Let's face it. We all want more time.
More time to be with our friends. More time to be with our partner. More time to work on our niche sites.
I'm not kidding about that either.
Getting your work done quicker is something you're going to have to work on constantly.
I'm in no way an expert in productivity, but I have tried my fair share of techniques around the subject and everyday I'm trying to keep things interesting for myself. To go along with Dom's last post on his favorite productivity tools, I thought I would go ahead and share a few of my own tips.
I think many of you might be working in the standard work setting with an office and a few people surrounding you.
But there are a few of you that work purely remote. With likely no one around you that you work with. In any case, both people with those distinct work settings are going to benefit from this article.
It can be difficult to set aside time to build something after an exhausting day on the job. Even though it's something we enjoy. It's hard work either way.
I want to share with you 10 tips that will help you improve your productivity when you need it the most.
1) The 'One Thing'
Dom mentioned this book previously and although we've never talked about it explicitly, I'm glad he's brought it to your attention.
This is probably 1 of 2 books that have altered my way of thinking. It's a widely successful book from a prominent the real estate mogul, Gary Keller. It introduces the concept of focusing on one thing at a time, but making it more of a way of life.
The book forces you to answer one question, constantly, in every scenario:
"What's the one thing I can do, such that by doing so everything else becomes easier or unnecessary."
By answering that question over and over in your head, you'll find the core of what's really important for you to move to the next step. Keeping a single one vision thoughtfully ahead.
One analogy from the book relates to the energy found in dominos. How they topple over and compounding energy.
This isn't the only concept from the book though...
2) Block Time for What's REALLY Important
How many times have you gone to bed feeling unsatisfied with your day? This is exactly what happens when you end your day unfinished.
This is where the concept of time blocking comes in...
You should set a block of time each day to work on your affiliate site. I know it sounds really simple but how many of us are actually doing it consistently?
In order to complete your goals, you need to set aside time for them. This means waking up a little bit earlier, skipping lunch, or staying up a little later.
You won't be able to see how well your SEO efforts are going if you don't have any to measure.
Each time you have to work on your site and you aren't feeling it, remember the compounding effect. This is where all your efforts will compound one on top of another, making your site more and more authoritative as the days go by.
In the book, Gary Keller suggests committing 4 hours a day at least on your most important goal. It has to be done no matter what and you can't let distractions get in the way. If you have to find a new space to work because it's too loud, then move.
3) Create a Success List
A success list is similar to a 'to-do list', but with a twist. The normal to-do list is simply one of those things you have to do to stay afloat.
Usually, it means staying afloat in your job and just coasting until Friday. It's all fine and dandy to accomplish what you have to get done and nothing more, but what about the work you do for yourself?
Does it hold the same standards?
The success list differs from the to-do list by forcing you to think long term about your daily tasks and how each part of your day should be connected with your 'side-hustle'. Carefully lay down the path in the right direction.
Dom uses this in how he approaches niche sites. The 80/20 thought process goes into everything. For example, test conversions on your top 5 posts before implementing them on the rest of your site. Or publish unformatted articles on your site first and then make the necessary design adjustments. This helps age your content and see keywords your ranking for more easily. Then you can adjust your course of action after seeing the results.
Personally, each of my success lists only contains 4-6 items since I find it easier to complete. If I finish the list, then I'll make another since all my ducks are in a row now.
4) Build Your Own Template Library
For niche sites, it's actually even easier to develop a template since most of your articles will likely have the same structure.
You can choose to save elements of a post or save the entire post itself.
5) Track Your Time Better
The best way for you to see how effective you are is to measure your activity.
There are two ways to track your time:
1. Manually using a Google spreadsheet or a pen and pad. I've been doing this for a year or so and it's neat to see where you are dedicating your time.
Props to Matt Diggity for posting this recent article on time management for SEOs too. I've personally been testing his technique this week since I've been doing it on a spreadsheet already, but his technique is more refined. It's going quite well.
2. Use technology to measure your hours. RescueTime is fairly popular app and I use it every day. There has definitely been some discrepancies when using the app so I don't trust it as much anymore but it's so easy to leave on that I just leave it now. Each week a report comes into my inbox for how productive I was and what areas I focused on the most.
6) Sprint to Your Goals
The definition of a sprint is this "to race or move at full speed, especially for a short distance"
I've talked about this previously but it's probably underutilized by many people. It took me quite some time before implementing this but I adopted it while working with software developers as this is normally how they work.
To give you a look behind the scenes of HPD. We generally have goals known as 'rocks'. This is taken from the book Traction by Gino Wickman. Basically, rocks are goals for your team or your company and if you are the person in charge of that 'rock' then you have the responsibility of ensuring it gets completed by the due date. It doesn't mean you have to do the work yourself, but just that you have to lead the process of getting it finished.
Rocks can be implemented with building niche sites as well. For example, many people try to have a certain number of articles on their site at a certain time.
In order to have those done, you have to set the right tasks in your success list each day to get those done.
For example, if you want to have 40 articles on your site in 3 months then you need to have at least 3 articles published each week. To get three articles published you'd likely want to hire an additional writer. To hire a writer, you're going to have to set up a job posting.
And you just keep working backward from there.
On a daily basis, not only am I a fan of time tracking but I also love utilizing the Pomodoro technique. This is where you work in 25 min sprints on a specific task and then take a 5 min break when the buzzer goes off. Repeating it over and over throughout your day. It can be fun seeing how many Pomodoros you can collect in one day and to keep trying to break that record. This is the app I use myself.
7) Absorb More with Podcasts
If you aren't listening to podcasts, then I strongly urge you to. Not just because HPD has their own podcast but because this is one of the only opportunities for you to fully immerse yourself - without being physically present.
If you want to build a successful niche site, then you're going to want to eat, sleep and breathe affiliate marketing and SEO. Not everyone has time to read long-form articles but everyone has time for a podcast. Listen to them while you're on the way to work and save those articles for the weekend. Pocket is a great app for saving articles and it even has a feature where it reads the articles to you.
8) Anything Done Twice Should Be Written Down
What I mean by this is that anything you happen to do twice should be recorded into steps. This means that when you finally hire your first VA, you'll have all the instructions in place for a smooth transition.
Delegating is a big part of being more productive. Some things aren't worth your time if you can outsource it at a cheaper rate and focus on something that only you can do for the business.
Check out these simple tasks that a VA can handle on your niche site.
9) Use Your Voice To Write Articles
An awesome feature of Google Docs is the free voice recorder. You simply click the button and start talking.
Before you record, make sure to have an idea of what you're going to talk about. I usually sketch out the outline and mindmap my research.
Once you have a solid outline, try writing your first draft by just speaking into your microphone and letting Google handle the rest. There are also voice commands for shortcuts as well.
This is a short video to help you get setup
10) Performance = Potential - Interference
Try and remember this simple equation because I guarantee if you work in any setting with more than just yourself, you'll need it.
This is a concept that I heard on the Bootstrapped Web show and it works like this...
A person's performance is equal to their full potential, minus interference. Meaning the next time someone drops a task on your lap and it doesn't correlate with your expected performance, then you know it's going to affect your potential.
This concept doesn't work with just setting time aside for working on your site, but also your day job as well.
Interferences can come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure you focus on what you need to achieve your full potential. This is directly going to affect your overall performance personally.
The more you master this philosophy, the more productive you'll become and also gain the ability to say 'no' when its your right to.
I think out of all the points for productivity in this article, time blocking is the most important. Even if you outsource most of your site building, you still need to set aside time to manage a few things. If someone else is taking care of the content and backlinks, you should still make time to sit and think about how else you can grow the site.
If you have any other tips and would like to share your own productivity habits, please leave a comment below so everyone can benefit!