Improve Your Productivity, Even When Faced With Barriers
|August 1, 2011||Posted by Louise under Time Management|
And now for something completely different! I want to address all of those barriers we internet marketers stumble over on our journey of building a viable online business.
Running into obstacles, as we learn how to set ourselves up, how to market our business, and how to use online tools, IS inevitable!
There’s so much to learn and so much to do when you get started. Doubly so if you are doing all of the footwork yourself.
Go to forums, talk with experienced marketers and you’ll see that they also struggle with time and what I call technical wormholes, a blanket term I use to describe all of those problems you run into as you try to get going that steal your time and drain your energy.
You know what I’m talking about. All of those tasks, products and software, usually technical but not always, that get you so frustrated and even angry, because you don’t get the expected and desired end-result. Some of them don’t work properly, some are not user-friendly, some of them are in their own technical wormhole. (Whispering behind hand: And some, we’ll keep this among ourselves, are due to our lack of knowledge, or forgetfulness, or moments of insanity, etc.)
Unproductive Reactions to Technical Wormholes
Scenario #1 – Sucked Into The Vacuum
Whatever the reason, sometimes when you hit this type of barrier you push forward with determination. You try and try to resolve the issue, but nothing works. And finally, the frustration starts to build. The air around you begins to swirl, like when a subway train arrives at the platform, and crackles with static. Soon enough, you hear what sounds like a very distant hum that grows stronger and stronger. You may not know it, but when you hear this, the time and energy suction of the technical wormhole has begun, keeping you glued to your chair.
You are oblivious to what’s happening around you. The children are running wild, the phone is ringing, the dog is scratching at the door, and something may be burning. You ignore it all, eyes glued to your monitor, your uncoordinated and frantic fingers trying to type a legible word, never mind a full sentence. Many times, at this point, your computer will also start to misbehave due to an overabundance of negative charges. But you pay no mind. You can no longer think clearly or even logically. The wormhole’s sucking power is stronger than you are, so you continue till you either resolve the issue or collapse with exhaustion (usually the latter).
When you come to, you often find your desk, and if you have kids, your house, a mess. You look at the clock and realize with a pang that the wormhole warped time and stole 3 to 4 hours of your day. And your productivity.
Scenario #2 The Destructive Waiting Game
This scenario often happens after scenario 1, but can also happen on its own. Sometimes when we face a technical wormhole, no matter the size, we shut down. We are so overwhelmed with trying to build, trying to learn, handling new software, generating content and let’s not forget juggling our regular offline lives that one little bump in the road feels like the Wall of China covered in barbwire. We find ourselves stuck at this one juncture, catatonic.
Meanwhile, time slips away and our business stalls. We sit at the bottom of that imaginary wall waiting and watching as other businesses march on. Do enough of this and we start to compare our progress with theirs. Without the snappy feel of productivity, we instead busy our minds with negative thoughts like we are not good enough and are not deserving of the same success. Eventually, we not only lose our momentum, but our confidence.
We also begin to feel resentful and stressed, because not only are we not moving forward in pursuit of our dream, but we are thinking of those lost hours of progress lurking, building, and waiting on the other side of that wall. The wall becomes thicker and more terminal than ever. It’s enough to make us want to turn around and forget we ever desired to build our own business in the first place. Keep at it long enough, and we are falling into a wormhole of self-destruction.
Productive Reaction to Technical Wormholes
The good news is we can prevent being victimized by technical wormholes. We have the power to choose a third and healthier option. This option involves the 80/20 rule, or more precisely, the Pareto Principle often used in business that states 80% of your success comes from only 20% of your efforts.
Said another way, only 20% of everything you do actually moves your business forward. Now if we go back to scenario 1 where we are trying over and over for 3 to 4 hours to solve some technical blunder, we can state that we are funneling 100% of our energy into one of those tasks in the 80% category that gets us nowhere. Thus, we are netting 0% results.
In scenario 2, we apply 0% effort and generate 0% results. If we eventually abandon our business altogether and self-destruct, then we are in a minus 0% range. Yes, I know that’s illogical. But then again, everything is illogical in the black matter of wormholes.
But what if we took the 80/20 rule and applied it to effectively dealing with technical wormholes? We would find some kind of solution and make progress without exhausting or self-destructing ourselves. Notice in both above scenarios, we are not pouring any energy into that 20% that will move us forward.
Step 1 – When running into difficulty, determine if resolving it will allow you to focus on that 20% that yields the best productivity today. If not, move on to a more productive task. If so, find the easiest solution and set a time limit, say 30 minutes.
Step 2 – If you still didn’t resolve the issue within your set time limit, move on to another productive business task. Sometimes, the easiest solution is to ask for help and while you’re waiting, pour your energy into another 20% task.
For example, it’s time to monetize your blog. You are using a new software to build a sales page and don’t know how to start. You thought you could wing it, but turns out you are getting nowhere. If you have access to the beginner’s tutorial, read the tutorial. If that doesn’t work, check out the FAQ section. If that fails, send an email for support and drop it for now. Move on to another task that will move your online business forward, such as adding content, or building relationships. You may not have built your sales page yet, but you will have familiarize yourself somewhat with your new software and despite the hitch, moved your business one step closer to success.
So, avoid the counter-productivity of time and energy sucking, technical wormholes. Plan your day by giving priority to those tasks in the productive 20% group. When you hit a bump, give it a reasonable time-controlled effort and move on to the next 20% item on your list.
Now, what about you? Do you run into wormholes or walls? What do you do? Please, share you comments.
Keep moving forward…