We are all busy people living in an increasingly distracting world. Your site is something you usually start in your free time while having a full time job and other family, friends and life commitments. It is good that many people see the opportunity to create sites and work on developing themselves, but it is sad to see the same people using the excuse of being busy to let their sites die shortly after they are launched. The key is to use your time wisely. If you don’t use your time wisely your output will suffer and you will have difficult time growing your audience. Optimizing your day depends on letting go of the unproductive tasks and time wasters. This infographic shows 8 things you can get rid of to become more productive.
To become productive I must pause the input as much as possible. I must get better at filtering the noise from the signal. This means that I must be more purposeful about the information I am consuming online. What is the intention with consuming a piece of content? What am I looking to get out of it? I have to learn to let go of my curiosity need. I don’t need to feed it all the time. I don’t need to be afraid that I will be missing out. Following news, politics, or sports can be largely irrelevant to my daily life. Consuming it wastes a lot of time, and thinking about it makes me lose focus from important tasks and then I need to spend time refocusing after consuming news. By not consuming it at all I will not be missing anything relevant in my life and will be freeing a lot of time and energy. If it is such an important news story one way or another the information will get to me.
Signal is the valuable part of the information, it’s the part I should listen to, the part I should note and learn from. Noise is just noise and there is too much of it online, all the random information that floats around on the web. More sites I bookmark, more feeds I subscribe to, more Twitter accounts I follow, more of this noise I get. More data (a high noise-to-signal ratio) also means more chance of overreaction to noise and more chance of mistaking the noise for signal. It is noise that I am supposed to forget, get rid of and ignore. It is useless for me and by removing it, filtering it and being more purposeful I can get more of the important signal to listen to.
So how do I remove the noise? It’s not only about getting better at curating the noise. It’s equally important to get on an information diet and ration the supply of new information. Remove some feeds, unsubscribe from some mailing lists and unfollow some Twitter users. I have to think about what do I get the most out of? What helps me the most to achieve the goals I have set for myself?
I need to focus on the output. Constantly looking for inspiration can actually become anti-inspiring, can get me stuck and make me unproductive. I have to keep reminding myself to get into the habit of putting whatever appeals to me in my reading into practice. Taking action produces the appetite for more action and I actually get to try out things and see if they work. I may read or hear something that gives me an idea but that is not enough unless I take some action accordingly and apply it to my projects. When I apply ideas to my work they truly do become inspiring. I actually turn ideas into reality.
Your productivity – 80/20 principle
Do things that are worth doing and let go off things that are not. The idea of letting go of your time wasters comes from the Pareto principle. 80% of the value you get will be from 20% of the things you do. Harnessing the power of the 80/20 principle will trigger an explosion in your productive capacity and will bring you closer to achieving your goals. It will allow you to have time for your full time job and for your family and other commitments. Above I listed some of the tasks that I consider time-wasters in my own work – they are my 80%. The idea is for you to figure out which of your tasks are in the 20% and then spend most of your time doing those tasks while limiting the rest. Look at the big picture. Concentrate on the things that produce fantastic results and stop wasting time on unproductive things that are irrelevant to your success.
Knowing the best uses of your energy and time is much more important than trying harder, working longer or complaining about not having time. Less is more as the saying goes. My 20% tasks are creating content and marketing. It can be as simple as that. There is a set of very important questions all bloggers should be asking themselves daily in order to identify the results of your efforts:
- How did I spend my day?
- Did I take any steps towards reaching my goals?
- Did I improve my chances today?
- Did I improve my site?
- Did I spread the word about it?
- Have I worked on increasing the readership and increasing the revenue?
It is clear that for a blogger to become successful good prioritization skills are a key. You need to have a talent to distinguish between what needs to be done and what doesn’t. You need to know the difference between make work and real work.
Limiting the environment around you
As you see the main theme is: Was I a producer or was I a consumer today? Did I do something today to get closer and reach my dreams or did I just spend another day dreaming and reading about other people and the way they lead their lives. These “producing” activities will for most people be the 20% of activities that bring 80% of results.
Everyone is too busy these days, it is a very popular thing to tell everyone around you in any case. Nobody wants to say I’m not busy or I am bored or I have too much free time on my hands. That is uncool. But if you really look deeper into how you actually spend your “busy” day you will certainly be able to find some free gaps of time where you are either doing some unproductive activities that you can stop at anytime or where you actually have free time to focus on more important tasks.
Many “busy” people spend their other 8 hours doing “important” tasks like watching, listening, reading about and discussing events that are not too relevant with their own lives or their own goals. These events can be things like the royal wedding, it can be the latest celebrity moves and scandals, it can be sports news and events and so much more. Spending time on current events like these will hardly get you anywhere in terms of your projects and your goals (unless you are actually covering the current events on your project).
Be careful not to spend too much time checking out your favorite websites or your Twitter stream instead of working on your own content. You do not get better by thinking or talking or reading about it. You get better by taking action and doing it. Don’t let your time be controlled by the environment and the events happening around you. Instead of watching and reading about these random events that have no influence on your life, you can take that time that you spend on them and put in the effort on things that will bring you close to achieving your goals.
Produce a new post that will help people out, that people will care about. Help people with their questions / problems. Reach out to people and connect to them. Show them why you are the best person to help them out with the problems they are facing. Take actions towards reaching your dreams. Do it today. Do it every day for a long period of time. Don’t be a consumer, be a producer.
To help you do this properly you do need to figure out what your goals and objectives are. This will help you identify the meaningful activities, it will bring some focus to you and will lead you to knowing what tasks and activities you should be focusing your time on. It will help you work smart and not hard.
Today is one of the productive days. Today I have decided to stop feeding my addiction to information and use my feelings behind it to produce a post that you are reading now. Here’s hoping to more time spent on the output and less time spent on the input. Here’s hoping to becoming a producer rather than a consumer of information. It is only this way that I will be able to get closer to my goals.
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