Tag Archives: Productivity Tips

Success Is Achieved By Getting Your Priorities In Check. What Are Your Priorities?

success-is-achieved-by-priorites

It might appear to be a very strange question, especially from a blog about making money online but I have my reasons for asking.

You see, I don’t think failure is always down to people NOT doing certain things but can also be because many people do OTHER things which prevent them succeeding in the very thing that they really want. For many of us – maybe most of us –  spare time and money is in short supply.

This doing of OTHER things can be the result of many habits or circumstances, such as not having a lot of funds but spending whatever spare cash they do have on doing everyday pleasures like eating takeaways or popping out for a few beers.

These things do give us pleasure but only for a few hours and we humans crave instant gratification often opting to have a quick pleasure now instead of the long term pleasure brought about from accomplishing a goal.

Sometimes we spend our spare time and money on things not because we want to but out of a habit, a craving for instant pleasure or even for other people’s pleasure such as a loved one.

As the old saying goes ‘time is money’’– and it is. Time is our most valuable asset and money is our most powerful tool, but if you are unable to spare much of either then your chances of success can be pretty low.

So to succeed you need to invest either your time or money or both but when you are an average person with a day job and a partner with short supply of time and money you can often find yourself stuck in what feels like a vacuum watching your spare time and money being sucked away from you.

Relationships are great, to spend your life with someone who cares about you and someone you care about can be very rewarding but it can also rob you off a lot of valuable time. Your husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend obviously wants to spend time with you, this is understandable but they also want to spend time with their friends – with you, and they want to do things – often with you.

The things they want to do such as going out for meals, going on holidays, going out drinking and dancing, having days out to the seaside or shopping trips in big cities, going to the cinema or seeing shows or even just having a quiet night in with a film, a bottle of wine and a takeaway costs money. They also add up in hours.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should suddenly become single and get rid of your loved one or your family nor am I saying that you cannot or should not enjoy time with them or enjoy doing things.

What I am saying is, and I speak from a lot of personal experiences, is to be aware of what you are doing, what you are spending your time and money on and what that could be doing to your chances of success.

I have noticed that over the years I have been to more ‘friends’ gatherings thanks to the better half than going to gigs or music events. I for one prefer the latter. I have had some great nights with friends but often I would find that I had spent money which – at that time – I could ill afford on food and drink at these gatherings.

Then when I saw a poster or promotion for a gig that I really would have loved to have gone to I didn’t because I chose to save what little money I had left for more important things. Which really sucked when you consider what I had managed to waste money on. Had I been single I would have chosen more of the latter.

The same thing is said for time, time is very precious and I am also guilty of wasting time watching pointless soaps and TV shows which have done nothing more for me than pass time. Much of it wasn’t even that enjoyable either! When I was single I very rarely watched the TV until I crawled into bed, I would wind down with a film or some comedy. Now I end up sitting and watching the TV while I chat to the family.

Now here is the thing, we often do things without thinking. I too have called at Starbucks or Costa Coffee for a quick drink now and then but I certainly won’t make a habit of it though. I know people who call in regularly, spend up to £30 a week on coffee and the odd cake or panini then complain that they have no money left for that gig or party that they fancy.

Correct me if I am wrong but spending money each week on things that you can get from home is wasting valuable money that you could be using for ‘other’ fun things. Especially if money and time is in short supply, why would you waste it on things that are just short temporary pleasures?

I use gigs and other fun things as the example to what we miss out on by being sucked into doing things we would rather not do but the time and money could be spent on doing things which could change your life for the better. You could be working on a business or a book, something that could drastically improve your lifestyle.

Not everyone has the same amount of resources and with all of us living different lifestyles no two lives are the same. I agree that we all have 24 hours in a day but I don’t buy into that ‘we all have the same amount of time’ line. We do all have 24 hours a day but circumstances and choices often dictate what time we are left with spare.

Even choices we have made in the past dictate our amount of spare time, and they cannot just be stopped or changed at the drop of a hat. If you chose to have children then you cannot just get rid of them to free up time.

So the next time someone tries to make you feel bad for not having much time and use the words ‘You chose to have children’ just ignore them for being a prat no matter if it is technically true. What you need to do is realise what time you are wasting on doing the things that you do not want to do – ignoring those that you have to do as part of your life or family responsibilities.

Earning money to put food on the table and the roof over your family’s heads is very important. Running your partner or children around to friends houses or doing stuff with them is very important.

But going to the pub to drink several glasses of beer or wine while you gossip or sit and watch families fall out in soap operas is not important. They are the things that you chose to do in the here and now and they are also things that can change now. If time and money is in short supply then you need to prioritise and become more selfish and ruthless with your time.

If you want to change your life, your job or your lifestyle and you need to build or grow a business, make more money or even write that bestselling novel you will need to spend the time and money on making it happen.
And if that means saying no to less nights out and less meals with your friends or your partner’s friends then so be it. What you are losing out on in the long run is probably far more than what you are gaining in the short term.

How To Write Books And Articles Using Only Your Voice In Google Docs

In today’s article we are going to discuss a wonderful tool that you will find in Google Docs. I have recorded a special video showing you how to use this wonderful tool which you can see below.

This tool is voice to text recorder and that means you can sit and speak at your tablet, your laptop, into a headset, or into a microphone and whatever you say will be turned into written text on your screen in your Google document. What you will need to do is proofread and edit the written words for things such as full stops and commas and capital letters, but what this does is it allows you to unload a whole ream of mental chatter and words allowing you the freedom to speak and create whole articles or even a book which you then later edit.

ready to record

In fact this whole article has been written simply by using the headset microphone. I have sat here speaking into the microphone saying what I wanted to say and then all I’m going to do it’s go back and edit the text so the text that you are reading now with all its capital letters and full stops, they have been added in later.

The actual bulk of the written article has been done by voice only.

recording

Google Docs is free if you have a Gmail account, you can access Google Docs along with other tools such as Google Spreadsheets and Google Drive.

Kindle Self Publishing Masterclass New ModuleGoogle Docs is a free version of Microsoft Word and it is wonderful especially this free record to text tool which basically allows you to put your feet up speak into the microphone and write an article without even having to touch the keyboard, apart from as I say, when you come to edit.

So please watch the video below, I am more than certain that you will be amazed at what this tool can do and what it can do for you if you are perhaps a slow typer or if you just simply do not like typing if that is the case then Google Docs and the Google voice to text recorder is the tool for you.

Why Sticking With One Style Of Content Is King

There is a saying that content is king, and this is true, when you can churn out quality content about a specific niche or topic then you have a better chance of getting new and repeat visitors to your website.

We Minions advocate using many of the social media networks as you can without spreading yourself too thinly but these different networks and platforms tend to lend themselves to different mediums for example Instagram is for pictures only and YouTube is for videos.

When running an online business it is good to be able to create different media to let people enjoy what it is that you do or showcase your talents, services or business. But there is a downside to using all of these different styles of media.

It takes time to learn and then create good quality products in different media especially if what you do doesn’t crossover to certain media or network well. In the last article How The Technology We Take For Granted Today Could Make You Rich And Famous I talked about how DJs used most of if not all of the free social media networks. This can be a lot of work if you are trying to maintain a website too and create content for that.

For those DJs, they create videos and music and nothing else really. They will do status updates and share pictures but they do not do create other content that requires a lot of effort. The videos they create are often very easy for them and they use social media to keep people up to date with what they are up to.

Creating videos is good if you are a singer, musician, or a chef but what if you are a creative person and your website or business requires a lot of writing. Creating videos then could become a burden and hard work.

If you were writing stories as an example and it took a fair bit of time to write those stories and upload them to your site or stores like Amazon Kindle then what videos could you create to generate more traffic or sales? You could do a few ‘author updates’ maybe but if you were writing a book which was zombie fiction then trying to create a decent ‘zombie’ video is going to require a lot of time and possibly money.

You would need extras to play the zombies, you would need a couple of cameras for different angles, you would need someone to play the victim and hero of the short film. The film would probably need to be set at a specific location and it might need specific props like guns.

Prop guns can cost hundreds of pounds to hire for the day and will require training too. The film would need editing and it would also need some half decent special effects to make it look good and not ridiculous like the appalling ‘2012 Zombie Apocalypse’ film I watch recently.

zombie apocalypse

You could maybe do a few ‘zombie prank’ videos and use some friends and family to play the zombies for free or in exchange for food and drink with the main focus of the videos on the reactions of the general public who are pranked or maybe have some short zombie animation done but that I can tell you would not be cheap or quick.

cyanide and happiness

Cyanide and Happiness do short online comic strips and have been doing it for many years. They have only just branched out to create short animated cartoons but they themselves do not make the cartoons. They draw the characters and write the short story but they then pass it over to the animators to create the final cartoon.

This is going to be costly, a writer could have small cartoons made but if you are starting out then you are going to struggle as you will need to find the money to pay for cartoons and artwork to be made.

Using the example of the ‘writer’ creating stories, the writer could utilse Instagram by creating images using lines from their stories or pictures of themselves working away or other ‘interesting’ images like the view from their writing room window or wherever they happened to be writing at that time but they might need to forget using videos as the time and effort needed to create them could be best spent on writing more stories or articles.

ali campbell just get on with it book

Pictures courtesy: Ali Campbell Coaching Facebook

Life coach and close friend to Tim Lowe and the Minion’s Ali Campbell would do a ‘view from the coffee cup’ series of photos while he was writing his best selling book ‘Just Get On With It’ This was an interesting way to inform people of what was going on and let them know he was still around while he was busy writing.

If your strengths lie in writing then maybe it is best to focus on that and churn out as much quality content as you can as this will find its way into the hands of good fans and would be shared for you across social media including the networks you prefer not to use. You can build up a brand and a following quicker focusing on the one or two things you do best.

If on the other hand you decided to do a few videos and a few audio podcasts as well as write your stories it is possible that you only manage to get a few stories written and a few poor videos and podcasts recorded which could be more harmful than good. It would slow down your progress.

I have used the example of a writer for this article but all online businesses can learn from this. We often hear of ‘what system is good’ for sales or traffic and then dive head first into doing that as well as all of the other things we do but unless you already have the skills, talent or money to focus on another method without it affecting the one you are already really good at then I suggest you do nothing until you are in a position where you can.

The DJs I spoke about earlier rarely write articles about music or create animation or share images with quotes that are branded with their logos, no they just stick to doing what they do best and what they know works which is create video and radio podcasts and then share them on social media along with additional pictures and status updates.

kutski scratch video

If you are really good at one thing then it makes sense to really focus on that and capitalise on your strengths. It will have a far better effect for you to churn out a lot of high quality articles (if your strength is writing) than trying several methods at once and only getting several ok videos, images, podcasts etc done.

The same can be said for social media platforms, if you are great with Facebook and Twitter but cannot get to grips with YouTube, Google Plus, Instagram and Tumblr then forget those networks and focus on those that will get you the best results which will undoubtedly be the ones you do best.

Focus on one strategy, take it as far as you can and maximise on it and then maybe branch into other methods when you have some spare time and/or money.

Are You Overindulging In The Wrong Things & Under Indulging In The Right Things?

It is that time again, where many people overindulge in things like food and drink and spend a lot of their time visiting friends and partying. There is nothing wrong with this in general but you do have to ask ‘why do we overindulge in the things that makes us feel bad and guilty?’ which is generally what happens.

My better half avoids foods with a lot of sugar and gluten because they make her ill, and I do mean ill, she is not following some diet fad or avoiding them because she thinks she will get fat or may feel a little icky, she does genuinely get ill and feel very bad with it.

Christmas time is a time where people tend to eat a lot of rich foods which have a lot of gluten and sugar in them and there is also a lot of alcohol drank at this time which is also sugar rich so as you can understand she cannot overindulge in that kind of food at this time of the year or any time of the year.

I myself avoid a lot of cheese, alcohol and sugar because it too makes me feel rough but fortunately I am not intolerant like my better half nor do I suffer anywhere as bad as she does but I personally do not enjoy feeling rough or sickly so why would I want to eat a lot of the foods which in truth gives me only a small moment in pleasure compared to the length of time I feel rough?

What is strange is that a lot of people do this over and over again, they use Christmas time as an excuse to do the bad things instead of the good things even though they will spend most of January talking about how ‘rough they feel’ and how much they ‘wish they hadn’t’.

When it comes to learning and developing new skills or building a business we often do the same especially at times like Christmas. Now I am not saying that you should not take time off or have a holiday but if you are looking to change your life which is dependant on you doing specific tasks to help you move forward or develop new skills then it is illogical to ruin your chances of success for nothing more than the fleeting pleasure gained from doing other things. Isn’t it?

I have seen businesses collapse due to the owners preferring to go for a beer or two with their friends and then complain about how they missed their business and how they wished they could give it a second go. I am not talking about people who are battling an addiction like alcoholism but people just choosing to go drinking and socialising over getting jobs done.

Again I am not saying that you cannot have fun and spend an evening socialising with friends now and then if that is what you want but I am saying why would you do it regularly when it is going to cause more harm than good in the long run?

Before I became a writer and content creator I used to work as a joiner working in joinery workshops and on site doing private work. When I was younger before I started to work for myself I was employed for a company and being young I wanted to go out drinking with my friends which I often did. Those boozy evenings would finish with a pizza for the walk home.

beer and pizza

I soon learned that if I drank too much I would have a terrible hangover and would find it hard to work, I also realised that I was mildly lactose intolerant and that the combination of beer and cheese would have a devastating affect on my stomach the following morning and so it was important that I was in the workshop or a building where I was very close to a toilet. Not an enjoyable situation I know.

I soon learned that I couldn’t work like that, I was running the risk of losing my job if I did not put in a proper day’s work and I couldn’t risk working with a dodgy belly if I was out on site and I certainly couldn’t work like that when I became self employed so I consciously chose not to drink a lot when it was a ‘school night’ as we call it or eat food that was good for me if I wasn’t sure where I was working the next day.

It has been years since I have worked with a hangover and I am happy to admit that, I know many people think it is funny and cool and wear such stories as a ‘badge of honour’ but I don’t or cannot. Only the other day there were a couple of friends reminiscing about past drunken adventures on Christmas eve when I popped out for a quick beer.

I will only allow myself to lose a day when I have a day spare with no plans, I cannot afford to lose a day through self indulgent eating, drinking or whatever it is. I am not talking about ‘afford to lose a day’ in a financial sense, I am referring to time.

Time is also another indulgence that can be destructive, iIf you wanted to become a successful copywriter and knew that being one could change your life and improve your financial situation then you would spend every spare moment you had learning and crafting your skills wouldn’t you?

So why is it then that most people who want to change their lives actually do the opposite? When they should be working, practicing or studying they end up going to friends houses, out for meals or to bars when they receive an invite.

The reason I wrote this article is that this time of the year is well known for over indulging and it inspired me to bring to attention some of the things people do that are harmful and damaging which oddly they never realise they are doing.

It isn’t until they take a step back and look at what they are doing, or if someone looking in from the outside tells them what they see, that they realise what they are doing that could be detrimental to their success and preventing them from improving their lifestyle.

It reminds me of the time I decided to give up sugar in my tea, I wanted to give it up but at the same time I would justify having sugar by thinking it was ‘only one spoonful, it’s not a lot really’. I spent a long time ‘wanting’ to give up sugar but never actually stopped then one day I decided to count up how many cups of tea I would have each day, I multiplied it by seven days and then I took a cup and a spoon and began to add sugar to the cup for each cup of tea I had that week until I was left with a cup completely full and overspilling with sugar.

I could then see how much extra sugar I was really having each week and it was a lot, my mind was blown and from that day I have not had a cup of tea with sugar since. I took a step back and looked at what I was doing with fresh eyes, I was able to see where I was going wrong, the damage I was causing and was motivated to make the changes I needed and wanted to make in order to stop having sugar in my tea.

So to bring this newsletter to a close just as the New Year begins I want to ask, are there things that you are overindulging in that could be damaging your success and are there any good things that you need to indulge in more to increase your chances of changing and improving your life?

Have a Happy New Year from us all at Tims Minions Blog and the Digital Academy 🙂

the digital academy

The Destructive Habit Of Taking Too Much On And Spreading Yourself Too Thinly

In this modern age we are led to believe that we should be constantly busy and that we should be doing several things at once. The old saying ‘you are a long time dead’ is often said by people trying to cram a lot of things into their lives but doing too much is actually very damaging to your potential success, your life and often your health.

This is something that I have done many times in the past and have been close to doing it again recently but I am trying to manage it by delaying some things that I need and want to get done until the New Year.

If I didn’t then the chances are that all of the things that I need or want to do will not be finished or at least finished in the best way possible. When you are doing too much you simply cannot give the proper focus and attention that each task/job requires and that just leads to them not being finished or as I mentioned earlier, they will be finished but they will not be to the standard that you hoped for or even planned.

(There is a true story towards the bottom of this post that highlights the dangers perfectly of taking on too much and spreading yourself thinly.)

Currently I am doing my Minions work, trying to learn hypnotherapy, doing several major DIY projects to my home, writing a couple of books and much more. As I am a qualified joiner have been asked by my parents to do some work at their home which would also involve some plastering and as my plasterer friends are so swamped with work lately I considered doing the plastering myself which would mean me having to learn how to plaster like a professional.

I checked out a few crash courses online and found that the nearest intensive plastering course is a four day course about an hours drive away. I even asked a friend if he would teach me and he agreed but I realised that I just could not do it right not, especially as Christmas is approaching fast.

I have had to shelve that idea for now and plan it for the New Year along with writing my books and learning the hypnotherapy which fortunately is an ongoing online course already paid for and I can come back to when I am ready.

If I carried on trying to do all the things now that I want to do then nothing would be completed, there would be unfinished jobs around the house (as I write this there are but I am working on them when I get the time… honest!) and my writing would suffer greatly because everytime I try and do half hour here or an hour there I get lost and cannot get into a real creative flow.

In fact I spend most of my precious ‘book writing’ time trying to remember what has happened and who did what and when as well as figuring out where I had last been editing.

I have a plan of how the story goes and pre wrote a basic backbone to the story and the main chapters and now I am going through the different sections ‘fattening’ them out with new dialogue and better structure so you can see it gets confusing when I haven’t written anything for a fortnight.

my writing

I have now moved the deadline for the book to the middle of next year and no longer work on it to free up time for other more important and pressing tasks.

Once those tasks are completed and have been ticked off then I shall start writing again, it has taken a lot of effort and conscious decision making to get myself to prioritise certain jobs and tasks over others and to then postpone those lesser priority tasks.

Why? Because I want and need to do them all and I want to accomplish them all now. Which is dangerous thinking.

The truth is though that I cannot do them all now, I was failing miserably and I only have myself to blame. As a writer I know full well that writers generally finish one book before they start another and very often lock themselves away from the world to really focus on that one job avoiding much of the everyday demands of life.

And so here I am trying to do many separate jobs along with all of the everyday demands of life and getting nowhere.This might sound pretty obvious to you, it is to me and yet I catch myself doing it every now and then and what is incredible is that loads of people do it and simply do not realise.

I come from a family where it was considered wrong to be single minded and obsessive about certain things but the truth is that kind of thinking is wrong… it is being single minded and obsessive about one or a few things that lead to them being finished quicker and at a higher quality too.

I am not talking about the manic obsessiveness that some people have which drives them to do dangerous and foolish things but a healthy obsession which drives you to finish something to the best of your ability and then, when it has been completed, you start another task and obsess about it until it is done.

Obviously life gets in the way and it is not always easy to focus on just the one task especially when you need to earn money, spend time with the family or doing things to improve the home and family life like the DIY projects that I have going on at the moment which are numerous but you can limit yourself to a smaller number of jobs and focus on them until they are done.

If you don’t then you have taken on too much and you are spreading yourself and your efforts out too thinly. The chances are that you will not get things finished, or if you do they will likely be substandard..

I want to finish off with a true story of someone I know who had the courage at an early age to buy an ex council depot, it was a huge property and he had a vision of turning it into his home, several flats and a couple of commercial properties. It was a big development that required a lot of borrowed money and it was a huge undertaking for someone in his early twenties.

After owning the property for nearly 18 years he was forced to sell it after he and his wife divorced. They were divorced because the development was not finished, living in it for nearly 16 years with a young child had put a big strain on the relationship. The property was still not finished when it was finally sold this year leaving him with a lot of large debts still.

For 18 years the developer jumped from one task to another, he would start a big job like adding a second floor to the first flat which originally was a single story building but once the windows and roof were fitted to the new storey he started another project such as knocking down the old workshop and building three new flats which needed further funding from the bank.

When the brickwork shell of those three new flats were built and the roof and windows were fitted he then started something else ‘big’ requiring more money . Occasionally he would drop onto those ‘previous’ jobs that he had started but as each week passed his list of jobs and tasks that he was working on grew.

The list of things to finish off was also growing and the list of things that were ‘not finished’ was not only growing it had not changed much over several years. Windows were made and fitted but were never painted for many years. Stairwells to flats were built but also never finished, the old dilapidated roof was replaced with a new one but the fascia boards and guttering were never fitted and had stayed like that for almost 18 years.

The time came when the property values dropped, the bank wanted its money back and the wife had had enough and decided to leave taking the daughter with him. His world crashed big time and he was left with no option but to put the property up for sale,

Sadly the development was bought by the ex wife’s brother, for a price that was half of what it could be worth finished, and within a few short months many of those ‘unfinished’ tasks were completed and the development was starting to look finished.

That is because they created a simple to do list, they prioritised what needed doing first, what they needed to spend money on and when and they needed to do it.

They only focused on those prioritised jobs until they were completed before moving onto other work. Unfortunately if my friend had done that from the beginning the development would have been finished 15 or so years ago and he would probably still would have been the owner and still married.

So it is with that sad but true story that I reiterate the dangers of taking on too much and spreading yourself too thinly because if you do, you are setting yourself up to not accomplish your goals and quite possibly lose a lot more than you expect.

Oh and by the way, the sad but true story does have a happy ending, he is now in a new relationship and they have had a child together and he is living a less stressful life and pretty happy. 🙂

Why A Little Bit Of Procrastination Is Good For The Brain

Today’s article came from doing exactly that, I couldn’t figure what to write about and when I should have been sitting down writing down ideas and brainstorming I realised I was doing anything and everything but.

Many gurus and lifestyle coaches would say that I was procrastinating and not getting on which is correct but I do think that not all procrastination is bad. Instead of writing I had the internet radio station Kool London on playing old school 1990s rave music and while bopping away I was tidying up my desk and reorganising the layout of my laptops and note pads etc.

desk

The better half came in to ask if I wanted any dinner making and when she saw the desk she remarked on how better it looked. I responded by saying that it was really a pointless task that I was doing instead of getting on and that I was in reality just procrastinating.

This then started a conversation about how taking yourself away for five minutes and doing something completely different takes the minds focus off what you were doing and can in fact refresh the brain into coming up with some different ideas either while away from the desk or when you get sat back at the computer.

In fact my messing around moving stuff around meant that I had this conversation and that I came up with the idea for this post. Had I not done the tidying up and reshuffle I would have stayed sat staring at the computer drawing up a blank when trying to think up ideas.

Showers & Toilets:The Eureka Spots!

It is often said that most people get their best ideas and inspired thoughts while having a shower or being sat on the toilet, sounds hard to believe but it is true. When you are doing something like having a shower your mind is completely off the task at hand and is not bogged down with information that could in fact cause you to fail to ‘see the wood from the trees’.

Einstein has a wonderful quote where he said:

einstein quote

Solutions and ideas come easier when we take our minds out of the mind frame we are in when struggling to figure out what to do or how to solve a problem, usually we try and figure out the solutions and ideas right after the problem has arisen which means we are using the same ‘muddled’ mind frame.

The best solution, unless time is an issue and you are up against it in a major crisis, is to take yourself away and have some time out. Maybe have a brew in the garden, take a walk in the nearest park, chat to family, maybe even watch some TV or do something else completely different like do some meditation or yoga stretches.

Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!

Procrastination is seen as a really bad thing in a world where we are meant to be super ‘productive’ but I love the old Buddhist saying ‘Don’t just do something, sit there’ which is the anti ‘Don’t just sit there. do something’ saying that I used to hear quite a bit from my mother as a teenager. 🙂

don't just do something... sit there

The other ‘modern’ Buddhist quote that I love is ‘Sit happens’ which is a play on the term ‘shit happens’. Both those Buddhist quotes are trying to promote sitting in silence and contemplating or quiet thinking.

The reason for this is that quiet thinking takes your mind away from the stress of the problem and calms down the over reactional fast thinking that happens and quietens the mind to allow those ‘ideas’ and ‘answers’ to freely float forward into your consciousness.

In the excellent book ‘Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude’ by Napoleon Hill and W. Success-Through-A-Positive-Mental-Attitude-Napoleon-Hill-W-Clement-StoneClement Stone they talk about the American philosopher, teacher, scientist and inventor Dr Elmer Gates who would lock himself away in a small soundproofed room where he would ‘sit for ideas’ as he called it with a notepad and pen.

He would sit in the quiet without any distractions and not leave until he had ‘thought up’ or had an answer ‘revealed’ to him. He had his secretary take all calls and gave her strict instructions that while he was in the ‘room’ he was not to be disturbed until he came out.

The room only had a plain table and chair and was designed specifically for sitting and thinking/listening. OK so this room and what Dr Gates did is very anti procrastination to a degree but what I wanted to get across is how he took himself off somewhere else to refresh the mind and take it away from the problems and stresses it would normally be under in the normal daily office environment.

Too Much Procrastination Is Bad

Constant procrastination is very dangerous and can rob a person of a lot of productivity and lead to failure big time but there is a big difference between a lot of procrastination or should we say a habitual procrastinator and someone who now and then finds themselves drifting onto other things when they should be getting on.

The occasional bit of procrastination is good and can be very helpful but if you find yourself procrastinating everyday and nothing is getting done then yes you have a problem and need to have a big long talk with yourself and try and figure out why you are procrastinating a lot or what is the motivator that is stopping you from just ‘getting on’ with what needs doing.

But if you do find yourself drifting off and doing something else now and then like I did before I wrote this article, do not be too hard on yourself. Instead observe your thoughts and pay attention to what you have been thinking about because you might be surprised to find that there was gold running through your mind while you were off having fun and that gold could be the answer to a problem that you have been looking for!

The PLURfect Way To Run An Online Business.

I write this article not just for you but also as a strong reminder for myself. You see, I am paid to write content for the Tim’s Minions Digital Academy and this blog/newsletter but I am also required to test out new methods and ideas as well as figure out new ways to make money online.

There is a lot of work involved and there are a lot of tasks that I need to perform and this means that I have a lot of distractions and my focus and attention can soon be lost when I remember the other tasks I need to do.

What happens then is I generally start something new, do it well for a few days then I begin to move onto other stuff and then I realise that I haven’t done an important ‘new’ specific task for a week or two. The tasks themselves are not overly hard; the hardest part is sticking with them and doing them religiously.

Because I am trying new things regularly I need to constantly update my planner and if I forget to do it every now and then I can soon forget about the ‘new‘ tasks and the whole system that I am doing can fall apart… or at least not grow the way it should do or how we expect it to.

Sometimes the boredom of doing the same old things can become an issue or the results are slow to come and so you find yourself doing less of the things that really need doing. For example, I am currently testing out YouTube, I am seeing how easy it is to create a series of unique videos which are simple and fast to make which can generate money from being a YouTube Partner.

The Great YouTube Experiment

the great youtube experiment

The creative side of me loved getting the preparation done, I got the green screen up and ready, I created the script, I sourced clothing and music that I needed and I set about creating my first videos. It was fun as it was new territory for me, I wasn’t sure that the green screen and video software that I was using would work. It was all about playing around and trying new things.

Well I am happy to say that it went well, I got six videos recorded ready to be edited into the final productions that I would upload to YouTube. I spent time editing and adding the music and images to five of the videos which have now been added to YouTube. So far so good as they say.

I got the YouTube channel created, and the channel images made and added, I also got a relevant website page set up which I added to the video description boxes as well as an affiliate link to a T-Shirt I was wearing in the video. I can safely say that most of the hard work is now done… or is it?

I know that these five videos will not make huge amounts of money; it is possible that they do better than I expect but realistically I need to add loads to YouTube and get them shared out so that I get more advert views and clicks. So now I have the ‘easy’ but ‘hard’ task of creating more videos.

It is easy because as I now have a system and a plan, I simply set up my camera again and record the video as I did before without the concerns like ‘whether it will work or not’.

It is hard because I now have to make sure that I spend some time each week recording new videos, editing those videos and getting them on YouTube whilst still doing all of my other weekly tasks. This is the hardest part for me and for most people. It is the continuous repetition of important and often ‘boring’ tasks which makes a business or project a success.

I believe that if I add new videos to the channel constantly then I can generate a good following and a decent monthly income from it but if I do not keep creating videos then I shall not get the results that I plan or expect.

In my mind’s eye I can see the success, it is there instantly and I can enjoy it but what my imagination does not comprehend is the long term ongoing project of creating those videos.

That can become tedious and boring and if I manage to upload ten or fifteen videos and still see very little traction I could become disheartened and disillusioned which will lead to me possibly giving up or I just simply forget to ‘keep on top’ of the important task and let it all slip into failure.

Failure And Success Are Often In Our Own Hands

Failure is often no one else’s fault other than our own; most people procrastinate or give up too soon. People do not like a lot of hard work no matter how easy the tasks really are especially if they are not seeing results fast enough. We allow ‘other things’ to get in the way of the important tasks, those tasks which will eventually make the business a success.

We can flip from one idea to another when things are not working. We have all heard of the saying ‘don’t flog a dead horse’ with many people using that as the excuse for packing in. But you can see when a ‘horse is dead’; you cannot however know that a business idea is dead or will not work so easily. As the results are future based and rely on what you do, only time will really tell if something is going to work and be a success or not.

I want to say that if my YouTube trial was not making any decent money after one year and one hundred video uploads then it is probably safe to assume that I am flogging a dead horse but again the truth is this… it might be video 102 that really goes viral and gets the ball rolling and brings in the success that I expect. It is not always easy to know when to really stop, oddly though many people stop when they think they know based on results which have not yet had time to come to fruition.

Take the legendary Manchester band The Stone Roses as an example. They released their debut album in 1989 which has become an all-time classic but they originally formed six years earlier in 1983. Had they decided that after three or four years of performing at gigs and trying to get record deals that they would never make it big and that it was time to give up they would never have become the band the world knows and loves.

the stone roses

But they didn’t, they kept on and they kept practicing and churning out music until it went crazy for them.

I am not saying that if everyone sticks at something for a long time they will all become a success but you are more likely to become a success if you do not give up too early and make sure that those important and dull tasks are done regularly.

That is what I need to remind myself of now; the green screen is set up in another part of the house away from my office. I need to make sure that I take my laptop and second monitor to that room and record more videos each week otherwise I am not going to become a YouTube success story.

I might have to look at my workload and see if there is something I can and should drop to free up the time I need otherwise the YouTube experiment could soon join the popular club of ‘many failed attempts’ that were the fault of nobody else but the people themselves.

As you might notice in a lot of my writing, I talk about longevity and persistence and that is because I see on a regular basis a lot of people starting something new and then giving up way too soon before they have even had a chance to plant the seeds that could grow into something really good.

PLUR Your Way To Success

Write on a piece of paper PLUR and put it somewhere where you can see it every day. I have borrowed the saying from the old rave community… it stood for Peace, Love, Unity & Respect which is a great philosophy to live by but I have modified it for people who want to grow a profitable online business.

To us, PLUR stands for…

Persistence, Longevity, & Unrelenting Repetition.

plur

To grow a successful online business you need …

Persistence – You need to keep at it otherwise you will not get the results you desire.

Longevity – You need to give the business time to grow and breathe. You cannot plant the seeds to success if you pack up too soon.

Unrelenting Repetition – Whatever it is that you are doing you need to be unrelenting in your repetition of those long dull tasks which help to grow the business. If you enjoy those tasks that is brilliant but there are tasks that you will hate and those are the ones that most likely need to be done weekly or even daily like writing articles, writing books, creating videos, designing T-Shirts or sharing your work over social media.

Whatever it is… love it or hate it… you need to constantly do it!

I shall bring this article to a close and wish you a PLURfect day… 🙂

Which Is Best? To Do Lists Vs Time Schedules

This week I read an article on Business Insider by an author who had interview many successful business owners and sports personalities trying to find out what made them differ from the normal everyday folk.

The big thing that he found was that the real successful people did not use ‘to do’ lists as you would expect. It has been thought that people who are seriously focused and ‘get things done’ would be following some kind of plan or ‘to do’ list.

Well it seems that this is not the case, they do have a plan but instead of having a list of tasks to do each day or week they prefer to have a schedule. They set aside specific chunks of time to work on stuff and they stick to these schedules religiously.

These schedules become a daily norm which they do not deviate from, they become their routine and they focus 100% on what they are doing in each specific time slot.

Many of those who were questioned were asked about to do lists and they replied that a to do list does not always mean success because the tasks themselves do not indicate which ones are a higher priority and that human nature means that most people will chose to do the easiest tasks first so that they can cross things off and appear to be ‘busy and productive’.

In fact many people might not do the tasks that are really hard at all; they may do the easy tasks then start on the next day’s easy tasks. If you completely ignore the tasks which are necessary and important because they are hard or a lot of work then you are not going to go forward.

The successful people prefer to do whatever needs doing in an allocated time; instead of focusing on a list of tasks for them their focus is having a time to get things done in, no matter what the tasks are.

Obviously they will have a plan of what they need to do otherwise how would they know what needs doing and in what order but instead of the actual list being their main focus throughout the day they prefer to give it their ‘all’ in short allocated time slots.

It kind of makes sense when you think about it, if you had a to do list for the day but had no time schedule or structure you would have a relaxed approach to the working day picking and choosing what tasks you do and when. This is where those harder but important tasks are overlooked.

If however you had a stricter time routine where you knew you had only 2 hours to get the new website live for example then you would use that time to do whatever needed doing to get the site live. Once those two hours are over then you know that you move onto something completely different.

Knowing that when the time slot is over you can move onto something else is also powerfully motivating. Unlike an open all day to do list which seems to be never ending, having time slots feels like you have just few specific things to focus on during the day and when that time is up it is over for another day.

Yes there probably is a lot of tasks to be done in that time slot depending on what the time slot is for but the successful people work 100% focused on the tasks at hand and try and get them all done in that time frame and it is finished so they can forget about them.

It is a bit like having a shopping list, that list is in effect a ‘to do’ list but of items to get, it is a ‘to get’ list and you can only use that list when you go shopping. So if you planned to go shopping between the hours of 2 and 4 one afternoon you would not worry about the list until you got to the supermarket and then you would focus all of your time and energy on getting those items, paying for those items, bagging them up and then getting them home.

Once you have got everything you no longer worry about the things on that list, even before you have got home and put the shopping away the list is redundant and no longer thought about.

This method can be used to make general life better, you might not want to build up a successful business but you could be wasting a lot of time and feel that life is not taking you to where you want to go.

Maybe you need to dump the to do lists and focus more on time slots and build a weekly schedule. Getting up at 7 am everyday no matter what happens or how you feel could do more for you than a to do list. Deciding what night and at what time you do the shopping could also be a huge benefit to your life.

Many people think that a strict time schedule is too ridged and robs life of its flexibility but this is often not the case. Being too flexible and relaxed means that a lot of valuable time is wasted and a lot of important things never get done and this can in fact be far more detrimental to your lifestyle than being rigid and time strict.

If you get things done efficiently you generally find that you have a more relaxed life with the opportunity to be more flexible. Non-productive people can often get overwhelmed, the things they need to do become a big drama when they are left to the last minute which really robs them of the flexibility they crave and results in them ‘getting their knickers in a twist’ as we say.

Here is an example time schedule for one day in the week (based on someone working from home with a life similar to mine)

  • 7AM Alarm clock goes off,  get out of bed.

  • 7-8AM Gentle Yoga, stretching or meditation

  • 8-9AM Have shower, get dressed and have breakfast.

  • 9-10AM Go to office and answer emails and messages

  • 10-12NOON Work on new article for website including researching, writing and making screenshots.

  • 12-1PM Lunch

  • 1-3PM Record video, edit video, add to websites.

  • 3-5PM Social media sharing and interaction

  • 5-6PM Dinner and wash pots

  • 6-8PM Read, watch videos and research industry news

  • 8-9PM Go to supermarkets and do the weekly food shop with the better half

  • 9-11PM Chill in front of the TV with the better half

  • 11PM Bed

Parts of the time schedule will be the same for most if not all the days of the week such as the time I get up, do my exercise and eat but other things such as doing the weekly shop or recording videos might be a once a week thing so those tasks will be replace with other tasks on different days.

You might even chose to plan a lay in at the weekend, the idea is not to make your life restrictive and rigid to the point that it is miserable but make your lifestyle a more positive one which works better.

Successful sports people will go to the gym, the track or the swimming baths every day at the same time and practice their craft come rain or shine. Nothing stops them bar serious incidents, it is this schedule and sticking to it which turns them from people who enjoy a sport to a serious contender and a winner.

Knowing what they are doing each day at each time takes away the guessing that most non successful people generally do each day. A lot of people will spend their days trying to decide what they should do at set times of the days or even worse, do nothing and just idle the time away while wishing that there life was different.

If you are a person who uses to do lists you might want to take a few minutes and look at how you use them.

  • Are you using them effectively?
  • Are you doing the easy tasks and ignoring the others?
  • Are you finding them long and demotivating?

If so then you might want to drop them and start to use a time schedule instead.

I shall bring this to a close and say that if you want a more productive and enjoyable life then you might be better off using a time schedule. The benefits that result from managing your time better might just surprise you.