6 Time Tracking Tips for Online Marketers
Running an online business can take up all your time if you let it. Thousands of online marketers always find themselves struggling to catch up. There are a ton of things to do and never enough time to do them all.
When you’re not tracking your time and tasks, everything is going to seem more chaotic and stressful than it really is. You’ll feel like you’re constantly behind the eight ball and struggling to keep up.
In reality, once you actually focus on what matters and write them down, you’ll discover that it’s all manageable and that’s half the battle won. Most marketers will find that their productivity skyrockets once they’re assiduously tracking their time.
Initially, it may seem like a hassle. However, once you see where your time is going, you may be shocked at just how many precious minutes slip by your fingers while you check your Facebook notifications or entertain a close friend’s gossipy phone call during your working hours.
There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. The 6 tips below will help you discern the difference and take your game to the next level.
1. What’s your goal?
This is the most important question you need to ask yourself. If it’s to own a profit-generating blog, common sense will indicate that most of your efforts will need to be dedicated to creating content and maintaining your blog.
You should not be spending the best part of your day watching mind-numbing webinars which are mostly pitch fests. Write down your business goal and plans. Everything you do should be geared towards the realization of your goals. Anything else is extraneous and only serves to distract.
If you only have 4 hours a day to spend on your online business because you have a day job, 3 of those hours need to be spent on building your business. Tasks like answering emails, reading the latest info product you bought, etc. should just be kept for the last hour.
Set a timer and track how much time you spend working on your business. As long as the timer is ticking, you’ll not sneak off to check on your social media accounts or raid the fridge. Anytime you spend away from your tasks should not be counted. Pause the timer and restart it when you return.
In a few days, you’ll know exactly how productive you are. This will often come as a shocker to many marketers who discover that out of the 6 hours they spent in front of the computer, they probably only got real work done in 3 hours. The rest of the time was frittered away on inane activities that didn’t contribute to the bottom line.
What gets measured gets managed. Once you know where you’re losing time, you can get your act together and get real work done.
2. Your time is money
It’s easy to forget that your time has an opportunity cost. If you have a day job and work on your online business in the evening, this is time that you could spend with your family or on recreational activities. This is the opportunity cost of choosing to work online during your rest hours.
What you should realize is that you’re still working. How much are you paid an hour at your day job? That’s how much an hour you spend working on your blog costs. By following tip #1 above, you’ll have an idea how much time you’re spending on your business.
Multiply those hours by what you’d get paid at your day job. This is the minimum amount your online business should be generating to cover your ‘salary’. Initially, when you’re starting off, you’ll not be making anything much.
However, in about 6 months to a year, your business should be reaping enough profits to justify your efforts. The juice must be worth the squeeze, and by tracking the monetary value of your time, you’ll have a good idea if you’re in the green or red.
3. Map out your time
This is a simple task to do. Take note of how many hours you have available to spend on your business. 4 hours? 6 hours? 10 hours?
Once you know how much time you have, you’ll be able to plan your schedule better. There’s no magic number of hours to aim for here. Just do the best you can with the time you’ve allotted to your business.
By now, you should know how much time you have, what it’s worth and what your goals are. However, even when it comes to attaining your goals, some tasks will take priority over others.
How do you know which are the ‘priority’ tasks? Simple. These are the ones you’ll not want to do. This is a very common issue that most people face.
They dread doing the tasks that really matter. It could be writing 3 posts for your blog, or recording a video for your YouTube channel… or analyzing your advertising stats. The mind will cook up excuses and you’ll find yourself doing other tasks that are less important just to avoid the ones you dread.
Your goal is to complete the tasks you dread first. Once these are done, you’ll breeze through the rest. Focus most of your effort and time on the tasks that will make your business profitable. Do these first because you’ll be most energetic and fresh to take them on.
5. Do what pays
You’ll discover over time that some tasks/clients/tactics bring in more money than the rest. This is the Pareto Principle at work. It states that 80 percent of your results will come from 20 percent of your efforts.
Once you know what activities are profitable, you can focus on them and multiply your efforts while weeding out the tasks that are unprofitable time suckers.
6. Know yourself
This is a very important tip. Do NOT work against yourself. If you notice that you are most focused and productive late in the night, then do most of your work at night. There is absolutely no need to wake up early at 5 am and groggily bang on the keyboard because so many ‘gurus’ claim that waking up early is the key to success.
It may work for them, but if your natural rhythm is different, it’ll be a struggle for you. When it comes to sleep patterns, some people are larks, and some are owls. Know which one you are and work accordingly. It doesn’t matter what time you work. What matters is how much work you get done.
The 6 tips above will help you streamline your tasks and keep your eye on your end goal. By doing what matters when it matters, you’ll be more productive and successful at what you do.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler