Imagine being able to get done in a day what would ordinarily take you a week, how freaking amazing would that be?
Imagine your 10-year plan coming to fruition in half the time, wouldn’t that be life-changing?
As I get older and transition into my late 20’s, I’ve started to appreciate the nature of life.
The time we have is not only fleeting but unpredictable. There’s no way of knowing how long we have until we are reunited with our maker.
So in the time that we have, shouldn’t we try our best to accomplish as much as we can while we still can!
Maybe as you lay in bed, snacking on Doritos and binge-watching Youtube videos or the latest reactions to a trailer, you don’t really take into account that today might be the last day that you’re alive.
Do you really want your last day to be one that you spent on Youtube or on Facebook?
I surely don’t.
Something that has given me peace within my heart is the belief that every one of use has been put on this planet for a purpose. We have been given the ability to do something, even if it’s just one thing, extraordinarily.
Why waste that opportunity when you can make something of yourself?
Something that I have been dreaming of accomplishing is using the internet to help people achieve their dreams in some way or the other.
Which is why I’m writing this article just a little past midnight.
Just maybe, you’ll read something in this article and it will make a lightbulb turn on in your head. And when that happens, you go on to accomplish something that benefits your life in an amazing way.
That, to me, will be the best use of my time.
Making a small but significant impact on your life.
Even though this article is targeting people who work online, the basic tenets of productivity remain the same and can be applied to anyone and everyone.
1. PRIORITIZE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT TASKS OVER EMAILS AND SOCIAL NETWORKS
Do what you need to do, not just what you feel like doing.
If you have an essay to write, don’t start by drawing images or looking for diagrams or illustrations, start by making notes and writing your essay.
When you are trying to build a blog, your priority lies with creating content and marketing.
Emails and social networking are supplementary in nature. They ought to be looked at after you’ve done what is essential.
Okay, so, when you wake up in the morning, make a decision on what activity is most important or essential to you succeeding as an entrepreneur online.
Be honest with yourself, even if you don’t want to. When you figure out the answer, start with that task, irrespective of how difficult it is.
Doing this allows you to structure your day in such a manner that you actually fit in chunks of time to do what you want without falling behind on your goals.
Because you took care of business first thing in the morning.
2. SET A TIME FOR EACH ONLINE ACTIVITY AND STICK WITH IT
As you progress in any career or goal, the demands and deadlines start to pile up on you.
After a few months, it’s extremely difficult to keep track of time.
The problem with this is that it becomes fairly easy to spend far too much time on non-essential tasks. You may need as much time as you can get to pursue more crucial goals.
I tend to fire up my phone, open up the stopwatch, set a timer for 1 hour and at the end of that hour, I’ll stop what I’m doing and move onto the next task if need be.
In an ideal world, having to focus on just one task in a day would be easy and perfect.
But, we don’t live in an ideal world so the best thing you can do for yourself is to track your progress and set a time for each activity.
3. INSTALL AN EXTENSION THAT BLOCKS ALL ENTERTAINMENT AND NEWS BASED SITES DURING WORK HOURS
I was just thinking about this the other day but content creators are exceptional at luring people to their work.
Hop onto youtube and you’ll find a ton of clickbait titles with a relatively good amount of views.
They know that grabbing someone’s attention isn’t easy so they use outlandish marketing skills to grab your attention.
Essentially, us content creators, at times, are trying to steal your attention. We’re making it harder for you to stay focused when you use the internet.
My advice to anyone who has a problem with Youtube, Reddit and Facebook is to install an extension into your browser that blocks you from accessing any of these sites during work hours.
If you rely solely on self-discipline, you’re making life harder for yourself.
Give yourself an added advantage by using such an app or extension. Take the word of a previous Youtube addict. It works!
4. PLAN YOUR TO-DO LIST THE NIGHT BEFORE
Procrastination sets in when you have to think about what you need to do vs what you want to do.
To eliminate this issue, spend 15 minutes before you sleep the night before to plan your to-do list for the following day.
If you prefer an elaborate plan, plot all your tasks on paper with an allocated time slow.
If you’re like me, just list your top 3 tasks for the day in order of importance and start at the very top.
Keep this to-do list on a place that is visible at all times. You can download an app on your phone that not only shows but reminds you of your to-do lists for the day.
5. STEP AWAY FROM YOUR SCREEN EVERY 30 MINS TO AVOID BURNOUT
Staring into a screen all day is a recipe for disaster.
I’ve done this for the last decade and I can assure you that by the early afternoon, fatigue, exhaustion and headaches start to creep up on me.
You’re not going to work efficiently or productively under these circumstances.
To combat this issue, I utilize the Pomodoro technique and step away from my computer every 30 minutes.
For a full 5 minutes, I either shut my eyes and meditate, take a walk outside and get some exercise or just stand and stretch.
This routine has completely fixed the problem and I’m able to work for a longer duration without actually getting burned out.
6. OUTSOURCE MUNDANE TASKS TO VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS
There comes a point in any business, especially one that begins to grow, when the tasks become too much for you to handle alone.
You’ll have to choose between something mundane like answering emails or closing a big deal.
And the sad part is that you won’t have the time for both and yet you need to address both tasks.
At this point, I encourage you to seek out virtual assistants.
They’re not only reasonable but if you connect with the right person, they can be extremely reliable and an asset to your business.
Make a list of all the tasks you don’t personally need to do and assign them to a competent VA.
Now that you have less work on your hands, you can give a 110% to the activities that will propel you further into success.
7. AVOID ANALYTICS OF ANY SORTS DURING WORK HOURS
When it comes to blogging or publishing books, I would always find myself obsessing over the metrics.
First thing in the morning, I’d check my analytics account. While I’m working, I’d glance at it all day long.
I’d do an analysis of all the keywords I’m ranking for and how they’ve changed over the last 24 hours.
This habit of constantly checking for results is a means of getting instant gratification.
It doesn’t make you any more successful. If anything, it distracts you from getting work done.
This habit will give you a false sense of accomplishment when in reality, you ought to be seeking out the feeling of accomplishment after every task that you have successfully completed.
I would advise anyone who works online to avoid checking your analytics until it becomes necessary for research or growth purposes.
8. SCHEDULE CONTENT AND SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS IN BULK
While we’re on the topic of analytics, in a similar way, social media has the same effect on us.
We take in unnecessary information and get a rush of dopamine from the content we find on these sites.
It’s not worth it.
You’re only setting yourself up for failure and depression (YES, depression).
When looking at everyone posting sugar-coated images of their life and success, it serves as nothing but demotivation and disappointment to those who are not where they want to be.
It’s an unfortunate side effect of spending too much time on social networking sites.
You would be better off limiting your social networking to a set time and day.
Don’t be mistaken, I am not blind to the benefits of it. I genuinely do understand the importance and value of social networking sites.
If you want to build a popular online business or persona, social networking is essential.
But, to avoid being distracted or overwhelmed by it, you can invest in an application/service that allows you to schedule all your social media content for the week in one sitting.
This will keep you present in the eyes of people without you having to spend a ton of time every day on these sites.
9. ADOPT A MINIMALISTIC WORKSPACE
My mother always told me during my high school years that the state of my room was a reflection of the state of my mind.
No truer words have ever been spoken.
Whenever I find myself amidst a chaotic environment, my work suffers.
The cleaner and more optimized my work environment is, the better I perform.
I think there’s an argument that can be made for productivity and minimalism going hand in hand.
When you have fewer options at your disposal, you are more likely to make a decision than if you are bombarded with choices.
So, give yourself fewer reasons to be distracted and bothered by a cluttered environment.
Opt for a streamlined work desk.
Keep your essential tools at arms reach.
On my desk, it went from looking like a pawn shop to a minimalistic haven built for writing and designing.
I have a lamp, one cactus, my laptop, a stationary holder and a notepad.
Everything else is packed and filed inside drawers that can easily be accessed when needed.
This simple change has made a difference in not just my work but my overall morale.
I look forward to sitting at my work desk because it’s like a clean, optimized and minimalistic sanctuary for me.
10. LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION YOU CONSUME
There’s this concept known as information overload wherein you consume or provide too much information that you or the other person ends up overwhelmed and burned out.
At such a point, they can no longer absorb any more information and give up.
As a content creator or someone who works online often, this is something you can be at risk for.
My advice to you is to limit the amount of time you spend consuming media. This can be anything from reading Facebook updates, Reddit forums and/or Youtube comments.
If you’re spending an hour a day taking in information, be willing to spend another hour to extract that information and create some space in your mind.
11. ONLY CONSUME HIGH-QUALITY INFORMATION
And while you’re busy limiting the amount the information you consume, let the information you choose to consume be of such a nature that it helps you grow.
Nowadays, everyone has the ability to let their thoughts and opinions be heard.
But, being able to do so doesn’t mean it’s beneficial to the rest of us.
When someone who has a pessimistic and demotivating opinion, I cannot see any value in that opinion being consumed by people who don’t and shouldn’t need it.
Which is why I urge you to have a filtration system.
Seek out information from people with good intentions, good knowledge and good vibes.
You wouldn’t fuel a petrol vehicle with diesel? So, why fuel your brain with the wrong type of information from the wrong kind of people?
12. AVOID READING TOO MANY INCOME AND PROGRESS REPORTS
If you need some motivation to get started or to push through a rough patch, then, by all means, dig up some fantastic income and progress reports.
Use them as a means of taking action.
However, if you find yourself spending hours reading up other peoples accounts of success and growth without taking any action, it’s time to STOP.
Look, our brains are complicated as hell.
It can turn something motivating and good into something that inhibits you from success and productivity.
You have to be careful when consuming anything that gives you a dopamine rush without any valid reason for it.
It’s nice to feel good about other people earning a good income or succeeding at their goals but it should be even better when you are doing the exact same thing.
Don’t become someone who lives vicariously through another. You are capable of being just as successful.
Embrace that capability and take action.
13. WORK LIKE A MACHINE – FOCUS ON PROGRESS OVER PRODUCTIVITY
This may seem counterintuitive but from my own experience, I’ve noticed that I achieve far more when I focus on my progress rather than how productive I am.
Doing 10 small tasks can give me a feeling of productivity but those tasks may amount to nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Personally, being productive means taking a solid and definitive step forward in respect of your top goals.
If my goal is to write an article of 2000 words, what indicates whether I’m being productive or not is my word count.
Sure, research, note-making and brainstorming ideas are important but they are not the essential factor in whether or not I am being productive at writing 2000 words.
So, isolate the actions that are responsible for progress and focus on them.
Let that be the metric to weigh how productive you are on a day to day basis.
14. HAVE FUN
At the end of the day, you gotta enjoy what you do.
I don’t see any point in working so hard if you don’t like or have fun in life.
Trust me, I understand having to hustle and work in a job you don’t love to survive but there’s always something in your life to find passion in, especially if it’s to further your dreams.
Let that enjoyment fuel you and you’ll be productive!
15. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT
Sometimes, you can be doing everything right and still not be productive. Why? Because there’s a voice in your head whispering scary thoughts of doubt and failure.
The most productive people are those who are able to trust their gut and be decisive.
When you believe in what you’re about to do, it’s much easier to stay committed and focused.
So, I urge you, when faced with doubt and insecurity, listen to your gut rather than those limiting thoughts.
Whether they’re coming from others or from your own insecurities, listen to your gut.
Rarely will it ever let you down!
WHAT ARE YOUR SECRETS TO PRODUCTIVITY?
I hope that you found the advice in this article to be of some value to you and I would be extremely grateful if you share some of your productivity tips or secrets with me.
Stay focused on your goals and put in the work to be the best.
You can do it! Wait, WE CAN DO IT!