There are different reasons that you may have decided to start running an online business. Some people fall into it by mistake, whilst for others it’s a carefully considered decision, and for yet more people it’s because it’s something that can be started after work to start bringing in some extra money.
But there is a miss-conception, perpetuated by the endless product launches styled on how to make a fortune with ten minutes work, that it’s easy. Well, I guess the principles are. But like anything, if you want to be really successful at it then you’ve got to put the work in.
And that’s where it can get tricky!
Not the putting the work in, but the fact that your work is the internet. And the internet is so… well… distracting!
I mean that’s what we want. When we build websites we want people to see links to other articles on the site and read them, view our picture galleries and interact with us. When we advertise we want to stop people from doing what they planned and click on our advert. When they’re on Facebook we want to keep them interacting with our page as long as possible.
In other words if they’re not on our website we want to interrupt what they’re doing so they visit our website and if they are on our website we want to keep them there for as long as possible.
But when you spend your days working online, those distraction can prevent you from achieving what you want in the time you have.
Just some of the distractions are:
- Researching products instead of information
- Reading competitor websites
It’s very easy without realising it to spend hours on doing things that are enjoyable, but not directly helping your business to grow.
Usually these distractions don’t happen in one long session. You’re unlikely to go and spend three hours on YouTube when you know you should be doing something else.
They happen in small breaks. For example you’re writing content for your blog and an email comes in so you go and read it and then reply to it.
The reading and replying to the email has taken you away from the task you were doing for five minutes. But, when you go back to the task you are doing it takes a little while longer to get back into where you were because you’re brain is no longer focused on it. This extends what may have taken twenty minutes into something that takes thirty minutes.
That’s only ten minutes, so not a big deal right?
If you do that every hour then you’re spending 16% longer on a job than you need to be. So, if you’re working 4 hours a day on your web business then you would actually spending less then 3.5 hours doing what you should be doing and you should be able to get the work you’ve done in that 3.5 hours done in 3!
Essentially you’ve wasted an hour, or 25%, of the time you have available to work on your business.
To prevent this from happening you have to be strict with yourself. When you start a task then you only work on that task until it’s finished or until you’ve spent the required time on it.
If you find yourself easily distracted by Skype, emails or other applications. Close them all down when you start the task. When you’ve finished you can open them up again and check on anything that you may have missed. Although you may feel that you need to respond to something immediately, there’s very little that can’t wait thirty minutes until you’ve finished what you’re currently working on.
You may also choose to use a service like Time Doctor. This is an application that runs on your computer and tracks your tasks so you know how long you’ve spent on it. However, the clever thing is that it also tracks your web application usage so you can see how often you’re using Skype or checking your emails, or anything similar. And it then reports on how much wasted time you’ve spent on using applications you don’t need to be using to get the job done.
Keeping the focus on a task is probably one of the hardest parts of running an online business, but doing it will see your business grow significantly faster than it has before.