Learn Some Self Control!

Keep reading for a 10 second exercise that will boost your productivity...

I bought a laptop before the Hawaii trip, because I've been on planes before to go to seminars and hate the waiting on the plane, where you're not able to move around much.  I'd have so many ideas for articles, but all I could do was write down the chapter titles on a piece of paper.  I definitely wasn't going to write out articles by hand and retype them... total waste of time and easy way to get bored.

So, I bought a laptop for the flight.

If you've met me at seminars you've probably never seen me with a laptop.  That's because for me, seminars were my only downtime from computer.  I don't take nights and weekends off, I sure as heck wasn't going to do MORE marketing during my only vacation.  I'd queue up lots autoresponders and e-mails before the trip so my business wouldn't take a hit.

I like to sit down at my computer, get my marketing work done, then get off the computer.

So why did I buy a laptop?  Wouldn't that wreck that system?

Nope... because I'm making an effort to exert some self control.  I set a simple rule in my head that I'm only going to use the laptop in 14 minute spurts, to either write articles or whip up PowerPoint presentations for videos.  No browsing forums or checking e-mails.

How do YOU get self control?

It's simple.  Pick a task that takes up most of your time and kills your productivity:

  1. Checking e-mails, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  2. Reading forums.
  3. Watching TV or playing computer games.
  4. Leaving the computer too much.
  5. Incoming phone calls.

Then choose one thing you wish you did more every day:

  1. Write one blog post or article.
  2. Write one chapter of an e-book.
  3. Write one sales letter.
  4. Write autoresponder e-mails.
  5. Send a joint venture proposal.

Now you're not allowed to do that one habitual productivity-killing task at ALL (the number you chose), until you do the thing on your wishlist (the letter you chose).

If you chose "1" and "A" then your 1A productivity task is to write one blog post before you even check e-mails.  You turn your compulsion into an advantage... uh oh, someone might have e-mailed me something important.  There might be a pressing customer service issue waiting... better write up a blog post and PUBLISH or SCHEDULE IT (important... finish what you start) before you can check that e-mail.

Sure, you tell yourself you're only going to check for new e-mails, but you'll start deleting and archiving some, replying to others, and the next thing you know it, 30 minutes have been wasted and you still don't have that article.

Or if your big habit is checking the forums, and you have a sales letter to write, then you need to be on a 2C schedule today.  Finish that sales letter and have it live on the page with the order button, or submitted to your client (whichever applies) before you check the forums.

Multi-tasking is a productivity killer.  Switching gears is a productivity killer.  Be aware of this, like I was when I bought my first ever laptop.

Filed in: Productivity

Comments (11)

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  1. John Deck says:

    Interesting idea.

    I use time boxing. Where I block in a 30 to 60 minutes and work on one action item and nothing else. For example today at 10:30 I have 30 minutes to do an Aweber form integration for new squeeze page. Did not get to it yesterday, so I blocked it on today’s schedule.


  2. Joel Marion says:

    Eban Pagan shares similar concepts in his Wake Up Productive free training video. It really is powerful stuff.

    Get rid of the multi-tasking and watch your productivity skyrocket…just imagine how much more money you’ll make when you’re actually getting things done.

    And Robert, always great insights.

    Thanks, bud.


    P.S. And this is on the FREE blog; just imagine what’s in the Daily Seminar posts (and yes, I’m a member…worth every penny and a whole lot more).

  3. Mitch says:

    Great way to look at it. Now all I need to do is determine exactly what it is I’m here for. When I know what my business actually is, I can devote this kind of productive time to it.

    I’m guilty of all those time-wasters, and I only break away from them when I get a flash of an idea and attempt to expand on it. I need a big picture.

    Thank you,

  4. Wow Robert, when you’re really “in the zone” working on projects and working on your list/site, how many hours do you pump in per week (or month)?

  5. It is a very interesting combination of tasks and wishes – and the decision to change wishes to TASKS to be excecuted before tasks.

  6. Robert — you didn’t even share with them you biggest time management secret: Reverse Mini-Days!

    Also, thanks Joel for the props on Daily Seminar. I’m glad you liked it. It is truly a one of a kind membership.


  7. Brad West says:

    Thanks Robert,

    Most of your tips i do have down pretty good. But I’m still amazed at how little one can accomplish in a day.

    I know i should’nt have looked at my e-mail and opened your message probably worse than that I came here read your post and responded.

    What the heck I admit it I’m an addict. I am on a bunch of lists to try to keep abreast of what the big marketers are doing. most of the time I don’t open many of the messages. But when i add some one new such as yourself. I try to get a feel of who you are and how you do what you do.

    We are basically starting from ground zero right now, we spent a huge amount of time building something we had stolen from us. Sucks to be the good guy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way but the honest way.
    Brad West ~ onomoney

  8. Grandmapeg says:

    A bit of irony – we are the ones reading and responding so probably need those tips. Mother (and you) know best “Always do the most difficult task first and get it over”. The challenge is to keep the e-mail and Twitter mail to a small mountain. Oh, yes – follow me on Twitter, but don’t expect very many Tweets.

  9. Joel Marion says:

    Networking with other bloggers is anything but unproductive activity – nothing wrong w/ dropping comments on great blogs.

    Use social media to PROMOTE your business…instead of just wasting time w/ it like most people do.


  10. Robert Plank says:

    Good point Joel, it needs to be a quick task instead of a time filler. There’s nothing wrong with quickly reading 5 blog posts and quickly making 5 responses to them — the same with forum posts…

    But it’s quite another thing to surf a forum looking for ideas or stuff to comment on just to kill an hour or two. I use Google Alerts to draw me to posts with certain keywords so I don’t get distracted by all the other information.

    Leaving blog comments is ok as long as you don’t waste hours doing it, or use it to delay a more profitable activity you SHOULD be doing.

  11. I like to do three things at once. And not finish any of them. I think the key is to finish something. I keep trying to adjust my jobs to doing short quick projects. That I can finish. I am much more productive in the morning so I work from my home office without phone or interuptions for the first couple of hours per day. In the evening I post comments and write parts of articles.

    I like your system but then who is going to enforce it?


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