How to Get the Most Out of Your Work Day

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Small business owners and entrepreneurs wear many different hats. Often you are the sales manager, the marketing department, the CEO and the bookkeeper rolled up in one busy bee.

How do you stay on task? One of our biggest challenges in this day and age is to stay focused. There are so many distractions, especially when you work for yourself on the computer. The email notifications pop up, friends send instant messages, the phone rings, the kids come home from school or the cat is hungry.

Many successful Internet entrepreneurs say we need to start limiting the distractions and focus on finishing a particular task, instead of trying to multi-task. For the longest time we were told multitasking is key — but not any more. And research supports it.

4-hour Work Week
Tim Ferris, who wrote The 4-hour Work Week, says that our urge to constantly check email is an addiction. He also says that multitasking lowers your IQ more than smoking marijuana it’s actually been proven in a scientific study! Pretty scary!
The 4-Hour work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

I knew I needed to change from a buzzing bee to a focused, sharp internet entrepreneur. During my work day I never ever reached the end of my to-do list. Every day I was left with a sense of failure, because I didn’t get enough accomplished. When I spoke to other entrepreneurs, this seems to be a very common problem.

Obviously, there are several issues to look at. The first one is probably the list. What’s on the to-do list — and how important are those things? Many times I cram everything into my list, hoping that a task on the list will magically be finished, preferably by someone else or by itself. Wishful thinking, indeed.
Another question is how do we measure success in our work? We’ll return to this discussion later.

I started by paying more attention to my actual work habits. When I was working on a task, I constantly stopped to check email, answer the phone, or somehow managed to get off task. Especially when it is a task I hated doing such as bookkeeping. I’d gladly get up from my desk to feed a hungry cat, and trust me, in our house we have three, so there is always a hungry cat to feed. And while I was in the kitchen, I needed to unload the dishwasher or mop the floor. This was definitely something I can improve.

I also watched one of Eben Pagan’s videos where he talked about time management and how to divide the work day in segments and how to limit distractions. According to Eben, you should work in two-hour blocks throughout the day. It is a focused burst of work during two hours when you turn off your email notifier, cell phone and any other distraction and just concentrate on the task at hand. Sounds easy, but it does require focused attention.

This idea follows the Simpleology formula pretty well. Simpleology is Mark Joyner’s system for how to keep yourself moving towards your goals. You set your long-term and short- term goals, and plan your day according to those. You can also choose to use a timer to keep yourself on task. You work for 50 minutes and then take a five minute break. Simpleology is an online based tool and Simpleology 101 is free. So check it out for yourself if you’re interested at  www.simpleology.com

I don’t remember where I read about changing your mindset. It was a point that really hit home with me. You need to start thinking as a business owner and entrepreneur instead of a writer, programmer, graphic designer — or whatever your other job was. As an employee you can think as a graphic designer and concentrate on graphic design, but when you start your own business, you have to change how you think. No longer can you concentrate on just design; instead you need to wear all the other hats for your business as well. Sometimes those hats are more important than the old one you’re really comfortable wearing. Without sales or clients, there’s never any business going on. You are the one who is responsible for bringing in the clients to your business. For a lot of entrepreneurs this is a big change.

Eben Pagan says that a lot of small business owners have a hard time focusing and knowing what needs to get done. We prefer to wear our comfortable old hat — the one that fits well and we look so good in. So the video producer spends all his or her time working on video production, and not enough time on marketing and sales for example.

I know that this was true for my business. I love working on the content creation part — writing, graphic design, video production and I don’t work as much on the other parts of my business.

Eben suggests that we spend;
Customers – 40 % of our time. Getting new customers and affiliates, generate traffic getting, build relationships

Conversion – 20% of our time. All activities after the visitors come to your website

Content – 10% of our time. Writing articles, press releases, blog posts, creating videos, products

Management – 30% of time. Manage your time, people and business.

I spent more then 50% of the day in content creation and that is not the way to increase sales or expand your business. All this made me realize that it was time for me to change my mindset and start thinking as a business owner and not a content producer.

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