PRODUCTIVITY ADVICE REQUIRED!
I divide my day into sections of work and allot time for each. Right now it looks like this:
1. Full-time job (8 hours)
2. Taking up courses (2 hours)
3. Working on personal SEO projects (3 hours)
4. Reading [SEO news, Twitter, Facebook Groups, Newsletters, Research Papers, Blogs etc.] (2 hours)
The remaining 9 hours are allocated for sleep, food, house chores etc.
This is what I want my ideal day to look like. But no matter how much effort I put in, I always miss at least one of the things from points 2, 3 and 4.
In this group, there are people who have a lot more than this on their plate (especially agency owners) and they have crafted themselves to be very efficient and GETTING THINGS DONE NO MATTER WHAT!
I am yet to reach the first step of that ladder.
Any advice to achieve more and improve efficiency from your experience will be deeply appreciated.
54 👍🏽7 🤭65
Certified Coach here 🙂
Why do you want your ideal day to look like that?
It covers all the pillars towards building a successful career in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
I mean those the are basic aspects to cover (that's what I have gathered from my research before coming up with this)
Phil » Chauhan
Ok! So if I said "you can have the exact same level of success doing 2 or doing these 15 hour days", which do you choose?
Chauhan ✍️ » Garet
Just 30 min of Yoga and 15 min run. I would say teach me.
Phil » Chauhan
Ok! So the problem from a very short conversation is that this isn't what you want .. it's what you think you have to do.
If you truly wanted to do it, you'd love it and you'd do it. But you'd choose much less time if you could.
The path forward will be hard, therefore, because you're working only with willpower, which is a limited resource. You're already struggling.
There's so much more we could go through to find the perfect path for you but I need to get going for the day.
But the basic problem is you're doing more than you really want to and your subconscious is sabotaging you because of that.
Start listening to your inner voice and don't push too hard 🙂 make time for things you enjoy and – as others say – exercise and free time.
Chauhan ✍️ » Phil
"it's what you think you have to do" resonates a lot.
Thank you for taking out time for this. 🙂
Phil » Chauhan
Welcome! One final thought for you: people are giving lots of advice below. They're all good things to try, but may be poor advice for you. Do feel free to try these things, but only keep what works for you.
You can do that by building awareness of yourself. Try something for a week, having clear goals for success, and then evaluate at the end of the period "did it work for ME?" 🙂
Chauhan ✍️ » Phil
Thanks. I will keep that in mind.
Your schedule is not achievable. Even if it was, do you think that after 8 hours of work and 3 hours of personal projects, you would be able to absorb information to also do courses?
Matth is right, work smarter.
Whether that's automation, delegation or splitting things into a weekly schedule.
On my experience, we are not productive for over 5-6 hours a day, and that is sometimes a stretch.
Try to balance your hours and prioritize, not burn yourself out.
I am starting to feel this is over-ambitious.
Malek » Chauhan
Yes, pretty useful comments in the thread. Reduce, focus, and have some recreation as well.
The danger of burnout ir real!
It's clear that you're young. Wait until kids appear in your life, or your body send you the first alarms. Include Gym btw in that schedule, it will not only be good for your health, but will make you work better, and your brain will thank you as well.
Totally agree on that, and physical excersise is something I don't do enough and should do more.
You don't need 2 and 4. Focus on the knowledge you need to move 3. Forward.
Then add in sports, family, friends and recreation.
Trust me that works way better for you.
I started working out again 6 months ago after doing your type of schedule for the last few years and I feel so much better now 😊 and productive as ever
Spend less time on social, get more sleep, make sure you drink plenty of water and get daily excecise. I run an agency and over time have come to realise less is very much more. I have also recently adopted Akiflow for helping with task planning etc and it's awesome.
Agency owner for over 12 years here.
Lower the bar bud. What you have is a recipe for burnout.
Build a lifestyle that you want. Then build a business around it.
What most hustlers preach is to build a business and then build a life around it. But that approach works on short term, sprint initiatives.
In reality, running an agency is a marathon. You have no way of knowing what life will throw at you.
2 years ago nobody had a game plan to run an agency in a pandemic. 3 months ago nobody had a game plan of running a biz as the world faces a possibility of WW3.
So you always want to be with a power reserve so you have the energy to push through such times.
You want to ensure cashflow too.
Team up quickly cause you can't wear all the hats in your biz.
Find which part of the entire biz gets you excited. What's your strength. Then do that, and hire or outsource the rest.
The idea of a lone gunman riding to the sunset is wishful thinking. Digital marketing has become so complex that nobody can do it all.
You may be great at analytics, but terrible at copywriting. Or you may be a great copywriter but terrible at web development. Or you can do great with tech but suck at design. Or touched can be a master of all, and such at leadgen. Or at sales.
Even if you can do all of the above, you still have 24 hours in a day. And hopefully in those 18 waking hours, you'll want more from life than hustle.
This is why I've cut out some services, focused on others, and am partnering with folks who can do leadgen and sales. My team is rock solid in delivery, but we don't do well with leadgen for us. There are folks that are great at leadgen and sales, but don't have a competitive project delivery machine. So partnering up is a win win deal.
Hope this helps. Go easy on yourself. Respect your life. There's more to it than work work work. Fail to do that, and you'll be thrown in a burnout in no time. Then recovery will take far longer than sticking to a more sustainable tempo.
Thank you so much. Advice from the experienced ones is what I seek as you have been through more. Appreciate this. 🙂 I will surely mend things accordingly.
Soum » Mateski
You're running your agency for 12 years with how many members in the team up until now?
I think you already know lead gen and sales to come much, partnering with other lead gen and sales persons is probably an effort of outsource if i am reading you properly.
Also, how exactly do you find and partner with lead gen and sales guys? I want to do the same because I'm terrible in those fields
Mateski » Soum
Had 20, and decided to downsize. Were 12 now. I closed the copywritingnand media buying departments.
Leadgen I'd a matter of effort, like everything else. It's hard to scale that department so I'd rather partner up or outsource.
How to get them? Trial and error, and a lot of burnt cash. There's no simple solution to solve a business problem. Those who claim otherwise do so either from ignorance, or they have something to sell to you.
I think you'll find that different people will have different ways to get their efficiency in order. Certain people need schedules like yours – but that has never worked at all for me. Certain people have tried what I do and it just isn't going to work for them. You can train yourself to work in a certain way – but even with that, there is an inherent nature to the way your mind works best and being skilled at working things in a way that plays to that rather than working against it and being more efficient in a non natural way just won't ever be as good at mastering the more natural way that works for you.
I think the first thing to do is understand when you're at your best. There are morning people and there are night owls. There are people who thrive during the day and others who have clearer heads once it gets dark. For me personally, I'm most efficient early in the day – at least mentally. After eight hours of brain work, things don't come together as well so I'm better off doing the more physical things I want to get done later in the day and the most thought challenging things early.
You also need to know where your strengths and weaknesses are. My brain is highly logical, but my job demands a lot of creative work – clever creative work, but creative work nonetheless. As such, things that require creative thinking (in a challenging way such as working on a strategy for persuasive design that follows a strict branding compliance for a client) are best done early in the day rather than late.
Now… you also have one challenge that I don't have… you have that "Full Time Job" thing that gets into the picture. No matter how you cut it – that part is the key to your day. I presume you have a fixed set of hours that you need to work it – 9-5 or whatever. Even if that's not the case, I think that part of your day does need to be set in stone. Jumping in and out of that isn't going to be efficient. Changing gears gobbles up time. So… for the work day – plan those hours as your "fixed time" that are inflexible. 8 hours, in a row (maybe minus an hour for a few breaks during the day to eat and just sit back for 20 minutes a few times). For me, when I WAS having to deal with the full time job while learning – using those breaks as breaks was important. Taking that time and picking up a course book or something else work related never worked – it would change my mindset and get me out of work mode, and the 20 minute break wasn't enough to get me "into gear" for whatever I was doing. Breaks are breaks. Take them.
The rest of the day (or in my case, all day) isn't broken down by doing X for Y hours – it's broken down by "Here is the list of things I want to get done today." I tend to create a list that is longer than I could possibly accomplish – but not so long that I feel like I could never catch up. That takes some practice, but you can get good at it.
Once I have the list of things – I prioritize them. Here are the things I MUST accomplish before I call myself "done" for the day. Here are the things I SHOULD really get done in order to keep on schedule, not fall behind, and generally stay the course. And then I have my list of HOPE TO GET TO TODAY stuff… stuff I'd really like to fit in, stuff that could get me ahead a little bit, but stuff that could safely be put off until tomorrow and be put into the SHOULD category. I also like to have one or two things in that HOPE list that I really truly enjoy doing and look forward to. Sometimes that might even be something that isn't strictly work related. For example, on Fridays, I have only ONE single "hope" thing which is typically something like "I HOPE to get my musts and should's done by around lunchtime so I can knock off early and go have some beer with my friends over a long liquid lunch at the neighborhood bar." (For me, having that as my Friday HOPE is a strong motivation to keep on track for the days leading up to Friday and, of course, to crank out Friday as quickly and efficiently as possible).
I organize my musts and shoulds in my head so they sort of flow, too. I do the least desirable and most challenging early while the brain is working the best so it'll get done faster. Leave the mindless stuff for a bit later in the day. I try to do things in an order that has me switching gears least often too. So… if I have 2 or 3 things I need to do that require me to turn off my logic circuits and fire up the creative juice machine – I'll try to plan to do those in a row so I'm not switching mindsets back and forth all day. Logic list… jump to the creative stuff and crank that out… then back to the logic stuff to close out the day.
The final factor ties back to the first thing I said to be aware of – the "when you're best" thing. I have certain times that I must be available for clients – which are, no surprise, during normal business hours. Those client availability hours are tricky times because emails and phone calls and texts happen at random times there – so efficiency is naturally going to be down. Jumping off something just to answer a simple question with a yes or no ultimately takes 7-8 minutes before you're back in gear.
Because of this… and because my brain is most efficient when I'm fresh and when it's early in the day… my most efficient hours are early – before anyone else is up. That's why you're seeing me here, now. It's almost 4am and I just got up, made my coffee and am spending an hour rolling through my social media feeds, checking on posts like this, and warming up the old brain so-to-speak. Writing this out this morning will hopefully help you a little bit, but it also gave me a chance to think through how I organize my time and what goes into it and assess if there are ways I might make improvements to – so this reply should help both of us.
By getting up early and getting into the thick of things by 4am every day is one of the most effective choices I have made. It gives me 4 hours of work time before anyone else gets out of bed. No phones, no pressing emails, no texts. It's the perfect time to tackle the longer, more focus and detail intensive things on my list for the day.
If you work best as I do, then getting up 4-5 BEFORE the day job kicks in might work for you.
For me, though – the whole "X hours for this, and Y hours for that" type system doesn't work. I need a task list and a set of hours to organize those tasks and get them done. I typically plan to be in "work mode" from 4am to around 5pm Monday through Thursday. Fridays I do a 4am and "Hopefully done around noon, but at least until I get my "MUST LIST" for the week completed and am feeling comfortable with my "SHOULD LIST" going into the next week. That SHOULD list is going to become part of my MUST LIST sooner or later, after all. And my HOPE list for Fridays is simply the beer at the end of the tunnel.
On weekends, I still tend to get up pretty early – though not always at 4am. Because it's my routine, that generally happens, though. If I feel motivated or inspired, I might try to get a few hours in – maybe get ahead on my MUSTS or SHOULDS for next week. Or maybe treat myself to one of the more fun and interesting HOPES. It depends. Since no one is up, I'm not missing beach day or anything by getting some work in before the teeming millions begin to stir.
So… that's generally how I approach it – but again, this won't work for everyone. It may work for you, though.
Good luck finding your course. Finding this system took me a while to lock in on and see what works for me -and it's frustrating sometimes. But you'll get there. Stay the course and you'll get your beer at the end of the tunnel each week, too.
I could just imagine your whole day in front of me, even the minutest details that you go through. This really really helps! Very generous.
I really appreciate you taking the time to write this.
Reading through your comment I realised I have similar habits like you but I may be forcing myself into some other course that is not suiting me.
Much appreciated 🙂
Happy to help. And, as I mentioned – writing that out this morning made me look at how I organize my days and try to be efficient. Regular reviews of your processes and assessing what is working well and what isn't is a huge part of it all. So… while I probably wouldn't have done this for another month or so, it helped me to break it down, write it out, and think it through fresh. The only difference between this and what I would have done otherwise is that you and maybe a few other people will find something in there that's helpful rather than it just ending up in my recycle bin. 🙂
Typing lots of content like that for 40 years gets your WPM rate up pretty high. I haven't measured it, but it's pretty fast. Probably near 100 a minute. My keyboard is fairly humorous to look at, too. A friend was over a few weeks back and wanted to check their email but ended up needing me to log in for them since all the letters on my keyboard have long worn off so everything is just blank. lol
I also don't plan my responses here like I would when writing a blog post. My tagline on Twitter (and some other places) reads: "I'm just thinking out loud" – and that's normally how I approach things in groups like this and social media. I'll often start typing without a complete thought or idea in mind – just a starting point. And I just rattle off the words that come to mind as they form in my head.
If the squeeze is real, learn to accept that keeping up to date and advancing your knowledge *is* a vital part of your work. Charge clients more so that you can earn the same with less client hours and spend more work-hours on keeping yourself fit and educated to do the job.
I couldn't agree more. 💯
You have excellent dress sense & a fabulous hair style. Check if you can shave off a few minutes each day by reducing the time in front of the mirror. Alternately, if that gives you more joy, carry on without worrying too much. Get your top 3 todos for each day & you should be fine. All the best.
Make sleep your #1 priority. MULTITASK like your life depends on it I.E. listen to podcasts while you work out, drive to work, etc (that should save you a lot least 1 hr in 'courses' and 'reading'). And outsource as much as you can – meal delivery kits, laundry, cleaning, and get a Virtual Assistant (VA).
That's why I'm a Virgin
A lot depends on personal circumstances and where you are in the journey…
… I started my journey running my own business by working 12 or even more hours a day, 7 days a week… Working in multiple jobs at the same time while taking courses and also running my new business…
… Part of that was because of necessity!… I was extremely poor at the time so basically had no choice but I was incredibly driven as well… I could never have kept up that pace but it meant that I could establish a business that i have now, where I have a lot of freedom compared to my old way of life… It was a case of 'no pain, no gain' for me.
… If I could give one bit of advice, it is to hire sooner than you expect to delegate the mundane jobs to and automate as much as possible as you go.
In my really early years I literally spent 8 hours a day doing the work (client work, billing, admin, sales, marketing for my services/business) and then another 8 on researching, learning, running my own experimental sites, building and testing stuff generally.
Of course, there were no blogs back then (I mean literally, that sort of Content Management System (cms) didn't exist yet), the early SEO forums only came along later, so my reading list had to be pretty wide ranging, lots of newsletter subs, lots and lots of reading of very diverse websites and white papers, quite a lot of physical books, etc.
The more I learned, the more I could do, and more importantly the more I could charge and still generate massive Return of Investment (RoI) for clients. Rather than take all of that as increased profit, I kind of split it, so when I raised my rates 20% I would take 10% of that as business growth, and at the same time scale back 10% on the work I actually needed to do (reducing my working week).
I would need to be on speed to get through that day then sleeping pills at night.
It is too much learning to be productive. You only have ~4h/day at full learning/thinking capacity and we typically use it in the first hours after waking up, which for you seems to be at the full-time job. Wake up earlier, set up 2 hours for one of the activities (courses, reading or SEO work) and you will be highly productive and creative in those 2 hours, enough to compensate for another 4 hours in the evening.
Use the evening to sharp your mind with yoga, relax with music and do something you really enjoy.
This way you wont end up with major health issues after a few years of 14h/day work like I did and not be able to keep up the pace because you have to heal.
Doing learning part early morning is a great idea. Thanks.
It would be incredibly difficult to sustain a 100% work schedule. If you don't incorporate leisure into this system, your work will likely suffer. People aren't robots and you need time for yourself. I know these are self improvement items but I promise, your body takes this stuff as work. You have to plan your breaks or your body will make you take a break when it feels like it.
I hope what you are gleaning from all of the answers is that you have set yourself up for failure. Like you, I use time buckets. Bucket buffer time. Maybe do courses only 2-3 times a week. Be picky about your courses. Most are crap and based on old ideas. So they are a total waste of time.
Also, I Second that you read Atomic Habits…. Excellent book.
I feel like you are from the USA… why would you want to work so much…?? Sleep and chores fall under the same umbrella? You only live once my guy… why don't you put 2 hours in JUST for you? Gaming, walking, playing with your dog… f*ck. Your life sounds so depressing I want to hug you.
That way you'll never become a billionaire or achieve something great, atleast that's what i want. You have to work every waking hour. 120 hours a day. Musk had done the same. Everybody hates on billionaires but nobody sees their hard work.
Nicolas » Soum
Bezos also said leisure is important. musk also took time for Amber apparently. 120h/w is not sustainable.
Mawji » Soum
Plenty of billionaires that didn't work themselves to the bone too. Musk is hardly the yardstick by which everyone should measure themselves.
I don't hate billionaires, it just really isn't the pinnacle of being happy. I guess if your end goal is money, work 120 hours, but don't expect to be happy and work 120 hours a week. Good luck!
Soum » Bianca
Define happiness. Money is the goal but is money happiness? No. It's simply a tool. And I'd be very happy to see someone else smile if i can use my money for the good of this world.
Trying to split your personal growth time between three thing everday is not very productive.
By focusing on one thing a day (#2 or 3) and applying what you learned during that time will usually make you much more. #4 should probably be done once a week as needed.
Even better is to do #2 for to consecutive days. Followed by a day off to experiment. #3 for 2 consecutive days. #4 for one day. Followed by a day off by putting you work done and going out and observe life and being your ideal customer.
I also recommend reading the book Atomic Habits.
Another great book is The Practice: Shipping Creative Work
The Practice: Shipping Creative Work
The Practice: Shipping Creative Work
And to add to the book recommendations here:
Only $3.99 for a limited time only
Overwork is the new normal. Rest is something to do when the important things are done-but they are never done. Looking at different forms of rest, from sleep to vacation, Silicon Valley futurist and business consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang dispels the myth that the harder we work the better the outcome. He combines rigorous scientific research with a rich array of examples of writers, painters, and thinkers—from Darwin to Stephen King—to challenge our tendency to see work and relaxation as antithetical. "Deliberate rest," as Pang calls it, is the true key to productivity, and will give us more energy, sharper ideas, and a better life. Rest offers a roadmap to rediscovering the importance of rest in our lives, and a convincing argument that we need to relax more if we actually want to get more done.
Lets be real you need rest to keep your mind sharp. Learning with a not so sharp mind will be useless.
Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less
Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less
3 Points to Learn SEO: Learning by Reading, by Implementation, through Courses
What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in SEO?
Why did a Lot of People list Link Building as the Least Fave Part of SEO?
A $500 Client Quote Versus A $5000 Client Quote in SEO
What is Your Best SEO Shortcut? Time-Saving Hack That Produces Measurable Results
Asking for Advice for Pricing my SEO Work
Someone Asked for Legal Advice. S*He Wanted to Cancel a 12-Month SEO Contract Due to ROI Unreached After the First 3-Months
Two rules of SEO: Confident in yourself | Interview the clients, don’t let them interview you!
Let Us Increase the Prices of SEO Services and Content Production by 50%!
Generative Pretrained Transformer GPT-3 | Content from GPT-3 Artificial Intelligence (AI)