Eight Time Management Habits You Need to Adopt Right Now if You Ever Want to Be Successful

If you are in business for yourself, you need to have good time management habits. You no longer have a boss looking over your shoulder, making sure you get things done. You can no longer get paid by the hour and run out the clock and make money doing nothing.

You need to do something to make money. That means you need to get the most out of every single day. You need to be busy and not just productive. Take a look at these 8 time management habits, figure out which one you're not applying and apply it to yourself right now.

Habit #1: One Project At a Time

Many people fight with me or don't trust me when I tell them they need to have one project going at a time and yet they wonder why I get so much accomplished. Don't have a big long to-do list. Instead, decide what is your focus this week – are you writing articles, are you writing a sales letter, are you making a new product? And this week is only for completing that project.

You will wear yourself out if you try to write an article in the morning, build an AdSense site at noon, make a product in the afternoon, and post on forums in the evening.

If your focus today or this week is to write articles, have a goal such as 30 articles... write a handful of articles everyday until you're done and then that project is finished forever and you will never have to go back and worry about it.

Habit #2: Finish What You Start

If something is 99% complete, it's not complete. Write that report or finish that sales letter and launch it, even if it's only version 1.0.

Habit #3: Stop Doing What Loses Money

I have known far too many marketers who had a successful information product business working for them but then they abandoned it all to move towards a new niche or to move towards membership sites. If you have something that is making you money and you want to try something new, add it to your business.  Don't simply drop one thing and get a new thing.

The (basic) definition of insanity is to continually attempt an action and expect a different result to happen. If something is not making you money, if building AdSense sites are not making you money, if pay-per-click is not making you money, try something new.

Habit #4: Repeat What Makes Money

Once you find that one thing that works for you and it might be freelancing for the moment, repeat it but in a bigger scale. If you're freelancing, that might mean to charge more for your hourly rate. If you have a low ticket info-product, that might mean to get more traffic or make new joint venture connections.

Find one thing that makes money that's been proven to convert and to sell and course-correct. For example, if you find that writing 10 articles on a certain subject gets you lots of traffic, opt-ins, and sales, then write 100 articles on that same subject.

Habit #5: Simplify It

Although many gurus get money from you by selling their complicated system or by throwing out fancy terms for you, the things that work and the things that you are able to wrap your head around are the simple things.

Most of the systems I use for writing sales copy, making articles, writing blog posts are only around 4 or 5 steps long. Think about Steve Jobs and Apple's product line. What do they sell? Desktops, laptops, Mp3 players, and phones. When in doubt, if you can't fit it on a napkin, it's too complicated.

Habit #6: Be Fast

It's one thing to say you're going to write 100 articles but if it takes you a whole year to do it, that's no fun. You want instant gratification and instant results, that way, you know that what you're doing is working.

You need to be fast in order to stay excited... you've been only working on something for a few days, it's fresh, and it's new and it's not some chore you have been forced to keep up for the last several months.

Get used to going from an idea to a finished concept quickly and be used to making snap decisions, whether it's to choose what you'll do today, what your project will be or even how to outline it and what the structure of that project will be.

Habit #7: Do What Makes You Happy

Here's the thing most people won't tell you about working for yourself and working on the internet – it is much harder than any day job. Why deal with that? Because the idea is: even though the thing you are doing is tougher than a day job, it's something that you are excited to wake up and crank out.

You can focus on what excites you, what niche excites you, for example, webinar training, and what activities about that excite you, for example article writing to get traffic. You might work harder and might even work longer hours being self-employed than at a day job, it's something that you're excited to wake up and complete. So that way, it's really not a job.

If you do what makes you happy, even if it's slightly more work, you will be able to sustain it for longer and it will have a much better payoff. When you're happy with what you do, your life has meaning.

Habit #8: Don't Do It Alone

For me and many others, we became much more productive when we had someone making sure we stay on task. I'm not necessarily saying a boss who gives you orders. Just someone who makes sure you stick with your own orders.

Have somebody who will read your task list everyday, have somebody who you can report to and at the beginning of the day, tell them what you will be working on and at the end of the day, you can tell them if you completed those tasks or if you failed. This way, if you fail, you'll feel bad, but if you succeed, you'll feel happy.

You will be a lot more motivated if you're worried about letting someone else down as opposed to letting yourself down.

Those are 8 habits you should be adapting right now to make yourself more successful...

Change of plans today: I will also RESPOND to your comment, if you click the retweet button in the post above, and your Twitter "first and last name" is the same as the name you leave in the comment.

1. Leave a comment.  2. Click the retweet button. 3. I'll respond to your comment.

Out of the 8, which was your favorite? Please let me know in a comment below.

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Comments (35)

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  1. Britt Malka says:

    My favourite is your Habit #7 – Do what makes you happy.

    That doesn’t only work for business, but also for other areas.

    I got a Wii and the Wii Fit board and all a little more than 500 days ago. I’ve been using it on and off. Typically, I would use it daily for about 30-60 minutes, then after a week or so, it would be every second day, then more randomly, and then six months with no Wii at all.

    A while ago, I thought about this pattern. I really enjoyed using the Wii, except for some exercises that I didn’t like, and I sure could use some moving, so what could I do to get myself onto the Wii every day, or at least regularly?

    Then the bleeding obvious hit me: Make it fun. Do only what you think is fun.

    So ever since (almost 2 weeks now), I’ve been playing tennis, bowling, even golf, and boxing, and I have lots of fun.

    True, I might not sweat as much as if I took the regular programs, but I prefer to continue to use my Wii rather than do it correctly and stop after a short while.

    So – Do what makes you happy 🙂

  2. Robert Plank says:


    I know what you mean… turning everything into a game helps because I’m trying to get the “high score” … right this many articles, comment on this many blogs, record this many videos, make this amount of money. It makes work more fun than fun…

  3. Habits 3 and 4 are what I focus on this month. Abandoning what doesn’t bring in anything, and focusing on repeating what truly works.

    Furthermore, your tips on saving many minutes each day have already helped tremendously. Now is the time to FINALLY make the steps that will bring the whole thing in order.

    My focus is to bring all activities into becoming a real business, and my plans are to finalize everything so it becomes a well-run machine by 2011. 2012 & 2013 for growth, and planning on becoming independent in 2014.

    Thanks for inspiring so evermuch during this challenge with daily articles. 🙂

  4. Robert Plank says:

    No problem Henrik…

    My only question for you is, do you have a business other than your make money online blog? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense if you aren’t making money, to have a blog about it. I found some of your EzineArticles on other topics but they lead back to your Twitter, which just links back to more blogs… there’s nothing I can buy.

    I’m just saying, you could probably cut a year or two out of that 2011-2014 range if you focused on something you have proof for (like I do with my programming stuff).

  5. Habits # 1 and 2 for me. I get overwhelmed with all I need to do to get up to speed and have a problem finishing any of what I need to do. Good tips here.
    I have noticed that you DO Get a LOT done.

  6. Robert Plank says:


    Yep, I just realized I put the most important ways of getting more done first. And anyone who tries to argue with me, who tries to tell me they can multitask… doesn’t get as much done as me. (Including “Past Robert”) … what are you going to do to make sure you reduce it down to 1 project?

  7. Nancy Boyd says:

    #2 is my favorite because when I do that, it automatically takes care of #4. Incomplete products (or products that are not launched) don’t earn money, they cost money!

    Sometimes, though I don’t know whether or not it’s going to make money, until I launch it — a big Catch22. However, what’s not done definitely isn’t earning money! The risk is worth getting things done to the point where I can find out if an improvement is what will get it earning, or if I should scrap it in favor of something else.

    All the more reason to research carefully to make sure there is a need for the product before creating it 🙂


  8. Robert Plank says:

    True dat Nancy… so many people try to make launching a product some big huge thing. You don’t need advertising (just traffic), no storefront, physical product, shipping, warehouse, or any of that nonsense… you just put it out there.

    Making sure you’re putting out something people want is important, but it’s pretty easy as long as you: 1. see what people asking about on forums 2. look at what your competitors do, right?

  9. Good list! Habit #1 is important for me because I’m NOT good at multi-tasking.

  10. Dave Doolin says:

    @Britt – turning things into a game really does work well. Back when I used to worry about my CV/resume, that’s exactly what I did, and it was stupendous. Doesn’t count for much now.

    @Eric – I’m finding when I have to multitask (too often), it’s something I get much, much better at with practice. A lot of practice. That being said, I’m focusing on one main thing this week just as Robert suggests. There’s a few other things I have to do (mandatory, like bill stuff), but I’m not going to focus on them. I’m just going to do them while focusing on project.

    Robert, thanks for repeatedly hammering these points.

  11. I recently changed some habits myself. Though I’d love to make money doing what I’m doing it took me a year to figure out where I should point myself.

    One of those kick me in the head to make me understand moments


  12. No response necessary: I have work to do on the following points:
    #1: sometimes I forget what I am working on…
    #2: I found a few almost finished products, accidentally, I was looking for something else. I put them online today.
    #3: I have a hunch some of my ppc campaigns are total duds, but I am still not able to set up tracking correctly, so it is a hunch… and the money leaks away
    #4: hm: time to find some jv’s for my list building mechanics class
    #5: Simplification takes a lot more intelligence than complicating it. Trying…
    #6: This is a only point where I am about where I want to be… yaaay
    #7: Ditto
    #8: I have been getting great results from this one.

  13. Robert Plank says:


    Are you still in the adswap and giveaway niche? You don’t think it’s dying?

  14. I have had some success using Yahoo calendar to send me reminders everyday on projects I’m working on or want to work on


  15. Lisa Suttora says:

    Great post Robert! These are the things that derail most entrepreneurs. In fact I just wrote about what I call being “Time Optimistic” ™ over at my blog at lisasuttora.com.

    It’s a huge problem for people – having a never ending to-do list and not only does nothing get done, but the RIGHT things don’t get done!

    When I started my online business back in 2002, being Time Optimistic would have knocked me out of the game if I hadn’t been able to get a handle on it.

    The issue of time is more important than what to sell , how to market it, SEO or anything else – because all the best strategies in the world won’t help you if you don’t take action!


  16. Robert Plank says:


    I was just reading that post of yours a couple hours ago too. I used to that same thing in college — scheduling the appointment with myself to make sure I get it done. Even systems like Getting Things Done, which just make your to-do list more complicated, make you complete the easy tasks first… so you’re not focusing on what’s REALLY important.

    To-do lists suck.

    Time management is the toughest thing to convince people they need, even though they need it the most, if that makes sense… so frustrating…

  17. I find #1 nearly impossible – working on one thing at a time. Do you mean one thing per day? Per Half day? Only one thing until absolute completion? Do you mean don’t do anything else while working on said project (working without interruption). There are several ways to interpret this.

  18. Robert Plank says:


    One project at a time (usually 1 week = 1 project, like a specific product launch) and 4 tasks every day to make sure it gets done. If anything else needs to get done during that time, like sending out autoresponders, I’ll have them pre-scheduled so I don’t have to touch them. It’s just like these blog posts, all pre-scheduled even though I take a few minutes of break time each day to come in here and respond to comments so I’m still live.

  19. Robert ~

    I just wish your list of time management habits was shorter … you know, so it could fit on a napkin! 🙂

    Joking around aside …

    Habit #1 is my middle name:

    I’ll take the current blogging challenge as an example. It’s not that I can’t get ANYTHING ELSE done during this challenge, it’s that I know I’ll get a lot more out of it and reach my goals for joining the event if I focus my efforts on blogging and not get sidetracked. I absolutely prefer to work on ONE THING at a time. I get better results!

    Habit #8 is something I finally bought into this year:

    Just joined my first mastermind group a couple of weeks ago and it’s the best biz decision I’ve made, hands down!

    Habit #6 doesn’t work with my metabolism:

    The faster I go, the further behind I get. Period.


  20. Robert Plank says:


    I think you could fit 8 things on a napkin.

    Is there a reason you didn’t pre-schedule for blog30? Not even the whole 30 days, just knock out 7 posts every Monday. I calculated (in a comment on one of Jeanette’s posts) that based on the amount of traffic and opt-ins I get on my blog, I can afford to set aside 2 days per month on the blog, but that’s it.

    How many subscribers does your blog bring you and how much time are you putting into it? What about sales? Do you have another way of getting traffic, subscribers and sales that gets you more results and takes less time?

    The mastermind was a good choice for me too. It was my day job replacer.

    I don’t get why going fast would put you behind… doesn’t that put you ahead?

  21. My favorite is #2 – Finish what you start.
    I used to bounce from one project to the next. I was “busy” but not finishing any of the projects. I now focus on one until it’s finished, then move to the next. When I’m dealing with a large project, I will break it into smaller pieces – but still finish one of those pieces before moving on to something else.

    Those are all great tips Robert!

  22. Robert Plank says:

    Thanks Steve, I had a blog post the other day that was all about finishing what you start.

    Your head is a lot clearer now that things are 100% done and not hanging over your head, right?

    An important thing about that is I know not to trust myself too much. For example, Lance came to me last night with a really great idea about what should do for the rest of 2010 but I’m not thinking about it too much, or doing any work on it, until the next 2 things we need to launch, get out there.

  23. Sherm says:

    Gotta print this post and frame it! Regarding #5 (Simplify)…I agree, and use this technique in an unusual way: When I’m doing a complicated multi-step process like making and posting videos, I type out my steps as I go along so I can repeat it later without trying to remember every last step.

    LOVE #7! Totally true and helpful ^_^

  24. Terrific Tips! Thank you so much for the list. A combo of #1 + #6 works for me with marketing tasks, leaving more time for my writing!

  25. Robert Plank says:

    That’s great to hear Evelyn…

    How do you make sure you always write fast?

  26. HelenRappy says:

    I love this list Robert and you make some very good points!! I really get stuck with number 1. I don’t understand how to just do 1 thing until it is complete. Do you just mean one thing a day or a week and then you do something else on another day? I have homework, I have JV projects I am working on, I am teaching a class weekly and writing it as I go.. and while writing that class I am working on a new product so I can launch that before this current class is over.

    I like the idea of theme days, or weeks. I could do that and say this week is to write out all my blog posts for the month, or today I will write all my broadcasts and auto responder messages for the week (or month).

    I like the idea but as often as I have heard you say it, I just can’t wrap my little head around it. I won’t give up on the idea, I’ll keep at it until I get it right.

    Thank you!!

  27. Robert Plank says:


    What is the class and product about? Is there a way you can double dip, for example part of the class shows them how you are getting the product ready?

    Yes, I mean one project throughout the whole day or one throughout the whole week. Whenever I try to mix, I get almost nothing done on those days.

  28. Robert, <> I never thought this would happen to me AGAIN, but I feel stuck, as if I had nothing else to say, boiling down to: I have nothing to say.

    Your comments don’t help either.

    I will be unstuck by the end of the AM2 event, promise.

    You see, all my attempts at mindset webinars feel, to me, like a flop. And though that is my number one love, I feel inadequate.

  29. Robert Plank says:


    If you can get successful case studies out of your mindset training, then it isn’t a flop.

  30. I love that you got back to me. Thanks, Robert! I see that I should have clarified a few things. I am doing some advanced posting – not as much as you’ve suggested. Might help you to know that I also work three part time jobs offline in addition to my business.

    When I start speeding up my usual comfortable (do-able) pace, I get totally flustered. It’s just something I’m very aware of about myself, Robert, so I must pay attention to it.

    I’m enjoying coming over here every day and checking out your posts. And I will hold true to my commitment to be here every day during the duration of the blogging challenge (and most likely, beyond!)


  31. You’re quite right to point that out, Robert. 🙂
    That is precisely why putting things in order will focus on both a webshop and bringing harmony into projects. The main page I link to from EzineArticles will change once the whole thing is in order.
    But I’m happy you made the comment because – obviously – when things aren’t as visible as they should be, then my English market isn’t working at nearly the speed it could.

    So I value your feedback. That is precisely the purpose for the cleaning I am doing right now.

  32. Okay, I like to challenge you, Robert, so here’s my situation. I’m not creating A product or teaching A course. I’m running a business. With employees and contractors, each of whom depends on me to give them assignments, check their work and keep the ball rolling.

    Yes, I can focus on one project myself, but that leaves them twiddling their thumbs, with no feedback on the work they’ve already done. If I don’t have multiple projects going, I can’t keep them busy. We can’t all work on the same project, since each of them has just a part to play in any single project.

    So how do you manage a business?

  33. Robert Plank says:


    Can you give them a week’s worth of work at a time (and have them email you every day with progress just so you have a record) but only talk to them or get the work back one day of the month… with theme days?

    Also I learned years ago from Joel Christopher to outsource the outsourcing. That means I’ll dictate some 50 articles and hand them off to Lance, and leave it up to him to cut it up into 5 jobs, make the payments, and be sure that all the work is done… that way I only have to deal with one person. And it’s something where I can let it go for a week and not have to check on it and switch gears every day. Have you ever done that?

  34. Great ideas, Robert! Thanks! I’ll definitely rethink some of my activities, based on this. Gee, think I can have Lance run things for me, too? 🙂

    Really appreciate your taking the time for the personal replies.

  35. Karen says:

    Melanie sent me. The idea of working on one project at a time is startling and revolutionary for me. I’m giving it a go in a very inexpert, inept way, but “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first.” I just learned that today on Michele Scism’s blog.

    I’ll go with 1 and 2 for right now. #8 was a whole other planet to me before the #blog30. Now I get it!

    Thank you.

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