14 Time Management Hacks For Part Time Niche Marketers To Stay Productive

Filed in Productivity by on January 12, 2017

You’ve played Mortal Kombat 3, right?

Yea, that old video game from the 90’s.

I spent hours playing it every day.

With Sub-Zero, I was unbeatable.

Back then, I never thought a simple, harmless statement at the intro screen of MK3 would make my life hell a decade later.

“There’s no knowledge that is not power”

Yea, that’s what it said.

 

there-is-no-power-that-is-not-knowledge

 

I took this a bit too seriously, I guess.

And while I love the people behind Mortal Kombat for what they created, I hate them for showing this at the start of the game.

It’s a lie, a BIG FAT lie!

But, for most of us, it’s a part of our belief system.

We actually believe that knowing more is good for us.

You might not have played this game (or just didn’t take it as seriously) but you’re probably struggling with the same problem.

As a budding entrepreneur, this is one of the biggest things holding you back.

You think you need to know more and, as a result, you lose focus and fail to take action at the right time.

Every year, you see new success stories emerge out of your industry.

You’ve seen countless newbies become experts and influencers.

You’ve read case studies of broke homeless guys turning their lives upside down making six figures online from beach resorts.

But even after reading all of it, and purchasing dozens of info products online, you’re right where you were a year ago

Okay, I’m being a bit harsh – you’ve moved an inch, happy?

You know why you keep doing this over and over again?

Because you think you need to know more.

STOP kidding yourself!

And in the age of information overload, this feeling will never go away.

Until you realize that you DON’T need to know everything to find success.

You just need to focus on a few things, do them better than a few others, and get your fair share from the market.

Easier said than done, right?

Here are a few ways you can program your brain to focus on your goals, and take action on what you already know...

 

What You'll Learn in this Post

  • How to achieve 10x more every day by making a small change to your routine.
  • How to stay more focused and productive and get better use of your limited time.
  • One habit that's killing your productivity every day.
  • How automation can help you become more productive.
  • How to build a business in your spare time around your day job.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]

 

1. Create Systems to Measure and Improve Your Productivity

When you're already working 50+ hours a week at your day job, it's hard to find time to work on your business.

You need to optimize your productivity for whatever time you get before or after work to run your own niche business.

But you can't improve something that you don’t measure.

Which is why you need to use tools and systems that measure your current productivity levels and tell you exactly where you're spending your time.

One of the easiest ways to do that is by creating to-do lists for the next day.

Before you finally shut down your laptop, list down the activities that you want to perform the next day.

Doing so not only gives you a clear direction but also allows you to see how much you got done at the end of the day.

This could be done on a simple piece of paper or an app like Evernote or Google Keep.

However, a more accurate way to measure your productivity is to use a tracking tool like Rescue Time which has been a real life-changer for me.

It not only tracks everything you do on your laptop, smartphone, tablet or any other device you choose but also gives you a clear breakdown of where you spend most of your time.

Here’s a sample snapshot:

 

rescuetime1

 

33% productivity which is 3.1% higher than the last month! If stats like these don't open your eyes I don’t know what will.

You just need to add your core business activities and potential distractions once while setting up your account, and the app will start doing the rest for you.

 

2. Eat That Frog and Stop Procrastinating To Achieve More and Stay Happier

You don’t think there’s anything worse than eating a frog, right?

“Eat That Frog” is a bestselling book by Brian Tracy, a hugely successful businessman and a productivity expert.

In his book, he shares this theory by Mark Twain...

That if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worse thing that is going to happen to you all day long.

Your frog is the biggest and the most important task of the day which you’re likely to procrastinate on.

Instead of pushing it down your to-do list, you need to eat that frog every morning (or evening, if you have a day job as well) to get things done faster.

 

eatthatfrog

 

Why?

Because research indicates that the longer you procrastinate on a task, the harder it becomes.

Another study by Procrastination and Science shows that serial procrastinators are 70% more likely to be unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives as compared to the people who get things done.

Habitual procrastination may also lead to more complex health problems like heart diseases, depression, and anxiety.

Eating that frog might feel difficult at the start but once it becomes a habit, nothing tastes better.

So try cranking out a difficult or time-consuming task BEFORE you go to work.

And trust me I know:

You get little sleep as it is and it's going to be hard to get up even earlier in the morning.

But even just 30 minutes earlier that you dedicate to your business before you have any distractions from family amounts to roughly an extra 15hrs per month towards your businesses.

And if you think you're tired first thing in the morning how are you going to feel AFTER a full day's work?

Seriously, give it a try...

 

3. Identify Your Most Productive Time and Make Full Use of It

You're trying to build your niche marketing business while doing a full-time job.

So you need to find time either before or after work to get things done.

But that really depends on whether you're an early riser or a night owl.

My own productivity levels rise with the sun and go down as it sets, and in my own experience it's much easier to put in a couple of hours before work than after your day job.

But it’s different for everyone so there’s no fixed rule here.

If you think you can find a couple of distraction-free hours before work, then early morning might be the right time for you.

But if you think you can concentrate better after everyone's gone to bed at night then be a night owl.

Being a morning person, though, I do recommend that you try an early morning routine for at least a month and see how it goes.

 

wakeup-infographic

Source: Fuzzy Science

Several studies show a direct relationship between productivity and getting up early, which is why some of the most successful entrepreneurs are early risers.

For example, Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, gets up at 4AM and conquers the day even before most people wake up.

 

richardbranson

 

Glen Alsop (ViperChill) was a night owl who forced himself to become an early riser.

The results were staggering.

 

early-rising-productivity

 

But whether you’re an early riser or not, identifying your most productive time, and making full use of it, is the key to success. It’s like applying the 80/20 rule to your daily schedule.

 

4. Follow a Set Routine To Get Your Mind Working

All of us have the same 24 hours in a day.

When you're already working at a 9 to 5 job, there's little time to work on your own business since most of us have family commitments as well.

But some people still manage to achieve much more in that time than others.

No, it's not magic.

It's called time management and following well-defined routines.

A study by The University of Maine shows that following fixed daily routines improves your brain’s ability to focus on the task at hand and perform at the optimal level.

According to Harvard Business Review, having fixed daily routines is a common trait of successful people.

So what exactly do I mean by routines?

Nothing fancy.

The objective of a routine is to structure your day for maximum productivity and work-life balance.

It allows you to live a normal life and not drown completely in the bottomless sea of IM (which can easily happen and ruin your family/social life).

Being an internet marketer means you can work whenever you want.

But for the sake of consistency, it’s better to fix your working hours or time slots for work.

More specifically, I believe it’s important to set an end time for your workday which acts as a deadline and gives you a sense of urgency to complete your daily tasks.

Your routine should also include designating a separate room or place in your house for work.

It’s even better if you could work from a local library, a co-working space or even a coffee shop.

 

5. Plan Ahead, Set Goals and Focus on One Task at a Time

As a part-time niche marketer, you have limited time to work on your business.

Which is why you should never start working without clear goals.

Otherwise, you’ll always find yourself behind time, moving in different directions without achieving anything at the end of the day.

Or you might fall victim to the shiny object syndrome (something most beginner niche marketers suffer from) and waste money buying new courses or MMO programs instead of working on what you already know.

 

precious

 

These are common problems for wannabe niche marketers who don't have clear goals.

Having SMART goals, on the other hand, gives you the luxury of planning ahead and identifying the most important tasks that you need to perform every day.

 

smart-goals1-1

Source: New Found Balance

A study by Massey University (Switzerland) established a direct relationship between goals, focus, and self-motivation.

The clearer your goals the better you’re able to focus on the task at hand (something most people working from home struggle at).

For example, as niche marketers, most of us need to create content on a regular basis.

Smart marketers have months of content planned ahead for them (like we do here at NicheHacks)

They identify the keywords they want to rank for, or the audience they want to target, and list down at least 2-3 months of blog titles in their editorial calendar.

The same goes for other marketing objectives like guest blogging, social media posts, link building, or anything else related to your business.

It all needs to be planned in advance so that you have clarity about your immediate and long-term goals, even if it means spending the first 1-2 days of every quarter doing this activity.

Without a plan and SMART goals, you'll remain distracted and keep on chasing shiny objects resulting in loss of focus.

Which is the last thing you need when you only have a few hours a week to work on your niche business.

 

6. Automate or Outsource Repetitive Tasks to Save Time

I’m a huge believer in the 80/20 rule which is why I keep mentioning it in my posts.

For a part-time niche marketer, it's a real life-saver

There’s so much to do it’s sometimes hard to prioritize and focus on the most important tasks.

Which is exactly why you need to filter your tasks through the 80/20, also known as the Pareto Principle.

 

pareto-principle

 

Focus on the 20% of the most important activities that bring 80% of your results.

Automate or outsource the rest.

As marketers, you can completely or partially automate 3 main areas of your business.

  • Email Marketing and Autoresponders
  • Social Media and Content Curation
  • Landing Pages and Sales Funnels

Personally, I use different IFTTT recipes and Buffer to automate many of my social media marketing tasks.

Tasks such as content creation, editing, formatting in WordPress etc. can be outsourced to professional bloggers and writers.

 

outource1

Source: Switching from Job to Business

Chelsea wrote a detailed guide on hiring a virtual assistant to manage other tasks that are important but do not require your direct involvement.

For example, finding or creating images for your blog posts, scheduling content, organizing and prioritizing your emails, managing your social media groups or pages and responding to comments on social media.

All of this costs money, of course.

You might not have the resources to outsource everything right now, but do it whenever possible so that you can work on your business instead of working in it.

When you have full-time job, family commitments, and everything else that life throws at you to deal with, on TOP of running your niche business, the 80/20 rule is a lifesaver.

 

7. Time-Cap Email and Social Media To Minimize Distractions

Emails, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. are all key platforms for niche marketers.

You can’t make a living online without them.

But they can easily distract you from your core tasks and eat up your

Email, in particular, is not only one of the biggest time-killers for online marketers but also a major source of distraction if not managed properly.

Studies suggest it takes almost 90 seconds to regain focus after reading 1 email.

And of course, most of us read more than one email every time we check our inbox.

 

email1

 

One way, to counter email and social media distractions is by time-capping both these activities.

You can’t work without them, but you can limit their usage to only certain hours of the day.

I personally recommend checking emails only after you’ve achieved your top priority goal for the day.

This allows you to stay focused on your own agenda and follow your own plans.

The team at The Simple Dollar even tested this technique and documented the results in a blog post. On average, limiting technology access during work saved them 31 minutes every day.

Author and management consultant Julie Morgenstern has written a complete book on the topic “Never Check Email in the Morning.”

“Once you check emails in the morning, you won’t be able to recover for the rest of the day.

Those requests and those interruptions and those unexpected surprises and those reminders and problems are endless... there is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes.”

Another management expert, Craig Jarrow, recommends checking email only twice a day.

Once early in the morning AFTER you’ve set your own agenda for the day, and once in the evening to catch up on anything important.

I apply the same rule to social media as well.

In fact, I recently deleted Facebook from my smartphone and only use it on my laptop when required, which has significantly reduced the time I wasted on the platform before.

I know Stuart does the same...

He doesn't take his phone with him when working on his business, he mutes chat apps and messenger programs and blocks distracting websites.

For example he only has 10 minutes per day to spend on Facebook by using the StayFocused app for Chrome to limit his use.

When you're working a full-time job this is 100% essential as every minute counts and must be put towards your niche business.

 

8. Make Physical Exercise a Priority to Stay Energetic

If you’re like me, and most other home-based or part-time niche marketers, you spend a lot of sitting on your couch, office desk, chair or bed (depending on where you work).

Research shows that’s not a really good idea.

Sitting for 8 to 12 hours a day increases your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes by 90% EVEN when you exercise regularly.

World Health Organization has identified physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for death of people all around the globe.

 

sitting1

Source: Business Insider

On the other hand, regular exercise and physical activity increases your energy levels, stamina, motivation, and improves your brain’s performance.

Nader, our fitness expert at NicheHacks, can tell you all about muscle building and heavy exercise.

But even if you don’t want to be a bodybuilder, do make a conscious effort to remain physically active throughout the day by walking around the house in every 30-40 minutes.

Having hand weights on your desk next to your laptop or somewhere that you spend a lot of time can help get some simple exercise in.

It doesn't only help with fitness but also with keeping you focused and productive.

 

9. Go Outside, Meet People and Network With Fellow Marketers

I’ve been working from home and making a full-time living from my laptop for more than 4 years now.

Needless to say that I love the freedom, the comfort, and the money.

But I’m an extrovert and the only reason I sometimes miss my corporate job is the chitchat with office colleagues, going out regularly for lunch with friends and just having a more active lifestyle.

It can be lonely working from home.

And no matter how many Facebook groups or Twitter chats you join, there’s no replacement for physically going out and meeting with people.

Doing so regularly not only freshens up your mind, but also helps you identify new opportunities that you can use as a niche marketer.

Search for other local internet marketers, freelancer and other related professionals working from home in your town, and meet them from time to time.

I’ve been doing that for the last 2 years in my city, and it has helped me and my business in a number of ways.

 

10. Identify Your Most Profitable Information Sources And Scale Them To Maximise Impact

If you’re like the average niche marketer, you’re most likely subscribed to dozens of email lists, and regularly receive offers, notifications and messages from countless other blogs.

Plus, you follow all of them on Facebook, Twitter and every other social network as well.

There’s no harm in it, as long as you can prioritize your information intake.

This is where productive and successful internet marketers are different from you.

They identify their most important information sources, and shut off everything else.

They realize that they don’t need to know every new research that comes up or every new blog post that someone has written.

You need to do the same.

The world won’t stop spinning if you stop noticing.

A simple way to do that is to align every source of information with your goals.

Whenever you’re tempted to read a new blog post, a new research or any other form of content, ask yourself if it contributes directly to any of your goals.

If it does, consume it. But if it doesn’t, just move on.

Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, is a renowned productivity expert.

He mentioned in his book how he managed information overload by completely quitting T.V and News.

Instead, once a week he would ask any of his friends if anything big had happened in the last week.

Even if you don’t go to that extent, here’s a simple exercise you can do to cut off unnecessary information from your life.

  • Identify where you spend most of your time on the web and list them down on a piece of paper. Email, Facebook, Twitter and random browsing are likely sources.
  • Now look at each source and ask yourself if it is contributing to your goals in any way.
  • Give an importance score (1-10, 1 being most important) to each information source.
  • Eliminate anything that’s below 6.
  • Now sort the remaining sources according to importance and allocate a time duration for each of them. For example, you could allocate 15 minutes to Facebook.
  • Now instead of randomly accessing these information sources, schedule them at the end of your work day or distribute them into multiple slots. Make a conscious effort not to exceed any of the slots.

 

 

Limiting your information intake and taking control of your time is one of the most important steps towards achieving your goals and getting things done.

 

11. Follow the GTD Framework for Creating Effective To-Do Lists

We’ve all heard of To-Do lists.

Every productive and goal oriented person maintains them at some level.

But a simple change in the way you create to-do lists can make them much more effective and help you focus only the job at hand.

 

gtd

 

In his book Getting Things Done, renowned author and productivity guru David Allen discusses the GTD system for creating to-do lists.

It’s a simple system that focuses on writing everything down and keeping your mind free. The GTD system has three parts,

 

Archive list

A list of things you might need one day but don’t need immediately.

 

Current task list

A list of active tasks that need to be done.

Every task needs to be written as an action item which should give you a clear guideline on what’s next.

For example, instead of writing “Make my blog more secure”, write “Ask Jim about the best security plugins he has been using”.

The more precise your action item is, the better.

Try rephrasing everything on your to-do list in a way that leads you to the next action.

This small activity has a huge psychological impact.

 

Daily Task Folder

A folder for each of the next 31 days of the current month, plus 12 separate folders for the months to follow.

You can manage this whole system either on apps like Evernote or Google Keep (my personal favorite).

Every day you can pick up your current to-do list for the day and review the actions for that day.

If you think a task or a piece of information might be important, but not sure about it, send it to the archive list.

If you see an item that needs to be done later in the month or year, just move it to the relevant folder.

The remaining tasks on your list are current to-do tasks that have clearly defined action items.

Doing this activity every day for a few days will get the GTD system rolling for you, freeing up your mind from unnecessary clutter, and making it easier for you to focus on the tasks at hand.

 

12. Get Rid of the Perfectionist Syndrome To Make Progress In Your Business

You might not have heard the term “perfectionist syndrome” before, but you’re most likely suffering from it.

This is one of the biggest reasons why many people, despite knowing enough to start an online business never do so.

If you’re suffering from this syndrome, you procrastinate everything and wait for the perfect time (which never comes).

You know affiliate marketing works, and people are making full-time passive income from it, but you still want to buy just one more eBook before starting your own site.

The origin of the perfectionist syndrome is fear.

Deep down inside, you fear failure. You fear embarrassment. You fear financial loss. You want assurances before starting something.

That’s not how business works.

And that is why the only cure to this syndrome is to actually start taking action.

And to make this easier for yourself, you need to follow the first six steps I’ve shared in this post.

Fear comes from uncertainty – when you don’t know what’s next.

And you can simply eliminate uncertainty (and fear) by planning.

But in order to plan, you need to have goals, which takes us all the way back to the second point in this post.

 

13. Limit the Time You Spend Communicating

Sending emails, doing Twitter shoutouts, and commenting on blog posts and forum threads can feel like work.

But unless you’re actively closing a sale or implementing growth of some sort, it isn’t.

If you work with a support team, let them know in advance that you’ll only be checking your email once or twice a day.

So you don’t get sucked into chatting with them for 45 minutes.

You’ll both know that communication needs to be brief, so you’ll get to the point even faster.

And even if you don’t have a support team and you're building your site totally on your own, only allow yourself to do these types of activities once per day, and limit your time window surrounding them.

This forces you to get to the most important messages more quickly.

And discard the clutter that stops you from focusing on the most important things... like the things that will drive more affiliate sales.

 

14. Set & Keep Working Hours to Guarantee Higher Productivity

If you’ve got a window of available time where you can work on your site every day or every other day, give yourself a hard stop time and STOP working when that time rolls around.

Stop working even if there’s still a few things on your to-do list.

It can be tempting to just keep working until you’re finished.

But if you stick to a hard stop, it trains your brain when it needs to be in a highly-productive working mode.

"Without structure," said Joel Runyon on Lifehack, "it’s easy to let non-essential things get in the way of actual work.

Because you haven’t designed exactly how you want to spend your time, it’s easy to let other people come in and steal 15 minutes here, and 30 minutes there."

But with a set routine, he says, "you don’t get the luxury of indulging people in things that distract you from your goals because you know exactly what you must do in order to get the end result that you desire."

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]

 

Ready to be More Productive When Working From Home?

The tips I’ve shared in this post have worked for me over the last 3-4 years and made me more productive.

But now I want to hear it from you.

What productivity challenges do you face while working from home around your day job and other commitments?

How do you manage your limited time successfully?

Tell me more in the comments and let other NicheHacks readers help you.

 

CLICK HERE TO GET ACCESS TO 150+ NICHE REPORTS

Jawad Khan
Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blog, WritingMyDestiny, Twitter and Google+

Comments (11)

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  1. Aamir says:

    Great! Love Rescuetime! Please add Disqus system as it makes easy to comment

  2. Joe says:

    I have tried a lot of these and they do an awesome job of making your day more productive. I think exercise is so underrated though!

    I find that doing an hour of yoga and some meditation really helps focus me for the day. The thing with meditation is that you can focus your mind in like 10 minutes.

    The actual yoga class I go to has meditation at end so kills two birds with the one stone...

    Thanks sharing this now 🙂

    Joe

    • NicheHacks says:

      Agreed on the meditation and exercise. I've never tried Yoga but I aim to meditate daily for 10 minutes after I wake up and shower just before I start my work for the day.

      Getting a nice long walk to clear the head is also a great start.

      I used to believe that the best thing for me to do was to get up and rush straight to start working because time was of the essence but it leads to me feeling rushed and stressed.

      It's much better if I take some time in the morning to get my thoughts together, wake up, clear the head and feel good.

  3. Amar kumar says:

    Hey Jawad,

    Today, there are several strategies are discovered to get beyond our competition. We should always strive to offer high quality products and service to our client in order to boost our productivity.

    Our niche should arise naturally from our interests and experience. Routine has high impact on our daily life it absolutely makes our productivity high by proper time management. Goals are everywhere in human life and organizations.

    In our private life we set goals for saving money and losing weight. At work, we may face sales goals, project milestones and production goals. Goal setting has consistently shown that goals affect our behavior and that, if chosen wisely, goals can boost individual productivity.

    Goal setting becomes especially tricky in complex working situations. Setting goals is considered as effective strategy for our businesses because it improves our work experience. Eventually, thanks for sharing your best ideology regarding this amazing topic.

    With best regards,

    Amar kumar

  4. Sean says:

    Amazing article! I usually get obsessed with one thing and work at until I'm sick. Which then leads to a quick burn out and zero motivation to continue. Mix that in with poor goals you get a recipe for disaster. Not to mention I'm easily distracted so it's hard to keep focused on reading and/or studying haha.

    This is a great reminder I need to slow down, set goals, and get outside. Thank you!

    • Thanks for sharing your lessons Sean.

      I think personally the key is to enjoy the process.

      I get depressed if I achieve big goals as I find myself much more productive when I enjoy the process and continue to challenge myself with smaller goals.

  5. Awesome article... I am going to change my daily routine from today itself.. Thanks again.

  6. GetItGoing says:

    Really good stuff. Coincidentally I recently listened to a podcast in which the author said very similar things regarding checking emails as that's easily a major distraction.

    I'd also like to add:

    - Listening to a masking noise or sounds audio source to prevent distractions interrupting our focus. Perhaps brown noise or various sounds on YouTube specifically for this. Ex. : rain sounds, running water sounds, dishwasher sounds etc. These help me a lot and mask the human voice, street noise, neighbors, etc. Best with decent earphones. I record the sounds to .MP3 so I can take them anywhere.

    - Set a timer for some time period (say an hour or 1.5 hrs) and during that time ONLY work on the task at hand. Then take a short break before starting again.

    Thanks for the article. Really gave some useful advice and things to apply right away as well as thinking about much time and productivity I'm losing to not having a real plan.