I know many successful internet marketers who make more money than a Fortune 500 executives. I have also come across many wannabees rookies who never make enough to get their first Adsense check. A big difference between the two groups of people is “time suck”.
Productive people are great at avoiding time sucks. Those activities and situations that drain time and energy without returning any significant benefit. Here are some common time sucks to avoid.
Twitter – Yes, you can be profitable on twitter but most people that use twitter do it for personal enjoyment and this can be a big time suck. Lets say you twitter once an hour. Each time you twitter you spend 2 minutes reading the your friends tweets, then you take 1 minute to think of something to write, then you take 2 minutes to write your message and get it to fit 140 characters. That is 5 minutes a twitter and almost a full hour every day. What are you getting in return for that full hour? A few laughs and some friendships? In that one hour you could have written an great article or emailed 15 link requests or used Twitter to turn a profit by tweeting links to intersting content on your website.
Consulting Proposals – At what point should you provide your prospect a detailed proposal? If you don’t submit a proposal you can’t be awarded the job. But if you take the time to prepare a proposal for everyone you will never have time to properly service your key prospects. I find it helpful to first ask for a timeframe, requested goals and size of their budget before I take the time to create a proposal. If someone thinks that a #1 ranking is only worth $100 and they want it done yesterday then it would probably be smart to kindly decline to submit a proposal. By reducing the number of proposals you create, you just might actually end up with more business by being able to better create and improve the proposals you do submit to the more likely prospects.
Email Everywhere – We all struggle to keep up with our email since email can be critical to keeping up open communication lines. It can also be a time suck that leads you down that rabbit hole of unproductivity. Have you ever traded jokes back and forth with emails. Before you know it you have exchanged 20 emails in 30 minutes of time. That 30 minutes could probably have been used on something more profitable. Ever have a stranger email you asking a question? I love being nice and helping people but often those questions can take over 30 minutes to research, respond and find the links to the material the stranger could have found if they were good at using Google. I have learned to never underestimate the amount of “suck” email can be. I am not even going to mention the time it takes to clean out the inbox with the newsletters and other automated emails you get because you have never taken the time to unsubscribe or turn them off.
There are many time sucks. I would recommend keeping a timer on your desk and tracking how you spend every minute of your day. You will certainly find some activities that suck up your time and are not directly driving you profit. I am not advocating that you cut them all out. There are some activities that can be a big indirect help and mental health boost. You should be aware of where your time goes so you can better maximize it.
Carpe Diem aka get your ass in gear