anything with those ideas. Something I’m sure quite a few people can relate to.
Unsurprisingly, as soon as I did start taking action and decided to focus on just one project until it was successful, I started to make a good income online. Based on this, I would go so far as to say that most people aren’t making money online not because they’re lacking an idea, but because they’re lacking action.
Some of these same people can spend over 12 hours per day on the internet, so what’s going wrong?
I’ve tried a number of different productivity and procrastination cure methods, all working with varying degrees of success. The following advice shares some of the best strategies that have worked for me, which should help you use your time effectively.
Work Out Regularly
If you’re thinking, "Did he really just say that?" then bear with me. I had always noticed that on days I went to the gym, it just seemed so much easier to concentrate on my work and get more done. After seeing this phenomenon happen all too often, I decided to do some research into it to see if I was alone. Sure enough, there was some scientific evidence relating to what I had found.
"Researchers at England’s Leeds Metropolitan University found that on days when men worked out, they did eight hours of office work in what would normally take them almost 9 and a half hours on a non-workout day."
So not only will you get the benefit of feeling healthier and looking better, but exercising can also help you to get a lot more done.
Clear Your Inbox
Our email accounts are probably one of the biggest sources of distraction out there. At times we are a slave to our inboxes. Often they’re the first thing we check in the morning, and the last thing we check before we sign off at night. Spending so much time on emails can also bring your mood down quite a lot, especially when they’re coming in faster than you can process them.
To truly tidy up your inbox and save you some time, here are a few tips:
- Only leave emails on your home inbox screen that need to be replied to. If you’ve responded to it, then archive it.
- Unsubscribe from any emailing list that you don’t read. Just the few seconds it takes to delete their emails can quickly add up, so make sure you don’t have to do it again.
- Create reply templates. Often I’ll receive a lot of emails with the same question, so I use templates in Gmail that I can insert with just two clicks.
- Feel free to ignore some emails. Your time is valuable. I have to ignore some emails simply because I receive too many, but justify it by realising that I can write a blog post which helps 14,000 people, or reply to an email which helps one.
Put these steps into action, and you no longer have to dread opening your emails each day.
Give Yourself a Reality Check
One of the biggest things that spurred me into positive action was seeing how unproductive I was really being. Unless you personally find that you’re not being as effective as you could be with your time, it’s unlikely that you’ll take any advice from this post to heart.
The best way to give yourself a reality check is to just record all of the activities you get up to today, or the things you’ve already done (if your day is ending). Try to gauge how much time you spend on work related and non-work related tasks while at your computer.
Don’t do it tomorrow, because knowing that you are "watching" yourself will spur you into productivity. This isn’t a bad thing, but you need to see where you’re going wrong for it to have a long lasting effect.
Control Then Prioritise
If you don’t think you can use will power to stop yourself from getting things done, then LeechBlock and Self Control may be for you. Leechblock is a browser plugin for Firefox (there are alternatives for Chrome) that allows you to block certain websites at certain times of day. I personally use it for forums and news sites, where I can spend hours of my time without even realising it.
Self Control is a program for Mac which allows you to block websites for a set period of time. The beauty of the software is that you can’t actually turn it off. Well you can, but that’s a secret I’m not going to share with you ;).
Now we’ve got that out of the way, take 10 minutes to list all of the tasks you know you need to finish. It may be registering a domain, tweaking your WordPress theme, writing a blog post or whatever else you have to deal with.
With the remaining list, simply give your task a number which represents their priority. Some will be obvious, like registering a domain before you can install WordPress, while others will come down to you simply having to make a decision. Try to decide which task is the most important to get out of the way.
If you put all of these steps into action, I have no doubt that you can start making a lot more money. I should know…
Glen Allsopp writes for ViperChill on the topic of Viral Marketing.