I am going to show you my personal method of dealing with distractions that kill productivity, thing like email, text, telephones, voice mail, instant messenger, and the plain old lure of the internet.
First, I am going to share my background premise for dealing with all of these things, including all other distractions, even ones I’ve not mentioned.
Then I will tell you how I deal with each of these distractions, one by one.
The real question is not, “how do I deal with these distractions?”
But instead, “what is really important to me?”
You see, I don’t believe distractions are any different than anything else we might choose to spend our time on. Except that because they occur at a time of their choosing, not ours, we call them distractions. You see, in and of themselves, they may not be wrong. But when they occur on their timing, not yours, that’s when the problem occurs.
You see, emails not bad in and of itself. It becomes bad when it rules your life.
Instant messenger is not bad in and of itself. It becomes bad when it rules your life.
To relate to something non-internet related – food is not bad in and of itself. It becomes bad when it rules your life, shortens your life, and takes your energy away.
Sex is not bad in and of itself. It becomes bad when it rules your life or is used outside of acceptable boundaries.
Playing video games is not bad in and of itself. It becomes bad when your grown son plays video games downstairs all day instead of getting a job.
Are you beginning to see that it’s not the distractions themselves… it’s their uncontrolled behavior that is the problem.
So, how do we fix it?
I think that first of all, we don’t start by saying “Ok, no more email, no more food, no more instant messaging, no more sex.”
I think instead we start with: “what do I really want?”
You see, once you create the framework for what you really want , then you can assign a priority to the “distractions”.
For example, let’s imagine that for food….instead of saying “Ok, I have to eat less bad food”, instead you start with the premise of what you want. You want to weigh 30 pounds less than you do. Notice I don’t frame this as “lose 30 pounds”.
Instead I frame it as “weigh 30 pounds less”.
The difference is that to “lose 30 pounds” you have to focus on “eating less”
But if you focus on “weighing 30 pounds less” (and frame it as “I want to weigh….175, for example (men, please 🙂 )”
Then instead of focusing on “eating less”, you focus on “eating exactly what is appropriate to weigh…175”
And when you do that, over time, your weight will approach your goal.
Sure, you will eat less…but your focus will be on what you DO eat, not on what you DON’T eat.
Do you see the difference here?
Now, let’s apply this to your business.
Instead of focusing on “not answering email” or “not answering the phone” – focus on the goal.
What is your goal?
Let’s set a 90 day imaginary goal here of creating 3 home study courses and a coaching program in the next 90 days.
Let’s assume you have 4 hours to work per day. If you have more time. your imaginary goal should be stiffer. If you have less time, your imaginary goal should be less. But for this example…4 hours.
That is 4 hours times 20 days a month = 80 hours.
Times 3 months = 240 hours.
Now how do you use the time to achieve your goal?
(Notice we are talking about filling your time with what you want to accomplish, not on getting rid of what you DON’T want to accomplish).
Let’s do it…3 products of 10 hours each. That is 30 hours of recording. Plus about 10 hours of research and preparation. 10 hours to write each sales letter. 10 hours to write 3 promotional emails per product.
This is 80 hours to create the 3 home study courses.
Next – coaching program. Let’s say you create 10 lessons in advance (I don’t recommend this method, but if you have the time and you want to create the lessons first….).
Each lesson takes 2 hours to prepare. That is 20 hours. Then 10 hours to write the sales letter. Then 10 hours to write the promotional email campaign.
That is 40 hours.
All together we are up to 120 hours.
That is 2 hours per day for 3 months or 5 day weeks.
We could stop now and this could accomodate those people who only have 2 hours.
But we won’t. Let’s assume you have 2 hours left per day in this schedule.
What if you were to write 4 articles per day, and repurpose each article as a content email in your email campaign?
After 60 days of work, you would have 240 articles online, and 240 emails in your email campaign (plus the 4 promotional email campaigns you created in your product creation time).
So let me ask you this….would it be worth it to you to just work on your product campaigns as described for 2 hours per day and write articles for 2 hours per day in order to have 3 home study courses, 1 coaching program, and 240+ emails in your email campaign?
Would it be worth it?
Compare it to the last 90 days of your life.
Did you accomplish as much?
Sure, you answered lots of emails.
You read lots of emails. You replied to lots of texts. And you answered the phone while working, surfed the web for new ways to make money online, looked for new traffic sources, etc.
But the truth of the matter is that you didn’t achieve your goals.
And the question is…was it worth it?
Was it worth it to answer all those emails, answer the phone, instant message, etc.?
Was it worth it?
So let’s go to another extreme…would it be worth it if you didn’t read a single email for 90 days, didn’t open skype for 90 days, didn’t answer the phone while working for 90 days?
And instead, you created 3 home study courses, a coaching program, 240 articles and 240 emails?
Would it be worth it?
Here’s the thing…once you decide that it would be worth it NOT to do all the things that keep you distracted… it becomes much easier to put them into perspective.
You see, once you’ve determined that you could liv e without them for 90 days, and have a better result , then it becomes easier to relegate them to something reasonable – like 20 minutes a day for answering emails, and not answering texts and the phone while working.
Now, 2 common objections I get to this…and I’m going to destroy them viciously now:
1) I have to answer all the emails my subscribers send me or they won’t buy from me.
Ok, if you are doing less than $5000 a month, then it should only take 10 minutes to answer ALL your subscribers questions each day, if you do it in one sitting, and only reply to each person once per day.
And if you are doing more than $5000 a month, then it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes a day – if you do it in one sitting. And at some point – maybe $10k a month – you make a choice - outsource if for $500 a month – have someone else answer - or stop offering email access as part of your programs and stop answering basic questions like “if I bu y your program will it do (x) for me?”
If you look closely at your sales numbers, only about 5% of your sales are likely coming from the people who ask questions, but if you are spending 2 hours a day answering those emails, then you are spending 25% of your time (of an 8 hour day) on 5% of your revenue.
Wouldn’t you be better off doing something else that would increase sales probably much more than 5% during those 2 hours a day, and just allow that 5% loss of sales to occur? Your total revenue would go up if that time was better allocated.
2) I have to read all the emails other marketers are sending me so that I stay abreast of all the new things in the marketplace and new ways to drive traffic.
Ok, here’s the question…how has that strategy been working for you? You see, if that’s what you have been doing, but you aren’t making the money you want, then it would make sense to me that the strategy of reading everyone else’s emails and learning their strategies by reading their emails…isn’t working for you.
Here’s the thing…you need to build a solid foundation before you start trying out new sources of traffic. Because every new source of traffic is reall y just a permutation on an old foundational source of traffic. And if you can’t make money with the old foundational sources of traffic…then you have n o business trying out a new source of traffic.
In all likelihood, and you know this if you’ve been trying different sources of new traffic, the new traffic isn’t going to perform any better than the old traffic. Because in all likelihood, you aren’t going to do any better job of driving this new source of traffic than you were with the foundational source.
Let me share something with you…. I still use the same traffic sources I have used for the last 5 years, and my business plan for the next 5 years calls not for adding tons of new sources of traffic, but instead scaling up by hiring more outsourcers, the exact same traffic sources I currently use. Sure, I tweak them from time to time, make changes the create operational increases in efficiencies…but I continue to use the tried and true traffic that’s been around for a long time, and will likely be here 5, 10, 20 years from now.
Instead of trying a new source each week, hoping to figure something new out that’s not evergreen, and in 6 – 12 months, when that traffic source no longer produces, I have to start all over again. Suffice this to say…I have built my business for the long term, building with traffic that is long term, not a short-term fad. Having said all of that….I don’t believe there is an y good reason to read emails for an hour a day to find out what your competitors are doing. If you want to know, set aside an hour a month for “competitor research”. But you don’t need to do it everyday.