Managing your energy and your time will be critical to your long term success, and personal enjoyment of your online business.
Although I’m by no means an expert in time and energy management, I have learned a few techniques over the years that have allowed me to become highly effective and efficient in my business and personal life.
Before I dig deep into this, I’d like to share a little background about the general topic of focus, time management, goal setting, and all the frustrations that occur as a result of those things going wrong.
I personally believe that most focus issues are a result of a lack of clarity, not because you physically can’t focus. I believe that focus issues are primarily the result of not knowing what you should be doing next.
For example, if you start the day to work, and you aren’t sure what you need to do next to grow your coaching business, what do you do? If you are like most people, you probably open up your email to see if there is anything urgent that needs to be taken care of. And in addition to the urgent emails, you also read and answer any others that might have come in since yesterday.
An hour later, you begin to look for some direction on something in your business. In the process of looking, you find a web site that promises that if you buy their training program on a brand new source of traffic, you will never have to find prospects again. You buy it, download it, and study it for a few hours. You decide that tomorrow you will start actually driving the traffic.
Then you check your email, Facebook account, LinkedIn account, and any other accounts you feel you need to keep up with each day.
Now it is afternoon, so you are feeling tired.
But you know you should be working, so you decide to work on your site a little - maybe write an article.
Then you check email one last time before you close out the day.
So...what have you accomplished today towards building your business?
If...and this is a big if...the brand new perfect traffic source is a winner, you now know how to drive traffic from a new source. And you have written one article. In 8 hours. Frankly, you would have accomplished just as much by reading and replying to the urgent emails (15 minutes) and written the one article (15 minutes) and taken the day off. In 30 minutes you would have accomplished as much as you have all day.
Of course, tomorrow comes and you are beginning to see how your new perfect traffic source isn’t going to be all it is cracked up to be. Especially after you spend an hour trying to get things set up and you realize it isn’t as easy as it looked on the sales page.
Tomorrow comes and goes, and once again, you’ve likely gotten 30 minutes or so of real accomplishments out of your day.
Does that sound familiar?
I’ve been there, and I’ve had multiple clients who have lived a daily work life just like that.
Contrast that to this:
You get up in the morning, you have scheduled 2 hours of writing in your new book, then a 30 minute break.
Then 2 hours of writing for your website, blog posts, articles, etc. Then a 30 minute break.
Then in the afternoon, you spend 1 1/2 hours recording a new product you are going to release, then answer emails for 30 minutes. Then you take a 30 minute break.
Then for your last hour of the day, you outline a new lesson in your coaching program.
Same amount of time, but totally different results.
In fact, after a week of this, you have written 10 hours in your new book, done 10 hours of writing for your website, things like blog posts, articles, etc. And you have recorded 7 1/2 hours towards a new info product (if it’s a 10 hour product - you are nearly done). And assuming the rest of the week you create your coaching lesson from the outline you created the first day, you have completed a new coaching lesson.
Let’s take this out one year.
Let’s assume 10 months of 4 weeks (assuming 2 months of vacation) - so you have 40 weeks.
You would have 400 hours of writing in your new book ( at 2000 words an hour - that’s 800000 words - enough for 10 80,000 word books (200+ pages) That’s 10 200+ page books in one year!
You would have 400 hours of articles and blog posts for your site and content network.
Assuming you write 2 articles per hour - that’s 800 articles. How much exposure is 800 articles online?
You have recorded 300 hours of info-products - at 10 hours each, that is 30 products of 10 hours each. How many of your competitors have 30 products?
And if you only created one lesson per week in your coaching program, you would have 40 lessons after one year.
How would it feel to be that productive?
And it’s not a fairy tale, that’s real life...you CAN be that productive!
In the next few pages, I am going to show you how.
By the way - I really do believe, deep down inside, that the key difference between these two sample days is that one has a daily plan of exactly what to do to accomplish the goals, and the other does not.
You see, once you have a clear plan based on clear goals, it is easy to simply do the steps necessary to implement the plan. You are no longer as easily distracted, simply because you know what you need to do... exactly.
You see, it’s one thing to know what you SHOULD do...but if you don’t have an exact plan for what needs to happen each day, then you will likely get stuck on non-productive tasks. Not because you have lousy self-discipline, but simply because you don’t have a plan.
So now that I’ve shared with you just a bit of an example of how your daily productivity can be so much higher if you have a plan, I’ll show you how to make that happen.
First, before you can create a plan, you must have a goals (or goals).
Because if you have no goals, then you plan will be....without purpose. And if your plan is without purpose...it’s not much of a plan.
So the first thing you need to do is determine what your goals are.
Now, this is not a book about goals and goal setting. If you know what your goals are, great. If not, I suggest you figure out what you want to accomplish in the next year, 5 years, 10 years, and then create goals. At the private web page, I have listed a few books that can help you clarify your goals.
For the purpose of the following example, I am going to assume a one year goal of creating a profitable coaching business, one that has products, a coaching program, and an automated email campaign.
Once you have a set of goals, you can chunk those goals down into step that need to occur in order to achieve those goals.
For example, let’s imagine a 10 year goal of some sort. What would need to happen in each of the 10 years in order for that goal to happen? Once you know what needs to happen each year in order for that result to occur, determine what needs to happen each month. Then determine what needs to happen each week in order to achieve your monthly goals. Then determine what needs to happen each day to reach your weekly goals.
When you are finished, you will see that you have daily goals, which when accomplished each day, lead to the accomplishment of the weekly goals, which by design lead to the accomplishment of the weekly goals, and so on...if you accomplish the weekly goals, the monthly goals are met, the yearly goals are met, the decade - goals are met.
Obviously, you won’t be able to drill down to a daily basis 10 years out. You might create a yearly plan, with each month mapped out. Then at the beginning of each month you can evaluate your progress, and determine weekly goals. Then at the beginning of each week, you determine your daily goals.
Here’s an example:
Let’s assume a 3 year plan to create a coaching business that has 3 coaching programs, 10 info-products, 3 100 - email campaigns, and a complete marketing system that brings in regular leads to fuel your business.
If that is your 3 year plan, what would you need to do each year?
Create 1 coaching program, create 3.3 (let’s call it 4) info products, write 100 emails, and implement your marketing plan.
So what would you need to do each month?
Assuming that you create one product or coaching program at a time, you have 5 total programs to create (1 coaching program and 4 info products), so you could create 1 every 2 months. Assuming 10 working months, you would need to write 10 emails per month. And of course implement your marketing plan.
So what would you need to do each week?
In order to create 1/2 a program per month, you would need to create about 1/8 of a program each week. Let’s imagine that your average program is 16 hours long, then each week you could record 2 hours of your new program. And with 10 emails to write all month, each week would require the writing of 2.5 emails. And your marketing.
So we have 2 hours of product creation, 2.5 emails to write, and marketing. What if you were to spend 10 hours per week on marketing? And maybe 4 more on customer service and delegation?
This would be about 18 hours per week of scheduled work, which in 3 years would result in a coaching business that has 3 coaching programs, 10 info-products, 3 100 - email campaigns, and a complete marketing system that brings in regular leads to fuel your business.
Obviously I’ve been vague on the marketing because there are so many different ways you can choose to bring in traffic and prospects. But once you know how you are doing it, you can simply break it out the same way. For example, write 10 articles per week, or buy x amount of advertising per week, or so x amount of SEO per week, etc.
But the point of this is to show how simple it really is to accomplish a lot if you start with your yearly goals, and break them down into monthly, weekly, and finally, daily goals.
So let me ask you this...would it be easier for you to remain focused each day if you had a plan like this? If each day when you woke up you had an exact plan for what needed to be done today to accomplish your goals? Of course it would be easier. In fact, my guess is that all of the lack of focus and motivation you may have today, will evaporate once you have created your yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goal sheets.
And because using this system will get you great results, you won’t want to go back to the old way. You will see the results you are getting very quickly, and that will keep you motivated to stay on track.
Now the dangerous thing that happens at a time like this is that all of this sounds good - but if you don’t implement it, in a few days or weeks, you are once again looking for another way to stay motivated and excited.
Although I have just shared with you the exact system I personally use to be very productive, I’d like to share a few more thoughts that have been immensely helpful to me in the past:
Once you have a solid plan of exactly what you want to accomplish in a certain time period, you simply work on each item each day. For example, if you have 4 goals, you simply do some work on each goal each day. When you are finished, quit for the day.
Another way to accomplish these goals, if you don’t want to micromanage your day by specifying 2 hours on one task, 2 hours on another, etc., is to simply work on one thing on your list (of your yearly or monthly goals) until you are finished or are tired for the day. Then work on something else on your list until you are finished or tired for the day. As long as you can remained disciplined to not fall back into the old trap of email, social media, and other time wasters, this method can work well.
Still another twist on this method is choosing each day to do one thing that is most important, and to do it first in the morning. That way no matter how distracted you become during the day, you know that you have had a productive day. And over time, as you focus on completing one productive thing each day, you will find that you are getting a lot more done each week, and you will feel better about the time you are working.
You can also choose to start with the most important project, work until you are tired of that project, then move to the next most important project, and so on through the day.
Hopefully by now you are seeing enough ideas that you can see how you can implement some of these to help you become more productive!
Here’s another idea - keep a time log.
For 1-5 days, simply write down what you do each day, in 15 minute blocks. This should be done as you are working, every 15 minutes, so that you will have an accurate representation of what you actually worked on that day. Many times when someone does this assignment, they are amazed at how much time they spend on things that don’t really matter, and how little time they spend on things that are important. There is a saying, not sure who said it first: “If you work without a plan, you might be busy, but you won’t accomplish anything worthwhile” You’ve probably had days when you were really busy, and yet didn’t get anything done, and others where you hardly worked at all and were highly productive. You want to get to where you are working less and being more productive!
If you have goals but you don’t know what to do to implement them, get instruction. Would you rather spend 2 years on trial and error trying to figure something out on your own, or invest in training that will teach you the same thing in 2 weeks?
If you can’t clearly state the steps that you need to follow to accomplish your goals, you probably don’t have enough information to implement your plan, and you won’t accomplish your goals. So be willing to buy instruction to teach you how to do the steps necessary to achieve your goals. And while we are on the topic - buy instruction and training from someone who is an expert at what you are trying to learn. Don’t try to skimp on price just to get it from someone who is just starting out, just because they charge less.
This goes back to the idea of the value of your time. Would you rather invest twice as much but learn it twice as fast? You should - because your time is valuable. Not only is your time valuable in terms of what you charge for it, but your time is valuable from the perspective that the time you are spending learning something slowly when you could have paid a little more but learned it right and fast is time you could be spending on something else - whether that is family, vacation, a hobby, or something else in your business. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to investing in instruction!
Follow the instructions. You have just invested real money to buy training someone spent possibly hundreds of hours of time to learn, compile, and organize into a set of steps they have found works well. You aren’t going to be able to figure out a better way to learn their material until after you have learned it. And skipping parts because you don’t think you need them will ultimately make the instruction process take longer, because in the future lessons or instructions, you may be missing something important. The biggest single reason I see that people who buy instruction and do the work but don’t get results is that they try to find a better way to do it than the person who created it has suggested. So my advice is this: if you trust the expert, do it their way. If you don’t trust the expert, find a different expert you trust and do it their way!