Tick tock, tick tock, there goes another second lost to the never-ending sands of time. We can’t take back our actions but we can certainly make the most of our future.
Affiliate marketing is skill, perseverance, and timing.
You must constantly evolve with the times but more importantly – take action every day.
We all have trouble concentrating. Consider all the daily distractions from the outside world (and more so from our online activities) and you’ll quickly realize that the task of devoting 100% of your time and resources toward a project starts to become a pipedream.
It’s the ability to block these external (and internal) distractions and influences allows entrepreneurs to stay productive and grow a business.
So where is all of this going? Time management.
The ability to manage and craft your schedule so it works in your favor; your dedication to make a real-time sacrifice to stay focused on an end-goal and turn your moves into productive actions (while living in the realm of reality, that is).
In this post, I will share the best actions, strategies, and resources to make the most of your time without crashing from overloading yourself with work.
You’re Not a Robot
First and foremost, no one is able to have a completely productive day.
We just can’t, as humans.
There are far too many distractions to prevent us from accomplishing 100% of our tasks, duties, and goals. It’s not a bad thing because many of these interruptions are enjoyable moments of our lives; some may not be so pleasant but it’s what makes us human.
If we worked with 100% dedication and focus than we’d become robots; we’d lose what makes us, us.
Throw out this notion that you’re going to conquer the world because every great action starts with a single step; it’s the ability to take considerable action (that is, within your limits), over and over again, that makes you a successful individual.
- You can work for the sake of working
- You can work smart
Three Important Traits for Mastery of Time Management
Everyone has their opinion about what makes an individual effective in time management.
The three that I shall mention are by no means the “definitive” items that determine your ability to manage your time but they certainly put you on a level of great understanding.
These three traits include:
- The ability to identify when time is being wasted
- The ability to identify, develop, and track measurable goals
- The ability to stick to a daily routine
These three work, most effectively, in the order they have been listed.
1. Identifying Wasted Time
Time slips through our fingers with each passing moment; we all have important tasks and activities we should be doing but, being human, we are prone to distraction and pleasure seeking.
If you were to learn just one item from this post, it should be this: it’s not how long it takes you to complete a task – just that it gets done.
As an entrepreneur, you’re prone to take on new projects on a moment’s whim especially because of outside influence such as reading blogs (gasp!), listening to others, “tasting” success, and sometimes boredom – right now, I bet you have a variety of projects that haven’t even come to the initial setup because you’re constantly adding more to the list.
You need to do this:
- Trim the fat
- Complete your projects
Discovering wasted time falls between these two items.
In the first action of “trimming the fat”, you remove the projects that don’t actually have a significant return on investment for your business. You can often identify these items by allowing them to “stew” for a few weeks, assessing the value of each, and measuring your total interest in the project.
More often-than-not, you’ll discover most of your projects to be ones you’ve tacked on at the last moment but don’t have the dedication (or care) to follow them to completion – and that’s okay! The important thing is to keep doing the actions and strategies that have given you success rather than exploring projects that you can’t predict the results.
Try to cut out nearly 80% of your projects, seriously.
It’s Pareto’s Principle in action. The majority of your success comes from the remaining 20% of your efforts and most commonly these are the items you’re already working on.
The other action of these two items is simply completing your projects.
Now, it sounds easier said than done but keep in mind that successful business people are the ones that are able to ship a product – not the ones that spend an eternity planning each and every move.
- Spend just one or two additional hours on a major project each and every day.
- Do the biggest tasks the moment you wake and begin your work.
- Set only one project as your focus for the day.
Try to avoid bouncing between multiple projects for your business; choose one and work with it until you’re satisfied. Repeat this process every day and your laundry list of tasks (and goals) will slowly, but surely, get knocked down.
In all, these two items give you the best insight for how your time is wasted.
Removing the distractions of project overload and working, diligently, on a project will begin to reveal how you spend your time because you’re no longer doing “busy work”; it’s okay if you’re not spending every waking moment on your projects – just make sure that when you are working on them, you’re giving them your all.
2. Develop (and Track) Measurable Goals
Get your head out of the clouds and come back down to Terra Firma – your chance of building the next Google, Facebook, or one of the countless Fortune 500 companies is very slim-to-none.
I open this section with that sort of “hit in the gut” because developing goals that are too outlandish will often send you through the weeds because it can’t truly be measured.
There are to elements to a great goal:
- It’s difficult but obtainable through hard work
- You can track your progress and reflect on your accomplishments
Sure, there are plenty of individuals that take on the goal of the impossible but we’re talking about business, here. Business is strategic and calculated; there are moments where your work touches outside the box but you’re still delivering a product to a customer – whichever vehicle and how you handle that transaction is up to you.
Okay, back to the point.
Your goal should be difficult in the sense that it presents a challenge. The goal should push you to your boundaries, force you to learn new skills, test your sanity, and beat you to a pulp – if you’re able to pull through than the reward is oh-so sweeter.
- Big Goal: I want to grow my business to $1,000,000 within the next five years.
- Small Goal: I want to roll out a new service by the end of the weekend.
- Outlandish Goal: I’m going to be the next Richard Branson!
The goals, in these three examples, could hit very close to home in your own business but when we take a look at each, with this idea that it needs to be challenging (but obtainable), we notice that the smaller goal truly doesn’t have the long-term future in sight (it’s a quick win) – the outlandish goal is just as it’s been described: too far-fetched – and the big goal is something truly possible, yet challenging, because it gives you a time frame to make things happen and it’s just barely beyond reach that it forces you to work hard, be creative, and get things done.
Within this same process of developing a goal is the ability to create a road map which gives you definitive moments of success, reward, and recognition. There will be an end to a goal (such as reaching a monetary mark, visiting a new destination, selling a site, whatever is definitive) but there is also the milestones along the way (such as reaching the next level of subscribers, launching a new product, or gaining new rankings); these moments should come with rewards which reinforces your dedication to the goal.
To close this section, remember that it comes down to setting a big, obtainable goal that will test your abilities (but offer the big wins) and to track and reward yourself during the important milestones; doing these two things will allow your mind (and spirit) to focus on your work because you’re making progress.
3. Doing the Daily Routine
Want to know the secret to getting the most done each day?
- Creating a daily routine
- Sticking to it
Nope, it’s not even so much that you have a goal in mind – it’s more about that you simply keep doing what will ultimately lead you to said goal.
- You could have a goal of making $1,000,000 in your business but your daily routine leads you to micro manage every element of your business which restricts your chances of growth.
- You could, as an alternative, identify the actions that earn you the most income and recognition then repeat them day-in and day-out.
We all have goals. We all have important work to be completed.
Even if we remove the time wasters and set these lofty goals – it still doesn’t mean that we’ll make a living from doing them.
What does bring home the bread (and ensures you’re effective in time management) is doing a routine that repeats your successful actions each time you sit down to work.
- Make your keep as a freelance web developer? Keep developing.
- Earn through affiliate marketing? Keep promoting.
- Consult for businesses? Keep networking.
It’s like taking on new projects as we have discussed before. There are dozens of daily tasks that are required to operate your business but only a few actually earn the revenue so stick to those important items – it’s as simple as that.
All of this comes down to one thing: batching your work.
Imagine you have a deadline where you must produce a new affiliate marketing campaign. This work may detail the need for a new landing page, email content, product selection, cross promotions, and more. Focus on one of these major items at a time and knock down all of the related work before you move to the next task – this is how things get done.
You’re not distracted by bouncing between your activities. You’re accomplishing one milestone at a time. Keep at this pace and you’ll soon have accomplished what you’ve set out to do.
Doing the work in a “batch” lumps it all together. You build upon the last clearance of a milestone so it propels you into the next with rapid succession. Try it, it works.
Do It, Today
You’re probably like most affiliate marketers: always planning your next move.
You know what? Stop.
Take what you’re currently working and make it your priority. Start on your project this very moment – no more surfing the web – no more reading newsletters – no more lurking on social media. Start today.
Saying you’ll “do it tomorrow” will simply lead to the project falling into the never-ending process of “project creep” – it won’t get done because you never take responsibility.
Lock down, put your nose in the grind stone, and do big things.