How I Increased My Productivity In 2018 ....

27 replies
....and How You Can Do The Same in 2019


Hi,

I thought that this may be useful to a few people so I thought I'd share it.

I found that I was wasting a great deal of time every day and that my productivity was a lot less than it could be. So, what was I doing with my time and what could I do about it?

Well, I decided to stand back and look at how I spent my time every day. There was a distinct pattern. It went something like this:

Sit at desk
Switch on computer.
Check a couple of websites.
Open my emails and go through them.

The problem was those emails. I had signed up to a few email lists and I'd read their newsletters.This quite often led to a product to consider and I'd then search for reviews. All of this took a lot of time every day. I also realised a couple of other things:

I enjoyed reading these newsletters.
I never made any money from any of those newsletters.

So, I was carrying out "work" every day which I enjoyed but which took a lot of time and never earned me a dime. It was time for action!

I had to unsubscribe from ALL of those email newsletters. The first few were easy but then it got more difficult. There were a few email newsletter lists which I'd been on for a long time and I liked the emails and I liked the authors. The thing is though, I never made a penny from being on those lists.

Not one penny of income!

Once I got that thought in my head the rest was easy and I promptly unsubscribed from all the email newsletters. No exceptions.

This act, in itself, made my 2018 far more productive. I prefer to think of how many hours extra productivity I have achieved since I unsubscribed from everything rather than how much time I wasted before.

My advice? If you have not made any money from being on a list then get off it - fast.


Another Time Saving Productivity Booster


The second thing I did was really, really simple but it has also boosted my output.

I learned to type.

I've saved hours answering emails and producing content now that I can type a little. I put half an hour to one side every day and I used a free program to learn to type. It took a few weeks but I think that it is possible to do it a lot faster if you concentrated on it properly.

Typing this post hasn't taken all that long, for instance.

Anyway, I truly hope that these ideas help some of you to be more productive.

Good luck with your business.

Kind regards,

John
#2018 #increased #productivity
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  • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
    This doesn't happen very often (or ever?), but as soon as you said

    My advice? If you have not made any money from being on a list then get off it - fast.
    I went to my inbox and unsubscribed to everything I saw before reading the rest of your post. You're right. It was difficult to unsubscribe to some of my favorites like Tim Ferriss, Gary V, and Marie Forleo, but I do want to free up more of my time. If I love those newsletters so much, I can subscribe again anytime again down the road.

    Something I started doing this year was tracking how time I spend on social media (outside of business, aimless scrolling). I got the Quality Time app which monitors how much time is spent each day/week on the apps I specify. I couldn't believe how much time I was spending on social media, wasting time.

    Good post. I was thinking it might have been more of a "you can do it!" and "start your day the night before" type of post. Thanks for being different!
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    • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
      Originally Posted by palmtreelife View Post

      This doesn't happen very often (or ever?), but as soon as you said

      I went to my inbox and unsubscribed to everything I saw before reading the rest of your post. You're right. It was difficult to unsubscribe to some of my favorites like Tim Ferriss, Gary V, and Marie Forleo, but I do want to free up more of my time. If I love those newsletters so much, I can subscribe again anytime again down the road.

      Something I started doing this year was tracking how time I spend on social media (outside of business, aimless scrolling). I got the Quality Time app which monitors how much time is spent each day/week on the apps I specify. I couldn't believe how much time I was spending on social media, wasting time.

      Good post. I was thinking it might have been more of a "you can do it!" and "start your day the night before" type of post. Thanks for being different!
      Thanks, Palmtreelife.

      I'm really pleased that it has helped you. We all need to help one another

      I forgot to say that I went on Facebook years ago and decided that I just didn't have time for it, so I deleted my account. I believe that I have saved countless hours by not being on there, although it does mean that I don't really understand how FB works, which would be good from a business point of view.

      I wonder how else we waste our time?
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      • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
        I wonder how else we waste our time?
        haha LOTS of ways!! How much watch time does Netflix get PER DAY? "oh, but I'm watching a documentary and learning" ...whatever you gotta tell yourself!

        Checking email and checking our cell phones. I have my phone on silent most of the time. It is SO rare that someone needs to contact you for a true emergency. It's crazy how people check their phone for every little beep, vibrate and other noise.

        Email...we are conditioned to feel important when we get an email. Someone took the time to send me an email...I wonder what it could be! I learned a great productivity tip from the 4 Hour Work Week that it's completely unnecessary to keep email open all day long. It's very disruptive to see new emails come in, open them and read them. We condition the senders to email us any time of the day and we will reply asap.

        It's better if we condition the senders to realize I'm only checking and replying to email twice a day - maybe 3 times, depending on the job description. These times are morning, noon and evening. You can email me anytime you want, but don't plan on me reading or replying until one of those 3 times.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
          Originally Posted by palmtreelife View Post

          haha LOTS of ways!! How much watch time does Netflix get PER DAY? "oh, but I'm watching a documentary and learning" ...whatever you gotta tell yourself!

          Checking email and checking our cell phones. I have my phone on silent most of the time. It is SO rare that someone needs to contact you for a true emergency. It's crazy how people check their phone for every little beep, vibrate and other noise.

          Email...we are conditioned to feel important when we get an email. Someone took the time to send me an email...I wonder what it could be! I learned a great productivity tip from the 4 Hour Work Week that it's completely unnecessary to keep email open all day long. It's very disruptive to see new emails come in, open them and read them. We condition the senders to email us any time of the day and we will reply asap.

          It's better if we condition the senders to realize I'm only checking and replying to email twice a day - maybe 3 times, depending on the job description. These times are morning, noon and evening. You can email me anytime you want, but don't plan on me reading or replying until one of those 3 times.
          I don't think that we can make this point too many times!
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  • Profile picture of the author chronosgolf
    Cheers John - Good post.

    I have been thinking about doing something similar for a while and this has given me the nudge to actually do it.

    I read about an app to do this but cant remember the name. Anyway - I'll do it myself. Shouldn't take too long to find the unsubscribe link in all these emails!
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    • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
      Originally Posted by chronosgolf View Post

      Cheers John - Good post.

      I have been thinking about doing something similar for a while and this has given me the nudge to actually do it.

      I read about an app to do this but cant remember the name. Anyway - I'll do it myself. Shouldn't take too long to find the unsubscribe link in all these emails!
      Thanks, chronosgolf. I'm glad that you liked it.

      There was some software that was being promoted to email marketers. The software claimed to delete the user from all marketing email lists, whereas it actually unsubscribed the user from all marketing lists except for the list who's owner supplied the software. Clever, eh?
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  • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
    Unsubscribing from lists is one way of saving a lot of time, but please remember what I said about learning to type. It sounds dull, and it is, but it's a wonderful time saving skill to have
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    As online marketers we want to be accessible at all times, and therefore have our email inbox open all the time.

    You've experienced the problem this belief and behavior results in.

    One of the best actions you can take to increase your productivity is to train your customers. Train them that you only check your emails twice a day (say noon and 4PM as examples)...you respond within 24 hours but that they should not expect instant replies.

    This is good practice especially if you are a designer, developer, writer etc. who needs significant unscheduled time to do your work. Constant interruptions, especially of the "fake type" prompted by an incoming email notification, will absolutely murder your productivity.

    Unsubscribing from marketing is fine, and I did that myself years ago. However, there is a time & place for consuming content from people you want to follow. And that is during...

    NO-PAY TIME.

    Your life can be divided into PAY TIME and NO-PAY TIME.

    Pay Time is when your market is available...when they will buy from you. No-Pay Time is when they are generally not available.

    Say your Pay Time is 10AM - 6PM. Fine. So you do not consume any of this kind of content during those hours. But after 6PM? It's okay to do so...and you have already been productive.

    All activities that do not produce revenue should be moved to No-Pay Time. Or, to turn it on its head: do not do No-Pay activities during Pay Time!

    I was quoted in Inc. Magazine on productivity and highly recommend these two content pieces for people wanting to learn more about the topic:


    and

    Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

    (Neither are mine.) You'll learn a lot.
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    If you're great at what you do and want to build a real business, we should speak.
    > "Kindle books on Sales by Jason Kanigan"
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    • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      As online marketers we want to be accessible at all times, and therefore have our email inbox open all the time.

      You've experienced the problem this belief and behavior results in.

      One of the best actions you can take to increase your productivity is to train your customers. Train them that you only check your emails twice a day (say noon and 4PM as examples)...you respond within 24 hours but that they should not expect instant replies.

      This is good practice especially if you are a designer, developer, writer etc. who needs significant unscheduled time to do your work. Constant interruptions, especially of the "fake type" prompted by an incoming email notification, will absolutely murder your productivity.

      Unsubscribing from marketing is fine, and I did that myself years ago. However, there is a time & place for consuming content from people you want to follow. And that is during...

      NO-PAY TIME.

      Your life can be divided into PAY TIME and NO-PAY TIME.

      Pay Time is when your market is available...when they will buy from you. No-Pay Time is when they are generally not available.

      Say your Pay Time is 10AM - 6PM. Fine. So you do not consume any of this kind of content during those hours. But after 6PM? It's okay to do so...and you have already been productive.

      All activities that do not produce revenue should be moved to No-Pay Time. Or, to turn it on its head: do not do No-Pay activities during Pay Time!

      I was quoted in Inc. Magazine on productivity and highly recommend these two content pieces for people wanting to learn more about the topic:

      PNTV: Deep Work by Cal Newport - YouTube

      and

      Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

      (Neither are mine.) You'll learn a lot.
      Thanks for the thoughtful contribution, Jason. You are absolutely right. I made it a rule to stop checking my emails until 12 midday and my productivity escalated.
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    • Profile picture of the author naviown
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      As online marketers we want to be accessible at all times, and therefore have our email inbox open all the time.

      You've experienced the problem this belief and behavior results in.

      One of the best actions you can take to increase your productivity is to train your customers. Train them that you only check your emails twice a day (say noon and 4PM as examples)...you respond within 24 hours but that they should not expect instant replies.

      This is good practice especially if you are a designer, developer, writer etc. who needs significant unscheduled time to do your work. Constant interruptions, especially of the "fake type" prompted by an incoming email notification, will absolutely murder your productivity.

      Unsubscribing from marketing is fine, and I did that myself years ago. However, there is a time & place for consuming content from people you want to follow. And that is during...

      NO-PAY TIME.

      Your life can be divided into PAY TIME and NO-PAY TIME.

      Pay Time is when your market is available...when they will buy from you. No-Pay Time is when they are generally not available.

      Say your Pay Time is 10AM - 6PM. Fine. So you do not consume any of this kind of content during those hours. But after 6PM? It's okay to do so...and you have already been productive.

      All activities that do not produce revenue should be moved to No-Pay Time. Or, to turn it on its head: do not do No-Pay activities during Pay Time!

      I was quoted in Inc. Magazine on productivity and highly recommend these two content pieces for people wanting to learn more about the topic:

      PNTV: Deep Work by Cal Newport - YouTube

      and

      Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

      (Neither are mine.) You'll learn a lot.
      This is so simple yet very effective. Will definitely be checking the 2 pieces.

      But you know, there are times where we just do not have any work. So what about those times? What do we focus on?
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      • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
        I normally have quite a few things on the go so spare time isn't an issue. However, I think that the golden rule is to ask the question "What is going to earn me money?"
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
        Originally Posted by naviown View Post

        This is so simple yet very effective. Will definitely be checking the 2 pieces.

        But you know, there are times where we just do not have any work. So what about those times? What do we focus on?
        Times when you don't have any work??

        Wow, that takes me back. Back to around 1997 and my first job and I first exhausted my To Do list.

        I was getting paid a salary, so what did I care? I'd done my job.

        Except that's not how I think.

        I made a book called What To Do When There's Nothing To Do.

        It was for me and for other staff in the organization. And apparently they needed it.

        What this indicates to me is you're still thinking like an employee. You need to start thinking like a business owner. I figure you are capable of thinking like a business owner, because you're here and looking for new ways of doing things. So come along.

        A business owner doesn't think in terms of tasks. That's how a technician thinks.

        Your role is not about tasks. It's about expanding the writ in which the business may run.

        So when there are no tasks to do, wow, that's great. Most business owners would love to get there--in fact, to do what I'm going to talk about in a moment, they must typically harshly carve chunks of their schedule out and block off from interruption. This would be Maker work, to match up with Paul Graham's post.

        Here are just a few things you should be doing...deliberately making time for, if your tasks have not run out:

        1. Seek out new joint venture partnerships with other business owners who already have lists of pre-qualified buyers whose interests overlap with your offer, or have a problem you solve.

        Your cost of customer acquisition by other traffic sources is already at a certain level. This is the amount you can easily give to the list owner as commission.

        Not fighting for qualified leads should be a major goal of every business.


        2. Review existing processes and systems to find out if they can be improved.

        Is anything in your business written down? No? Then get started on documenting the processes.

        I guarantee you things you think you understand...you don't.

        There will almost assuredly be one or two or more broken feedback loops, things you didn't even suspect were broken. And it's no fun when three weeks from now you discover an important thing didn't happen because the feedback loop was broken, and nobody saw the problem developing.

        Have you been doing things one way for a long time? Are you sure this way is the BEST way?


        3. Check in with your customers.

        Are they happy or unhappy with what you're doing for them?

        Is there something else you could sell to them, another problem you could solve for them, a new income stream you could open up by leveraging the trust you've developed so far?

        Do they have something to tell you about your marketing, something that will greatly improve its effectiveness if you implement it?


        These are just a few of the things I get my clients doing. Imagine what happens after 6 months or a year of consistent application of only these three ideas. Usually the owners have to carve out the time to do them...if you have spare time to fit them in, even better because you won't fight doing them due to pressure from existing tasks.

        Owners don't think like employees. There's always something to do.
        Signature
        If you're great at what you do and want to build a real business, we should speak.
        > "Kindle books on Sales by Jason Kanigan"
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        • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
          Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

          Times when you don't have any work??

          Wow, that takes me back. Back to around 1997 and my first job and I first exhausted my To Do list.

          I was getting paid a salary, so what did I care? I'd done my job.

          Except that's not how I think.

          I made a book called What To Do When There's Nothing To Do.

          It was for me and for other staff in the organization. And apparently they needed it.

          What this indicates to me is you're still thinking like an employee. You need to start thinking like a business owner. I figure you are capable of thinking like a business owner, because you're here and looking for new ways of doing things. So come along.

          A business owner doesn't think in terms of tasks. That's how a technician thinks.

          Your role is not about tasks. It's about expanding the writ in which the business may run.

          So when there are no tasks to do, wow, that's great. Most business owners would love to get there--in fact, to do what I'm going to talk about in a moment, they must typically harshly carve chunks of their schedule out and block off from interruption. This would be Maker work, to match up with Paul Graham's post.

          Here are just a few things you should be doing...deliberately making time for, if your tasks have not run out:

          1. Seek out new joint venture partnerships with other business owners who already have lists of pre-qualified buyers whose interests overlap with your offer, or have a problem you solve.

          Your cost of customer acquisition by other traffic sources is already at a certain level. This is the amount you can easily give to the list owner as commission.

          Not fighting for qualified leads should be a major goal of every business.


          2. Review existing processes and systems to find out if they can be improved.

          Is anything in your business written down? No? Then get started on documenting the processes.

          I guarantee you things you think you understand...you don't.

          There will almost assuredly be one or two or more broken feedback loops, things you didn't even suspect were broken. And it's no fun when three weeks from now you discover an important thing didn't happen because the feedback loop was broken, and nobody saw the problem developing.

          Have you been doing things one way for a long time? Are you sure this way is the BEST way?


          3. Check in with your customers.

          Are they happy or unhappy with what you're doing for them?

          Is there something else you could sell to them, another problem you could solve for them, a new income stream you could open up by leveraging the trust you've developed so far?

          Do they have something to tell you about your marketing, something that will greatly improve its effectiveness if you implement it?


          These are just a few of the things I get my clients doing. Imagine what happens after 6 months or a year of consistent application of only these three ideas. Usually the owners have to carve out the time to do them...if you have spare time to fit them in, even better because you won't fight doing them due to pressure from existing tasks.

          Owners don't think like employees. There's always something to do.
          Another great contribution, Jason.
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    • Profile picture of the author palmtreelife
      Sorry, Jason. I just made a post that included the email conditioning strategy. I didn't realize you already mentioned this! My bad. Nice to know others are aware and practice this as well though.
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  • Profile picture of the author LGCalab
    I actually like both the OP's statement and Jason's.

    I unsubscribed from a bunch of useless emails, which did increase my productivity time. But the one reason I stay subscribed to some lists, is I learn from them.

    They're people I consider some of the best in their fields. When I read their emails, I really learn about how they're communicating with their list. I learn about the type of products they occasionally promote and most often, I'll take a look at them and sometimes (if I need it), I'll buy.

    All you ever hear is "the money is in the list!". Well, you can't very well unsubscribe from quality lists and turn around and build your list. Especially when you're learning. Knowing what is and what isn't a list to be on is a time saver right there!

    Jason is right, too. Disciplining yourself to the "NO MONEY" times of the day will save you, and make you, money.

    I edited this post 3 times, so yep, I'm all in on the learning to type thing, too.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
      Originally Posted by LGCalab View Post

      I actually like both the OP's statement and Jason's.

      I unsubscribed from a bunch of useless emails, which did increase my productivity time. But the one reason I stay subscribed to some lists, is I learn from them.

      They're people I consider some of the best in their fields. When I read their emails, I really learn about how they're communicating with their list. I learn about the type of products they occasionally promote and most often, I'll take a look at them and sometimes (if I need it), I'll buy.

      All you ever hear is "the money is in the list!". Well, you can't very well unsubscribe from quality lists and turn around and build your list. Especially when you're learning. Knowing what is and what isn't a list to be on is a time saver right there!

      Jason is right, too. Disciplining yourself to the "NO MONEY" times of the day will save you, and make you, money.

      I edited this post 3 times, so yep, I'm all in on the learning to type thing, too.
      Thanks - more useful thoughts.
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  • Profile picture of the author luciesmazanska
    Dont worry about it everybody went through this its called the process of learning

    The most important thing is that you realized that and made a decision to cahnge it

    Keep it up!
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    • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
      Originally Posted by luciesmazanska View Post

      Dont worry about it everybody went through this its called the process of learning

      The most important thing is that you realized that and made a decision to change it

      Keep it up!
      Thank you!
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Great post.

    If I may add something... you may want to consider MAXIMIZING the value of your work time by working in FOCUSED BURSTS of time.

    One way to do this is the POMODORO method

    Give yourself a 5 minute block of time and do 1 type of work

    Take a quick break then give yourself another 5 minute block and do another aspect of your project

    This explodes the VALUE of your work time
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    • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
      Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

      Great post.

      If I may add something... you may want to consider MAXIMIZING the value of your work time by working in FOCUSED BURSTS of time.

      One way to do this is the POMODORO method

      Give yourself a 5 minute block of time and do 1 type of work

      Take a quick break then give yourself another 5 minute block and do another aspect of your project

      This explodes the VALUE of your work time
      Yep, another good thought. Also, it's difficult to get started when you have a long list of things to do so just pick one of the list items and just do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author wilsonmacgregor
    Originally Posted by John Marshall View Post


    The second thing I did was really, really simple but it has also boosted my output.

    I learned to type.
    I bought Dragon Naturally Speaking
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  • Profile picture of the author TheKing
    not only those emails waste your time, but they also distract you from the present moment. Imagine you are doing something very important and Bang! an email notification distracts you from your work, then you open your email to check whose email is that and you start reading it and go deep into it and then in some another third world which is totally different from what you were doing in the first place.

    Now Imagine what if there were no email notification in the first place? you would have continue doing your work without any disturbance.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Marshall
      Originally Posted by TheKing View Post

      not only those emails waste your time, but they also distract you from the present moment. Imagine you are doing something very important and Bang! an email notification distracts you from your work, then you open your email to check whose email is that and you start reading it and go deep into it and then in some another third world which is totally different from what you were doing in the first place.

      Now Imagine what if there were no email notification in the first place? you would have continue doing your work without any disturbance.
      Exactly! Thanks for your contribution.
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  • Profile picture of the author PolicyMaker
    Here is Simple Road-Map:

    - Extract CORE Tasks That Move the Needle & Make The List
    - Focus on ONE Core TASK - Do it Well & Finish It Completely
    - And Then Move To The Next Task...
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  • Profile picture of the author chuckholmes
    Turning off the notifications on my phone and computer has been a big time saver.

    Only checking emails twice per day has helped a lot.

    Strictly following my prioritized daily to do list and limiting my social media time has also helped a lot.
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    Your Dream Business Is Here - It Won't Hurt You to Look & Take a FREE Tour
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    how much does checking your email actually make you every week or month .. and is there a better system you can use today .. to have people you want to contact you contact you than email .. is it your best way to communicate .. if not .. you should funnel business contacts to the most effective method for you to communicate ..

    or you can spend all day checking email ,or 50 other ways people can contact you today ..text message cellphone number. or what ever social media you are using .

    or tie those back to one email account which sends you alerts when you get a new message from say you tube or face book instgram ..and visually sort through for names you recognizze and are expecting to hear from ..

    then have another email address for the products you buy and email lists you get on ..and all the non income producing stuff ..

    business emailes here ..non business email over here .. check business stuff at scheduled times during the day.. and non business stuff on personal time

    I am tacking this on a day after my original comment..

    Abotu how much would you pay someone for an hour reading your email.. or to spend the same amount of time a week or day ..you spend reading emails or keeping up with customer contacts ..

    Is it anywhere near what you per hour value of the time you spend doing work that gets you paid .

    I may blab on and on against the mindset .. of thinking just putting in the time and hard work.. is the path to success ..but if much of that hard work..is really minimum wage work..or stuff you would eliminate if you had to pay someone else to do ..

    a lot of it is don't to feel much more important ..or much busier than a person really is ..

    but that is just my observation or opinion ..
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    "I just wanted a good job ,but i could not find a good job, So i do it myself"-Jack Ma

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