Last night I finished reading Michael Masterson’s “The Pledge.” It’s a book about goal setting at first, but rather then just leave you with your goals, Masterson fills out the bulk of the book with strategies to help you actually achieve those goals. Some strategies are very cerebral and some are as practical as “How To Be An Early Riser.”
Overall I enjoyed the book and took copious notes using Chapters for iPad. (I take notes when I want to remember something. I rarely refer back to the notes – I don’t have to. It’s the act of writing the notes that triggers memorization).
In “The Pledge,” Masterson spends quite a bit of time revealing his own productivity / organization / time management system, which is a mish-mash of techniques he’s picked up over time to create something that works for him. And one of the biggest points he emphasizes is that one must spend more time on high value, low importance tasks. Whaaaa? High value, sure, but low-importance? Huh? I’ll explain, but I’ll frame it specifically for internet marketers.
The things that will bring you the most ROI – in our business, that pretty much means the things that will make us the most money, are:
HIGH YIELD ACTIVITIES FOR INTERNET MARKETERS
- Writing blog posts for flagship sites (for me, that would be sites like MichelleMacPhearson.com *not* content/affiliate sites)
- Writing email broadcasts
- Writing autoresponder sequences
- Filming video you’ll release for freebie content
- Creating content (video, PDF’s, images) for products you’ll sell
- Writing sales copy
- Broadcasting the availability of new content to your networks like Twitter & Facebook
- Communicating with your team (giving instructions, assigning work, etc.)
Most of these things will immediately bring you a result (like people clicking your links, establishing your relationship with your readers, or joining your subscriber list). Some of these things have a more cumulative effect, like creating a segment of a course you want to release. Each segment you finish gets you one step closer to the end – when you can actually release the product and make your money.
But what you’ll notice is that very rarely do any of these high yield activities have to be done on a certain day. Blog posts – it’s be *nice* to get them out more often, but what’s one more day…? Same with email broadcasts. Writing your salesletter is HARD… “I’ll work on it tomorrow after I think things through a bit more.” Communicating with your team – sometimes we skip it and just do the jobs ourselves, since we know we’ll get it right the first time.
But, it’s these activities that, done on a regular, consistent basis, that will bring in the best results – the most money, the most subscribers, the best relationships and higher response from our market.
Unfortunately, we often spend more, if not most of our time, on…
LOW YIELD ACTIVITIES FOR INTERNET MARKETERS
- Installing and configuring new sites, blogs, scripts and plugins
- Designing graphics, perfecting layouts
- Engaging in “chatter” on Facebook / Twitter / forums etc.
- Reading tens, if not hundreds, of blog posts
- Buying courses
- Checking email
- Checking stats
- Doing way too much research
- Doing any other task we could train our team to do for us
(“But wait Michelle! I don’t have a team yet and somebody’s got to do these things!” I know, I’ll get to that.)
What’s alluring about these low yield tasks is twofold:
- They often “ping” us – the email, Twitter or Facebook beep, flash or otherwise let us know there’s something new. So they provide an often welcome interruption to the “harder” high yield tasks that sometimes require more concentration.
- We can still pretend we’re “working” when we’re doing these things. We can tell ourselves we accomplished something when we’ve finished over-researching a link building strategy. But we haven’t actually *done* anything that will earn us income, subscribers or goodwill in the marketplace.
(I realize these lists might not be 100% accurate or exhaustive for every imaginable internet marketing business model out there, although they provide a good guideline. Use the comments to discuss *your* highest yield activities!)
HOW TO DO MORE HIGH YIELD ACTIVITIES
Masterson is not alone in his solution to the problem – it’s one I and many other successful folk engage in:
Each day, pick out one or two of your most high-yield activities and DO THEM FIRST.
Pretty simple, eh?
To get used to it, just pick ONE THING. Do it. Then go back to whittling away the rest of your day. :-)
After you’ve practiced for a week or so, stack a second high yeild activity to do after your first. Take a short break in between them. So you might write a blog post (high yield activity #1), have a chat with your BFF over Skype (that’s your break, set a timer for 15 minutes) and then move on to filming a module for your new course (high yield activity #2). Then whittle away the rest of your day checking stats and refreshing Facebook if you so desire. You can still feel good about your day because you got two really important, high yield things done!
If you don’t have a team, that’s ok, do your ONE THING at the beginning of your day and then move on to your must-do but low-yield activities only after you’ve completed your ONE THING.
You’ll find that you’re getting more important work done and oftentimes that important work begets more important work. Important work recharges us, it makes us want to do more of it. It’s the starting part that can be hard, but once you’ve started, it’s so rewarding you’ll just keep going.
Don’t create massive to-do lists – they’re overwhelming and disheartening when we don’t get it all done. To start, create a list of ONE.
What’s the one high yield thing you’ll tackle first thing tomorrow morning? Let me know in the comments!