How effective are you at managing your time well? I'll be the first to admit that I am pretty bad at it, but I've gotten a lot better since I started my first website. I've learned how important it is to manage my time so I can be more productive. Time management was definitely the biggest roadblock to my success.
In this lesson, we'll be looking at three steps I took to make myself much better at managing my time and not wasting it on unproductive tasks or simply getting distracted. Then I'll give you a guideline as to where you should be spending your time as you begin your first online business.
Before we get too far, there are two big problems I ran into when it came to time management.
Problem 1: I would do anything and everything EXCEPT write content
I'd get stuck on one thing which would cause me to not really make any overall progress. I'd end up spending a week doing nothing but watching tutorials or reading about one topic. Or I'd spend an entire day perfecting the look of my website. Or I'd spend too much time researching keywords. Basically, it all came down to me finding other things to do that made me feel productive instead of actually being productive and writing and publishing new content.
Problem 2: I would get super distracted
I would also find myself getting very distracted. I would end up on Facebook every 15 minutes because I needed a “well-deserved” break from the ten minutes of writing content I just completed. Or I'd end up playing 5 levels of Candy Crush or watching an episode or two of my favorite series on Netflix. At times, it seemed like I was spending more time on these distractions than actually being productive and building my website.
Between these two problems, I wasn't making very much progress on my website. Especially since my time was already limited due to working a full-time job and having other responsibilities.
3 Steps To Being More Productive
Here are three steps I took to counteract my problems and transform my productivity during my work times.
Step 1: Set Specific Goals
I started creating goals for each week and month for what I wanted to get done during that time. I also put them out there for everyone to see in my Income Reports and Updates to keep myself accountable. These goals always gave me something to look back on and judge whether or not I was moving in the right direction with what I was spending my time on. If my goal was to publish five new product reviews by the end of the month, why was I spending hours tweaking my logo?
Step 2: Time Limits and “Distraction” Rewards
I began to set time limits for certain activities and used “distractions” as rewards for being productive during the previously set time. For example, I would say: “I'm going to work on this blog post for one hour. After that hour, I'm going to play one level of Candy Crush then work for another hour.” Basically, I gave myself dieting's equivalent of cheat days.
Step 3: Began tracking my time
The final step I took was to actually keep track of my time using a time tracking product called Toggl. Using this resource helped me in the following ways:
- It allowed me to look back and see how I was spending my time. What was taking longer than it should have been? What was I not spending time on but should be?
- It kept me accountable to myself and the goals I had set. I didn't want to waste time and miss my goals.
- It allowed me to calculate my “hourly rate”; how much I was making per hour of working. Basically, I'd look at how much money I made during the month and divide that by how many hours I worked. This showed me how valuable my time actually was. If I put in x amount of hours, I'll be making x amount of money. Having a solid value to my time was a huge motivator (and still is). This also comes in handy when people want me to do things for them because I know how valuable my time is and what I can charge people to make it worth my time. (Obviously, this was only possible after my website had started earning money.)
Honestly, using Toggl to track my time has probably been the most effective step I took in making myself more productive and being a better steward of my time.
How You Should Spend Your Time
For me, it's always a struggle to simply get enough hours to work on my business as it is, so it's very important that I spend those hours doing what needs to be done; otherwise, I will end up wasting those valuable hours.
Before we get into specifics, we must understand the six primary activities building a website/online business consists of.
- Writing New Content: anything you are writing for your site: blog posts, tutorials, product reviews, emails, courses, creating your own products, etc.
- Education/Learning/Training: anything you are doing to increase your knowledge and understanding of the internet marketing business; whether it's watching/reading training tutorials at Wealthy Affiliate University, learning new skills, or learning a new sales technique.
- Social Media: anything you are doing on social media to promote your business and build your brand. Some popular platforms for doing this are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Etc.
- Graphic Design/Appearance: anything you are doing to change the physical appearance of your website. This could be changing or editing your theme, creating new graphics, designing a new logo, editing images, etc.
- Networking: any form of building your network; whether through chatting in the live chat at Wealthy Affiliate, or reading and commenting on other blogs in your niche.
- Research: any sort of research you need to do in order to better inform your content
There are not any set-in-stone standards for what you should be spending your time on, but from my experience and observing countless other beginners, these are my suggestions on where you should be spending your time.
First Few Weeks
- Education/Learning/Training 50%
- Content 25%
- Networking 10%
- Social Media 5%
- Graphic Design/Appearance 5%
- Research 5%
When you are first starting out you will have the initial learning curve of getting to know how everything works. Because of this, you'll probably have to spend a good portion of your time educating yourself and learning all of the new stuff. This should take priority so you have a firm foundation as you move on.
After First Few Weeks
- Content 70%
- Education/Learning/Training 5-10%
- Networking 5-10%
- Social Media 5-10%
- Graphic Design/Appearance 5%
- Research 5%
After you get past the initial learning curve, you should begin spending a majority of your time working on creating new content. Content is how you build a business and attract new customers. It may be more fun and exciting to do all of the other things, but, for the most part, they're not what is going to be making you money. Once you understand the fundamentals, it comes down to content, content, content!
Again, these percentages are guidelines based on my experiences and observations of other beginners. You can tweak them to what best fits you and your working style and niche. However, in 99% of cases, I'm fairly sure you'll want to be spending most of your time writing new content!
- Share your biggest distractions and some steps you can take to minimize these distractions in this lesson's discussion.
- Start setting specific monthly and weekly goals of what you want to accomplish. Make them tangible with specific numbers. (See Lesson 2: Setting Goals For Success)
- Sign up for Toggl and start logging your time for everything you do, it's free! After two weeks look at where you spend your time. Does it come close to my suggested focus/ratios?
I look forward to hearing about your distractions, and how to overcome them in the discussion!
Dustin “Kirby” Garness