Do you ever have that feeling, when you sit down to work, that you have so much to do but don’t know where to start? I hope this illustration helps!
If you work from home… you’re familiar with the story.
6,435 things to do.
Limited time to do it.
Spend 15% of your time figuring out where to start.
Finish the work window having done nothing of lasting value.
Feel discouraged and annoyed.
The fact is when you are in charge of your own workload and projects, it can be daunting to get things done. And, even if you are getting things done, it’s hard to know if you’re doing the Right Things or if you’re just producing things that have little to no effect on your overall business.
Oh sure, fine, it’s not “all about the money”… but if you are taking time away from your family to create something of value and you aren’t choosing things that affect the bottom line, well… you aren’t making good business sense.
You’re working on your hobby.
The Degrees of Blogging…
Months ago, in a particularly Chicken With Its Head Cut Off phase, I sat down to the computer and had a moment of clarity. I simply did not have time to do all that “must be done.” I couldn’t do what everyone else was doing and I needed to hyper focus my time on things that would build my business to the benefit of my family.
This will mean different things for different people (that’s good!), but for me it meant:
- Forgetting social media unless I could schedule it far in advance. If I couldn’t, scrap it.
- Posting less times during the week. Too many posts means I don’t have time to promote them which means they sit there doing nothing which means they’re a waste of time for myself and my readers.
- Wisely choosing activities that build my business in multiple ways. I.e. writing a blog post that has an opt in that sells a product that puts them in a funnel that gives value.
How Many Degrees Away From the Bottom Line Is It?
Then I had a fun thought. As I sat down to contemplate working on a task, I thought to myself, “How many degrees from the bottom line is this?” If it was a few degrees from the bottom line and didn’t benefit my readers in a big way – or it took too much time – I just crossed it off the list and moved on with life.
We don’t want to be greedy.
We don’t want to be money hungry.
We don’t want to take the heart and soul out of our business.
So what do we want?
To stop spending valuable time away from our family doing stuff that earns us no money and that readers don’t care about or that build someone else’s platform.
Is It Important, Urgent, Or Busy Work?
Important Things Include:
- Creating valueable and informative products
- Creating free series or blog posts for readers
- Emailing your list with free information or products of value
- Brainstorming for your overall business strategy
Urgent Things Include:
- Getting that blog post published
- Sponsored work
- Social Media Answering and chatting
- Doing things you’ve been procrastinating
Busy Things Include:
- Things that don’t *have* to get done
- Networking or over-spending time on FB groups
- Endless tweaking
- Lots of planning and no execution
Ultimately, you’ll need a mix of these, but if you spend the least amount of your time on Important things, you’ve got a problem.
Is It a Long Term Investment or Short Term?
When possible, aim towards long term investments. Seasonal or very short burn posts are not a good use of time. Why? Because for the other 11 months of the year and 2 weeks no one cares. So, where possible (unless it’s your business strategy) focus on creating evergreen content that you can use can promote over and over.
Long Term Investments:
- blog posts
- email series
- products (this may be information products or physical ones for an etsy shop)
- opt-ins and freebies
Short Term Investments:
- social media posts (unless it’s for your shop)
- sponsored work
- hyper specific content
Again, a mix may be needed at times, but the majority of your working time should focus on Long Term Investments because this will continue to reap you benefits for years and years. The short term will need to be constantly replicated.
Is it Quick or Time Consuming?
If you take 8 hours on every blog post, but you only work in 1 hour blocks then you’ll never move forward. This means that it may take you an entire week to put out one blog post and one blog post won’t build a business. If you spend multiple sessions on one activity you become discouraged and motivation suffers.
Quick Tasks (If you have one spare hour you can do the following):
- check email
- add affiliate links to existing posts
- outline future posts
- send an email to your list
- tweak editorial calendar
- schedule social media
Time Consuming Tasks (that you can do in larger sittings):
- blog post writing
- product creation (books, courses, printables, physical products etc.)
- creating videos or audio
There will need to be time for all of it throughout the month, but don’t use your valuable writing time to do busy work.
Does It Affect Your Bottom Line or Is It Vanity?
Different businesses will have various ways to earn money. For example, fashion bloggers earn big money on Instagram whereas a parenting blogger may be wasting time there. Some people make good money off their FB page through traffic or affiliate links, while others spend hours a day and get nothing. The key is to question what a certain activity does for YOUR business and if the answer is nothing… find the courage to give it up.
How do these benefit your business:
- Email Marketing
- Blog Posts
- Sponsored Posts
- Affiliate marketing
Whichever of these do the most for your business, do more of that. Keep the content coming at such a rate you keep loyal readers, but don’t over-estimate how much they want to hear from you. Serve more where you want people.
If Facebook and Instagram do nothing for you, put that extra time in your Pinterest strategy. If sponsored posts pay very little and are time consuming, put that time into product creation.
You Are Your Own Boss
At the end of the day, it’s you who determines the direction of your business. You’ll remember if all that blood, sweat, and tears were worth it or whether they just took you from your family and left you with very little. If something doesn’t work for you, scrap it. If it does, keep doing it.
Don’t worry about what others are doing.
Don’t give in to peer pressure.
Just do what is working for you.
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