Time Management May Be Hazardous to Your Business
– Origin uncertain
“Now, I know Glenn’s gone completely crackers! The other week he was going on about all search engines soon to be closed down, then he was talking about Hollywood director, Tim Burton. Now he’s going on about about time management being hazardous! He’s really lost the plot!”
I can assure you that reports of my insanity are greatly exaggerated. Well, mostly…. 😛
Joking aside, I do want to focus on the importance of time.
Our lives are governed by time.
From the moment we emerge into the bright light of this world, the clock is ticking away.
One of the staple teachings for a child at an early age is how to tell the time.
When we start school, we have a timetable.
When we go into work, usually we have to work according to some kind of time frame.
Do you like to watch TV? Likely you know on what day and at what time your favourite shows are on.
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture. Our lives are governed by time and our time is valuable.
If you are trying to build or maintain an online business then it’s vital that you use and manage your time wisely. It can be so easy to become busy doing nothing.
What do I mean by this?
It’s what Alex Jeffreys calls being “a busy fool”. In other words, being busy at your computer but not actually accomplishing anything that is advancing your business.
Sure, you think that you are managing your time, but in reality you’re just at risk of sending your business to an early grave.
Yes, in this instance, time management done wrongly can most definitely be hazardous to your business.
For example: You get up at 8:00 AM, you have a shower, have something to eat, make a cup of coffee and at 9:00 you switch on your computer.
What is the first thing you do? Perhaps you check your e-mail. “Ooo, that’s an interesting headline, I wonder what that is about?”. So you open the e-mail, like what you read and end up clicking on the link that’s in there. You spend the next 20 minutes watching a sales video and the next 10 minutes chewing over the lengthy copy below it.
You spend a further 10 minutes uhm-ing and ah-ing about whether you should buy this product or not. Eventually you decide to buy it and you head into the members area.
You spend an hour looking through the members area of your new product and now you feel that it’s time for a break. So you head on over to see what’s happening on Facebook.
After an hour or so of catching up with the latest in your feed and watching the various hilarious and/or interesting videos that have been posted, you decide that it’s about time you get some work done.
“What should I do now?” you ask yourself. Well, by this time it’s around midday and you’re starting to feel hungry. So you head into the kitchen to make yourself something to eat.
You sit down with your lunch (or if you come from where I do, dinner 😉 ) and a drink and decide to watch a little TV while you eat.
An hour later and it’s time to get back to work.
You decide you’d better check if there are any new e-mails. After all, you don’t want to miss something.
I won’t go any further, but in this scenario it’s around 1:00 PM and what have you actually done?
A big, fat nothing!
When you are working for yourself or are trying to get started, it is so important to be strict with yourself. And it is so important to plan.
Don’t start working unless you have a plan. Otherwise you risk just drifting along, wasting your time and accomplishing little.
Before you go to bed at night plan out what you want to do the following day. So write down all the things that you feel that you want to do. Then, prioritise them. Ask yourself, “Which of these things are really important? Which will have a direct impact on advancing my business now?”
Once you have done that, put them in order of priority and then start scheduling. Allot a set amount of time for each task. Whatever time you have left over in your day after doing that, you can then add in some secondary tasks from your list. Whatever things are left over, you can always assign to the following day, providing that you make sure that, again, you prioritise effectively.
When it comes time to actually do the tasks, set an alarm. Use your watch, phone, egg-timer or whatever you have. If you don’t have anything, buy a cheap countdown timer. You just want something to work to.
At the end of the day, go over your list and write down what you actually did. If you accomplished the task within the allotted time period, mark that down. If you spent longer on it, write down how long you spent. If you did something else instead, write that down.
All this helps you to have focus and gain perspective. As long as you work to your schedule and use the time at the end of each day to see areas in which you can improve, you will find that you get much more accomplished.
Incidentally, I don’t take any credit for this method – I learned it from Alex Jeffreys.
More Hazards Ahead!
Now, moving on to the second aspect of today’s subject.
Let’s say that you already do all this kind of stuff and you are pretty well-disciplined in how you approach your working day. Naturally, you’re going to be open to any kind of time-savers that help you to dedicate more time on the most important stuff, right?
This can be a good thing and it is most definitely advisable to take advantage of such things at times.
For example, you may be in a position to outsource certain aspects of your business, alleviating the burden of having to do them yourself.
Or perhaps you have a particular piece of software that automates a lot of the things that you would otherwise have to do manually.
Caution is required with both these things.
When outsourcing you are not only entrusting another person with the assignment, but you’re also entrusting them with your reputation. A slack, careless approach to the assignment could result in your good name being tarnished, which is something we don’t want.
Having very little experience of outsourcing, I can’t offer any practical tips in this area apart from don’t just accept the first person you find. Do your due diligence and don’t be afraid of saying “No”.
Remember, it’s your business and you call the shots. If you’re not happy with the feeling you’re getting from a potential worker, don’t choose them.
Likewise, if you’re not happy with the quality of the work done by someone you’ve hired, don’t be afraid to pull the plug and look for someone else. In the unfortunate instance of your customers being left unhappy due to some bad outsourcing, don’t delay in making things right with them. Sure, it’s not your fault that the person you hired let you down, but it’s not your customers’ fault either. But when looking for somewhere to lay blame, they won’t hesitate to look squarely at you!
Something else that you may wish to do is use some kind of software to streamline a particular process, save time and remove some of your workload. This is an attractive prospect but a potentially hazardous one. Here’s why:
How often do we see a new, ‘shiny object‘ that promises to do X, Y and Z on autopilot, solving all our woes? Equally, how often do we hear the horror stories of how a certain piece of software didn’t work as advertised, wasn’t tested properly before release, was unfinished or stopped working shortly after release due to a lack of foresight by the developers with regards to certain algorithms?
A certain piece of software was released last year and, unfortunately, the whole thing backfired and left a lot of people feeling very angry, frustrated and disappointed. It affected the Marketer’s reputation and he found it very hard to face people. Fair play to him, though, as he did eventually make a public apology, explain the reasons why things happened the way they did and took full responsibility for it.
I’ve seen many others try to wriggle their way out of admitting guilt, some even resorting to lies, abuse and obscenity if anyone dare question them! But this Marketer held his hands up and admitted that he messed up, so I respect him for that.
Quite a common way to try to offload some of the work is by means of auto-posting software, auto-sharing software, scrapers, curators, SEO software and other such things.
For example, you may decide to use a piece of software that auto posts your blogging updates across your social media accounts. This can be a huge time-saver and, in certain situations, it can be good. But one particular piece of software I know of doesn’t always post the updates correctly, leaving only half of the message and no link to the original post.
One person who I knew was using this program was also automating their blog too. I couldn’t see any evidence of content that was actually written by them, rather it was obvious that the content came from elsewhere. I’m not suggesting that it was stolen or anything like that, but it might have been curated, PLR, etc. Whichever way, it was all pretty much on the same level and contained nothing of the person behind the blog at all. The whole blog was, well, boring.
Now, without delving into all the strategies whereby this could be a perfectly acceptable approach, usually a blogger wants to connect with people, or at least they should do. But when it’s obvious that your blog comprises entirely of third-party content and that you are making no effort to connect with people personally, then your user engagement will suffer.
I see this all the time. People put up a blog, load it with a bunch of curated content, send out social media signals and sure, it can get you noticed and sure, it can bring traffic and even clicks on your ads. But I’ve seen people who use this approach gripe that they are not getting comments or subscribers, yet brand new newbies with a ramshackle blog are getting results.
It’s because, even with a ramshackle blog that’s just started up, if you are writing from your heart, are getting out there and manually connecting with other bloggers and are engaging with visitors who leave comments on your blog, you will make an impact with people and resonate with them.
Whereas, using a cookie-cutter approach will end up being stale and devoid of depth. Your visitors will soon pick up on that and they will rarely feel motivated to connect with you.
I want to point out regarding all this, that it isn’t an absolute, cut and dry, ‘one size fits all’ thing. There are times when it makes sense to automate certain areas of your business and yes, you can do so without sacrificing the personal aspect of what you do.
However, what I would guard against is thinking that having as much as possible on autopilot is automatically a good thing.
Likewise, it’s not good to try to do as much as possible yourself without outsourcing or maybe using some software to streamline things.
But you have to remember that, at all times, you are dealing with real people.
It’s real people who are visiting your blog, it’s real people who are clicking on your ads, it’s real people who are opening your e-mails and it’s real people who are seeing your links on social media.
So just be careful that whatever means you decide to use to streamline things or reduce the workload are worthwhile and don’t end up being counter-productive.
If you are finding that you are getting banned from Facebook groups for annoying people with the way your software is posting your updates, or that you are getting visitors to your blog but they are not engaging and not returning, then something’s going wrong.
What time management tips do you have? If there are any that you would like to share I’d love for you to leave them in the comments below.
Don’t forget to leave a comment regardless and please make sure to click on one of the share buttons. 🙂
Please come back next week when it will be podcast time again. I haven’t decided what it will be about yet, but I’ll have something in place by then!
Until next time!