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5 Strategies for Organizing Your Internet Business
Do you find that you have fewer hours in the day than you need to accomplish everything you want to accomplish in your business every day? Do you find yourself getting distracted by a hundred other things? Do you find at the end of the day that you have unanswered phone calls and dozens of emails still not dealt with? If so, maybe you need to work “smarter” not harder. The following five strategies have helped me with my online business success. Perhaps they can help you too.
1) Begin with the end in mind. This phrase was coined by Steven Covey. He means to make sure you have clear a clear vision of what your “realized” goal looks like, and set prioritized objectives to get you there. In the world of internet marketing, this means you must be very clear on what your business is, and don’t let yourself get distracted by all the great opportunities out there. It is easy to see other opportunities and think they might work for you, especially with all the great marketing messages you see daily. No opportunity will work for you unless you get clear on what you are trying to accomplish, write out specific goals and objectives, and stick with it until you have successfully accomplished it.
Try writing out a “Statement of Intent” of what you want to accomplish by when.
For example, my business statement of intent is “I am in the business of promoting my two blogs and Wealth Creations Network. I will recruit 36 active affiliates so that I can achieve silver status by December 31, 2011.
Next write out the strategies you intend to follow to accomplish your business goal. For example, my strategies are:
1. I will write two articles weekly related to my passion, which I will publish on three websites.
2. I will write three posts for each of my blogs every week.
3. I will spin one article and have it distributed to 30 different blogs and ezines.
4. I will be participate and increase my following on three social networking sites.
5. I will drive additional traffic to my splash page by surfing traffic exchanges for one hour each day.
Now that I am clear on what my business is and what I have to do to succeed, I do those things first.
2) Get it out of your head. Every time you make a commitment to yourself or anybody, at some unconscious level your mind is tracking it. When you have all these little unfinished tasks, unrealized goals, and “incompletes” cluttering up your mind, you can’t focus as well as you might like. David Allen, a time management guru suggests that a clear mind is a focused mind. Put it all on paper and clear your mind. Start with the big “projects” such as “planning for vacation” or “refinishing the basement”. Just list all of them first. Then go back and complete the list by adding all the action steps needed to complete it.
What you are trying to do is to get all those “incompletes” captured somewhere other than your mind. You can make a paper list or you can use a voice-recording device each time something comes your way that requires action on your part.
Every time some commitment or action item comes my way (through email, via a phone call, in the mail, or from a conversation with someone) I capture it on paper. I make a decision whether or not it fits with my major work strategies. If not, I file it away so that I don’t forget to do it, but I don’t keep it in my head. All the other commitments I have made to myself (remodeling the interior of my house and getting my yard in shape for summer, etc.) will be secondary to my business. I will break them down into specific tasks and schedule them into the time each day I set aside for non-business related tasks.
3) Create a filing system, so that all those “incompletes” are not a constant visible reminder of what has not been done. Devote one drawer of your filing cabinet to “incompletes”. You can create folders such as these: Personal letters/emails to answer/write, Bills to pay, Personal phone calls to make (put any back up material you will need or a reminder of what you need to call them about in the folder), Reading, etc. When you find yourself in “wait” mode at the doctor’s office, your child’s after school practice, the auto repair shop, etc., you can take one of the folders (the “Reading” or “Phone Calls to Make” folder are good) and take care of things while you are waiting. Or if you get finished early with your business related emails and have a few minutes, pull out the personal letters and emails folder and knock out a couple of them.
If you are like me you often run across a good idea or things you don’t intend to take action on now, but don’t want to forget about. Those can be filed in a “Someday/Maybe” drawer of your filing cabinet. I keep folders for vacation ideas, future business ideas, books I want to read, or restaurants and recipes I want to try. Schedule a time once a month on your calendar to review all these folders to make sure the idea isn’t forgotten.
I find Outlook to be a wonderful tool for keeping track of tasks and for reminding me what has to be done. I keep an ongoing task list on my Outlook calendar. I set the due date so that it reminds me a day or so before the task is due. I also put all of my meetings on my calendar and set the reminder for the day before so that I can gather all the information I need to be prepared for the meeting. Around the 15th of each month, I put a reminder to review my “incompletes” and “someday” files.
4) Make action choices up front. Many people have a pile of papers that they fully intend to go through one day. Do you? I used to. Interestingly, I have found that when I get around to going through them a week or so later, most seem irrelevant and I end up tossing them out. I decided to start tossing them out as soon as I get them. I ask myself if this is something requires action. If no, I immediately put it into recycling. If yes, I ask myself if it requires immediate action. If so, I put it on my task list to handle that day or the next. If no, I file it away into one of my folders for later action.
5) Create a daily schedule and stick to it. Make sure you plan time to take care of yourself, with exercise and time for rest and reflection. Think about your most productive time and schedule things that require the most focus in that time frame. For some, like me, it is early morning until noon. For others, it starts at noon, and others are most productive in the evening. The wonderful thing about having an internet business at home is that you can work the hours you want to work and schedule your day around your most productive times. The downside is that there are so many potential distractions around the home that can pull you off task if you let them. It is easy to get caught up with those things and find your day is half gone before you have started on the most important tasks that are responsible for business success.
The most important thing is to make sure you have a schedule and stick with it. For example this is my daily schedule:
5:00 – 6:30 exercise, shower, and breakfast
6:30 – 8:00 write and post articles
8:00 – 9:30 answer business related emails and phone calls
9:30 – 10:30 surf traffic exchanges
10:30 – 11:30 unexpected work-related tasks
11:30 – 1:30 lunch and reflection break
1:30 – 4:00 household chores and projects
I know to some this will seem overly regimented, but it really helped me to stay focused and on track. They say it takes only 20 or 30 repetitions for a behavior to become a habit. Try it for three or four weeks and see how it works for you. It is amazing how quickly it will just become routine, and you might be surprised how it will propel your business to success quicker than you thought possible.