Ever felt this way? Lately you have been putting in a crazy amount of hours in your business… But you have nothing to show for it.
When people ask you how your business is doing, you want to dig a hole in the ground and stay there for a decade or two.
You know for a fact, that if they knew about your situation, you would soon have people in white coats knocking on your door.
But what’s even worse is that you are starting to doubt yourself.
You are afraid that you have wasted so much time only to fail in your business.
That the negative people in your life will give you the “I told you so” look. That you were one of those who didn’t manage to provide for their own family.
Can you relate? If so, no worries. I’ve been there too.
Relax. Breathe. I got your back.
Stupid Activity 1: Social media hangover
The social media universe is a dangerous and mysterious place.
Has this ever happened to you? You had 10 minutes to kill before your were going to do an important task, and you decided that you would just take a quick look at your social media accounts.
A few hours later, you wake up with drool down your face, dizziness and with no recollection of what you had been doing.
Yeah, like a bad hangover.
After a few minutes you realize that you have been poking old classmates on Facebook, stalked your ex on Twitter and checking if your neighbor really did get that new dog on Instagram. In other words:
A complete waste of time.
First of all, there is nothing that is called “a quick look” when it comes to social media.
Second, stay away from checking your social media accounts during your workday, unless you are actually going to do some work.
Instead of force feeding you more information about this obvious stupid activity, let me tell you how to deal with it.
Never login to your social media accounts during your workday, unless you have specific work related tasks with a deadline. Yes, you read correct.
Remember that the different social media activities should be divided into different groups.
Because the tasks have different purpose, which results in them having different priorities.
Social media task A:
Twitter – thank people for sharing, retweet, favorite your tweets.
When: Every Wednesday.
Deadline: 2 pm – 3 pm.
Social media task B:
Twitter – Follow people who are following you.
When: Every Wednesday.
Deadline: 3 pm – 3.30 pm.
Social media task C:
Twitter – Unfollow people who haven`t been following you back for 2 weeks.
When: Every Wednesday.
Deadline: 3.30 pm – 4 pm.
Social media task D:
Twitter – Engage with your audience and start conversations.
When: Every Thursday.
Deadline: 2 pm – 3 pm.
Note: all the tasks above have a specific description. In addition, it says when to do the task and for how long each task should take.
If you aren’t able to complete a specific task before the deadline, stop doing that task.
Plan when you are going to complete the task and put it into your calendar, and then continue working on the next task on your to do list.
By doing this, you will be able to control your schedule, and not letting tasks that take longer than you have planned destroy your productive day.
Then over to the next stupid activity…
Stupid Activity 2: The fool’s errand
Look at your business as the kingdom, where your schedule is the king.
Hah, you thought I was going to say that you were the king, right?
Perhaps in another blog post, but this time you will play the role as…
Imagine that your king commanded that you should walk 20 miles into a deep dark wood. Then you had to search for a very rare plant that the king would use as decoration in his bedchamber.
Because the king wanted you to do it. It wouldn`t benefit the kingdom at all.
Kind of stupid, right?
That is exactly what you are doing in your business when you are NOT working on your most important tasks.
Stop Googling more plugins that you can cram into your website, when you should prioritize growing your email list.
Stop drawing your next logo, when you should prioritize getting more clients.
Stop considering jumping on the latest and hottest social media platform, when you should focus on engaging with your existing audience and increasing traffic.
You get the point.
Use a master to do list, which will contain all the tasks that you need do. If a task isn’t on your to do list, it won’t get done.
Prioritize the tasks using the ABCDE method
A tasks: Tasks you must do – serious consequences if they don’t get done
B tasks: Tasks you should do – mild consequences if they don’t get done
C tasks: Tasks you could do – no consequences if they don’t get done
D tasks: Tasks you delegate
E tasks: Tasks you never do
Here is the trick: never do a B task before you have done all the A tasks, and never do a C task before you have done all the B tasks.
The 80/20 rule
Apply the 80/20 rule: you need to identify each day, which 20% of the most important tasks on your to do list that will give you 80% of the results.
Then over to the third stupid activity, which can really cripple your business…
Stupid Activity 3: Shiny object syndrome
Does this sound familiar? You have just read a blog post where an expert is chanting about his / her latest traffic technique. You decide that you are going to give it a try, and you know that this will cure your website being a ghost town. And just when you are about to start implementing it…
…you just happened to start reading another blog post from another expert, who is talking about another effective traffic technique.
You know where this leads, right?
A few hours later, you have gone through ten more blog posts.
The result? Ten new experts sharing ten new traffic techniques.
Stop looking for the shortcut.
Stop looking for magic bullet.
Stop looking for the next big thing.
It will get you nowhere.
As long as you are jumping from one shiny tactic to another, you will never truly master any tactic.
You will just be the guy or gal who knows the theory behind a gazillion of tactics, but hasn`t been able to implement any of them.
You don’t want that, right?
Of course not, those are the master procrastinators and wantrepreneurs that people are laughing at.
Let me give it to you straight.
Focus on one thing. Not two, three or four different tactics at the same time – one.
You need to choose one tactic, implement and stick with it.
For how long?
Until you have put in enough effort to see some real results.
If your tactic doesn’t work, improve it, and insert some massive action.
After a while, when you have enough data, you can make a good decision about whether to change tactic or not.
If you decide that your existing tactic doesn’t work, stop doing it. Then start with a new tactic.
How many new tactics are you going to start?
Stupid Activity 4: Perfectionist curse
Welcome to this AP (anonymous perfectionists) meeting.
Can anyone who is or has been a perfectionist, please raise his or her hand?
Ah, good, it’s not just me.
I can go first. “Hi, my name is Tor, and I used to be a perfectionist.”
And now you are going to say “Hey, Tor.”
Okay, let’s get back to the reality.
Some people are talking about being a perfectionist like it`s a good thing. They say: “Oh, I am a perfectionist, and that is why I am never satisfied with my own work. But at least it’s better than the average.”
Are you freakin` kidding me?
That is as stupid as having a big hunchback, limping around, drooling and having a face that looks like a horse`s b*tt, thinking that you are God`s gift to the other sex (or same sex for that matter).
That is just crazy, right?
Seriously, being a perfectionist is a freakin’ curse.
Yeah, I have been there too, and it’s a dark place to be.
Regardless of how many hours you put in…
you will never be satisfied by your own effort…
you will never be satisfied by your own results…
It doesn’t matter if you are the best entrepreneur in your region, there is always room for improvement…
…and you know you could have done better.
So basically, it’s like having a chronic hunger, never being able to satisfy it, regardless of how much you eat.
So basically, you go around being hungry and miserable all the time.
Okay, enough talk about this dark topic.
Let`s move from the darkness to the light…
Let`s just grab the bull by the horns right away.
First you need to realize that there is always room for improvement.
Then you need to realize that whatever you do, it will never be perfect.
Those are facts that you just need to accept.
You want to change your situation, right?
Sure you do!
Once you have accepted the facts above, you can make a decision to do something about it.
I know what you are thinking: “Tor, I get it. I need to accept the two facts and then decide to do something about it. But what the heck am I going to do?”
A good question indeed.
Easy there, tiger. I will cover that next part now…
How to roundhouse kick perfectionism to the curb
Step 1: You only need to do good enough.
Say whaaat? Yes, you read correct.
If you are delivering a monthly status report to a client, you really just need to include the exact metrics and data that the client requires, right?
No need for drawing unicorns and flowers at the bottom of each page.
No need for delivering the report inside a golden briefcase.
No need to throw in a bunch of extra images, graphs, charts or mind maps.
Step 2: Over-deliver by giving the little extra
Let me share a little secret with you.
You can actually stand out and over-deliver by constantly giving the little extra every single time.
When you are delivering work to your clients, give them the little extra (that takes you max.10-15 minutes).
Even though it just took you a few minutes, instead of several hours, the client feels that he / she is getting a lot of bang for the buck.
I do this with my coaching clients. After the coaching call, I send them an email with the recording of our call and homework for our next session – free of charge.
Few people do that, and it only takes me 10-15 minutes.
Why do I do that?
First, because I love to over-deliver and give people an awesome experience.
Second, it`s my burning passion to help online entrepreneurs succeed, so if I can throw in something extra that will increase their chance, it`s a no brainer.
That is also the best way to build your brand fast in the overcrowded marketplace.
Stand out by providing real value and changing people’s lives.
As Zig Ziglar said: “When you help enough people to get what they want, you will finally get what you want.”
What to do next…
Now you know which stupid activities that are choking your business, and preventing you from succeeding.
However, knowing what to do is totally useless, unless you actually apply it.
If you do any of the stupid activities mentioned above in your business, STOP doing them now.
I know you can do it!
What stupid activities are you doing in your business? When are you planning to stop doing them?
About the Author:
Tor Refsland helps online entrepreneurs SKYROCKET their productivity and MAXIMIZE profits in their BUSINESS. Want to become more productive? Download his free eBook and learn how to DOUBLE your productivity in 7 days.
Greg Digneo writes for TimeDoctor.com, a time monitoring and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams. If you would like to see where you and your team are spending your time during work, try Time Doctor free for 14 days.