How do you plan your time for maximum efficiency?

22 replies
I'm trying to kick some bad habits and get more productive this year. I have great intentions and the motivation is there, but I'm finding that I'm clueless when it comes to planning and organizing myself with the little evening time I have after working a fulltime job and helping out with elderly parents. How do you plan your time?

Quick example - I'm working at improving my video marketing, learning email marketing, learning facebook marketing, and finding a good niche where I can go deep and build out a real business. With this goal in mind, I have a few video marketing courses (One is about 2hrs long, the other is about 5 hours and broken into 7 modules), an email marketing course(8 weekly modules with several an hour or so of vids in each module), a facebook marketing 100 page ebook, and a niche finding course(a couple hours worth of vids). Now, keep in mind that each of these courses also comes with homework, exercises and
checklists for me to complete. On top of all of this, I have a video marketing project that I'm working on, building out a channel. After hitting the gym and unwinding a bit, I'm good for about 2.5-3hrs worth of productive time each night.

So far, I've found myself trying to do a little bit of everything. At the end of the day, I'm never finding myself feeling satisfied with my productivity, then it's back at it in the morning. Kind of feel like I'm spinning my wheels and not exactly sure what books, resources, or general strategy might help to get me on track.

How would you organize your schedule to achieve my objectives? Thanks for any input.

S.
#efficiency #maximum #plan #time
  • Profile picture of the author sarah23
    Kind of feel like I'm spinning my wheels and not exactly sure what books, resources, or general strategy might help to get me on track.
    No Books will help you unless you help yourself.
    This happens with many people including me. I try to keep myself motivated and dedicated and keep future goals in mind all time; that helps me somehow.
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  • Profile picture of the author goldbear
    This might sound really simplistic. But, it's important not to spread yourself too thin. Pick one of your courses and stay with that course only until you've mastered it. Then move on to the next course. You can't get everything done at once. It's impossible. It's truly like eating an elephant. You can only do it with one bite at a time. Have patience and keep the faith.
    All the best,
    Goldbear
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    • Originally Posted by goldbear View Post

      This might sound really simplistic. But, it's important not to spread yourself too thin. Pick one of your courses and stay with that course only until you've mastered it. Then move on to the next course. You can't get everything done at once. It's impossible. It's truly like eating an elephant. You can only do it with one bite at a time. Have patience and keep the faith.
      All the best,
      Goldbear
      I agree!! Focus on one and become an expert at that before moving to another. Also books and videos and audio for that matter only work if you take action!
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  • Profile picture of the author Justin Beatty
    I always like to plan out my day and scheule myself to work certain hours - just like any other job. Even though I've been a full time internet marketer for 5 years now, I work from 8am to about 3-4pm... During those hours, I schedule goals I have for the day to become even more profitable...

    Best advice? Make a schedule!
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Steve,

    Set 1 business goal. You set 4 separate goals. Way too much to do at once.

    Meditate for 30 minutes on waiting. Sitting to observe your mental panic - and we all suffer from mental hurry - will let you know that you are in charge of your feelings, and how you spend your time.

    Devote 3 hours daily to conquering that 1 goal. Ex: learning email marketing.

    When you begin to see strong results in the email marketing area - probably after 3 or 4 weeks, when you commit - then you can add 1 other goal.

    Hope this helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author James Fame
    I recently wrote a thread about productivity. Not sure if it'll help, but here:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/mind-war...ductivity.html

    James
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    Fire me a pm if you have a question. I build businesses and provide consulting. I do not do finance/money/internet marketing niches. Fitness, self-improvement and various others are welcome.

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  • Profile picture of the author maggieblue
    Steve,

    Your list is awesome. One of the reasons I love IM is the constant cycle and excitement of learn-apply-learn-apply-learn-apply. Keeps you on your toes and your mind active, for sure!

    I work and go to school so I have to be really strict with my scheduling.
    6:30-7:30 - Yoga, Check my ClickBank, adjust my FB ads behaviors or budgets
    7:30- 8:00 - Refactor code, daily GitHub commits
    8-8:35 - Eat, Get Pretty, Run out the Door
    8:35-9 - Clean out my Inbox on the Subway, browse WF
    9-4 - The Dayjob.
    I usually set aside time at lunch or self-made breaks to make at least one ad copy or do small 10-minute tasks from my task list like post an article, hire a fiverr for a task or two, make a fanpage post or launch a FB ad. At lunch I take 15 minutes to manage my FB ad segmentation and quickly cut off any ad segments that aren't up to my specs.
    I can get about 1.5 hours of IM work done on an average day at the DayJob.
    School nights: 4:30-7 - Class, code, engineering projects. No IM.
    No School nights: 4:30-6 - Engineering projects, 6-7 IM tasks
    7-9 - Dinner, fun with husband, friends, sometimes work out
    9-11/midnight - Run analytics on my ad behaviors, log what needs to be logged, write articles, edit submissions from guest bloggers

    In addition, I have rules and tips and things I do like:
    - I have daily digest of Google Alerts sent to my Evernote so i don't get sidetracked with them and only read them when i need them (for articles, FB posts, trends, etc). There's an IFTTT for that
    - Post scheduling in WordPress is your best friend.
    - Google Doc Spreadsheets for: List of Article Ideas, List of IM Implementation tips,
    - Keep a whiteboard for each project
    - Keep a todo list on my phone
    - Use an app on my Mac called Self Control which disallows certain sites for certain amounts of time so I can't goof off when i'm supposed to be working
    - only check Clickbank in the morning and after lunch otherwise i get OBSESSED
    - I'm building with the Facebook Ads API so that I can automate some of the things I do wth my FB adsduring the day
    - Don't eat and work at the same time

    I'm newer to IM, but I had to get on a schedule really quickly again once my vacation was over. I can really only do deep learning in long sprints over the weekend or doing vacation. The weekdays are unfortunately just maintainace for me, but they're still profitable so it's all good.

    This is an awesome post, I hope to see and learn from others' productivity methods!
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  • Well, I'm not going to sit here ant tell you to focus on just one thing at a time. That's entirely up to you. But, if you want to complete all of the above things. Do this...

    Get a whiteboard and write down every single thing you want to accomplish/complete in 30 days. Write down everything...

    Like...

    1. ---
    2. ---
    3. ---
    4. ---

    When you have everything laid out. Simply pick 3 things a day and spend 1 hour on each of them. Cross off the tasks on your large list as you complete them.

    That's it. Not rocket science. As the days go by you'll start to see your big list getting smaller and smaller - and of course you'll get closer and closer to completing the whole list.

    Now, I know this seems too basic, but it aint, or it is, but it doesn't matter. The fact that you have a large list of everything you want to complete in 30 days - and just focus on 3 things every day, will dump all the noise out of your mind. That's the most important thing. Brain dumping all the shit onto a whiteboard and then completing 3 tasks every day for 30 days.

    30 tasks.
    30 hours.
    30 days.

    You can break it down to 1 week for each separate strategy.

    week 1 - Facebook (dump all the Flakebook tasks onto your board - and then complete 3 tasks (1 hour each) every day for 7 days. That's 21 Flakebook tasks completed at the end of the week.

    Then...

    week 2 - Email Marketing (dump all the Email Marketing tasks onto your board - and then complete 3 tasks (1 hour each) every day for 7 days. That's 21 Email Marketing tasks completed at the end of the week.

    Week 3 - Same thing.

    Simple. But effective if you do not skip any task on any day. Now you just have to focus on 3 tasks a day. Not too daunting me thinks.

    Hope that helps somewhat.

    Declan.
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  • Profile picture of the author marquisman
    For me Steve23 as a full time A. Marketer my productivity works out like this.

    1) Sunday morning I set my goals and tasks for the week as as well as what I intend to earn.
    2) Each evening, using the info from step 1, i set my daily tasks to be completed.

    Work wise I tend to start at 10am, lunch from 1.30pm and then work from 3.30pm to 6.30pm. I do this Mon-Thurs.

    The rest of the week is mine but its not unknown for me to work Friday mornings and Sunday mornings.

    This system seems to work well for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve23
    Awesome advice guys. I think I like the idea of picking on thing and working on it, but then I just get stir crazy and feel the need to work on something else as well. Declan's whiteboard strategy sounds interesting to me.

    If I did just work on one thing, say video marketing, how would you approach multiple tasks? Let's say I was to go through 3 different courses that I have on the topic of Video markeing(taking notes, doing the exercises), but at the same time, I want to work on an actual video marketing project? Even though it's only one subject, that still multi-tasking, is it not?

    How do you approach that? Do you just go through the courses one at a time over a week or so, or do you try and watch/read a little of each course each day and also do a little bit of work on the actual project? Seems I still sort of run into the same problem.

    Thoughts?

    S.
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    • Originally Posted by Steve23 View Post

      Awesome advice guys. I think I like the idea of picking on thing and working on it, but then I just get stir crazy and feel the need to work on something else as well. Declan's whiteboard strategy sounds interesting to me.

      If I did just work on one thing, say video marketing, how would you approach multiple tasks? Let's say I was to go through 3 different courses that I have on the topic of Video markeing(taking notes, doing the exercises), but at the same time, I want to work on an actual video marketing project? Even though it's only one subject, that still multi-tasking, is it not?

      How do you approach that? Do you just go through the courses one at a time over a week or so, or do you try and watch/read a little of each course each day and also do a little bit of work on the actual project? Seems I still sort of run into the same problem.

      Thoughts?

      S.
      I get what you're saying Steve. Chances are if you're going through 3 courses then you're creating too many conflicting ideas as each course is gonna teach you different ways to approach the same subject. In that case I think it wise to not take 3 courses on the same thing. Kinda defeats the purpose.

      Personally I would focus in on the course that's more appealing to you from the offset. What one seems more likely to suit your learning style? Just pick that one and stick with it until completely finished. Chances are you'll get much better results when you're super focused on one strategy rather than being pulled in too many directions with 3.

      No matter what way you look at it mate, you're asking for trouble jumping from one to the other mid-stream. Too-many-cooks and all that nonsense.

      What about setting your "primary" focus on just one course for a week - and see where it takes you. You'll be in a much better position to make a decision after a week of working through that course.

      Set up exactly how much time you have to focus on one course - and when you get a few minutes here and there throughout the week, just pop into the other course and pick away at it. But, it's a recipe for disaster my future "information overloaded" friend

      Why would you even want to take 3 courses at the same time? It sounds barmy. You'll get through the 3 of them one at a time far quicker than 3 at a time anyway.

      Dabbling is the surest way to underachievement.

      Anyway, best of luck Steve.

      Declan.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarketerRon
    You must write down your set tasks you want to achieve for each day. And write them at the end of the day for the following day. If you don't you'll be all over the shop and nothing will get done. Don't be distracted by emails and other stuff. Follow your schedule.
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    • Profile picture of the author GJG
      There are some great tips in this thread. You could pick out the tips that appeal to you from each comment and then design the working schedule that suits you best.

      The type of schedule you design will depend on whether or not you are working around a job of course. But here is what I like to do:

      I like to prioritize, otherwise I feel too swamped and end up spinning my wheels like you described.

      I take the 2 most important goals that I want to achieve. (This could be 2 websites that I am working on or 2 different types of tasks for 1 website/blog.)

      I then work on a rotation basis. I allow 30 minutes on task 1 and then swap to work 30 minutes on task 2. I allow myself to be a little flexible here; if I am really engrossed in something or right in the middle of a train of thought, the 30 minutes might extend to 40 for example. I find rotating like this does wonders for alertness and refreshing focus.

      I have a definitive goal in mind for each of the 2 tasks and it needs to be a sub-goal that is reachable within a reasonable amount of time. When I achieve one of the goals, I reward myself in some way (a time out activity with family or friends) and then re-define the 2 goals that I am working on.

      I hope this helps. (It was a great question by the way Steve; all of the answers will help a lot of people.)
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  • Profile picture of the author simonpiemon
    Originally Posted by Steve23 View Post

    I'm working at improving my video marketing, learning email marketing, learning facebook marketing, and finding a good niche where I can go deep and build out a real business.
    Hi Steve, what Declan says above is very solid, I'm rapidly gaining a lot of respect for him.

    I'd say you need to STOP!

    Then, "regroup", and FOCUS, on ONE thing.

    And that one thing has to be building out the real business. Make it pay while you're learning.

    You're in this to run a business, to make money, not to learn stuff. I see you signed up for this forum 8 (EIGHT!) years ago. That's a whole lot of time.

    Time now to actually do this stuff.

    Go for email marketing. Keep it simple: squeeze page, followup messages. Info and promoting affiliate offers.

    You've got very limited time each day, so you can do two things each day:

    1) get more subscribers (build your list)
    2) promote to your subscribers (email your list)

    Rinse and repeat, and learn along the way.

    Hope this helps?
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    • Profile picture of the author Roundplanet
      I too find this thread very helpful since I have had the very same problem, to organize, prioritize and focus. I will take some of the tips here to heart and implement.

      What I have tried to do that helped me to some extent is first deciding a couple overall biggest immediate accomplishment goals, and then just make a simple task list. I write down every task I need to get done on a physical note pad, then prioritize by numbers. It is a great feeling for every task I can check as done. For me this works best to do by hand, it is like the connection hand/brain works better. I know this may sound ridicoulusly simple, but it has improved my productivity in a big way every time I have done it.

      I knew there was much more I could do but did not know what and needed some advice, so thanks to everybody on this thread from me as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Trujillo
    It's always good to plan out the things you need to get done.

    In that list prioritize the main things that need to get done and do them right away.

    Take care of business first that way incase anything unexpected comes up it doesn't affect you.

    If you procrastinate however, one thing will turn into 100 things quick.

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author frettcarla
    Basically usage of tools makes me stay ahead in my business. For task management I use basecamp and yes of course some times google tasks, for time tracking I use replicon. Various other tools are also there which keeps importance in my business strategy to be organized.
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  • Profile picture of the author dominik77
    yep, the answear is in focusing
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    • Profile picture of the author jdjenkins
      I like the idea of maybe doing 2 subjects or courses - so that you can "rest" from one and work on something else for a while. But definitely no more than that. Set goals; have a schedule; and make sure you reward yourself for sticking to your plan and reaching those goals. Don't be afraid to set very small targets at first - one key point is to make this behaviour a habit - so several small goals each day for the first week might be a good idea!

      Good luck with it all anyway,

      cheers,

      JJ.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sieg
    Have an ultimate goal.

    What I do that really is working for me is to plan the 10 year goal.
    What do you want to be in 10 years?

    Maybe 5 is enough if you are starting out.

    Once you have that straightened out, I asked myself what are the things I have to do in order to get there?

    THat really cleared my head and eliminated all the other stuff unnecessary things, because I finally got my focus that doing those bad habits has nothing to do with the thing I want to be.

    There is just way too many choices we have today, and none of them really matter. All that matters is where you intend to be, and how you get there while all the other stuff is going on without you and the world is just fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dain
    I always refer back to the book that got me (and many of us) interested in the industry: The 4-Hour Work Week

    If I'm overwhelemed I write down on a post-it pad a to-do list with (drum roll please...)

    1 item on it.

    I chunk down a huge project into one actionable item a day to make it more manageable. I went from not knowing how to create a website to being able to make my own products, sales funnels, analytics and coding.

    Break it down.

    And second...

    Batching.

    I've created 30 blog posts/videos in one day by batching the same task over and over again into one intense session.

    You become highly effective at accomplishing that one task in those sessions when you batch. I would highly suggest it in terms of output.

    My first product (a coaching program for job seekers). I created all the youtube videos in one day and loaded them to youtube and website. I received 20-40 leads a day for almost two years, just based on that 1 day of effort.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    I put myself on a regular morning routine.

    1) Wake up
    2) Brush teeth
    3) Workout
    4) Run ads
    5) Watch food network all day
    5a) Chill with fiancee while watching food network all day
    6) Sleep
    7) Do the same thing the next day
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