Small Things Can Still Eat You

October 25, 2008


Ants are pretty harmless little critters aren’t they? Ok - they bite but a little ant isn’t going to cause you many problems. Thousands of the bloody things could eat you though.

When I first moved to the place I live now, it was infested with ants. After a couple of days, I went swimming, plonked my bag on the changing room floor and a whole army of the little buggers crawled out. They had temporarily taken over my life.

Small things are like that aren’t they? At first they seem harmless, but they have the ability to drown you, if you don’t keep them under control.

Email is a bit like that. When you first get it, you just love getting those little messages - even the spam. Then you reach the point where replying to them becomes a full-time job.

Blogs are the same. I love reading what my friends have to say - but you get to the point where you just can’t keep up with reading every single post. But I read so many things on how to improve my life, that it’s become all reading and no improving. And it just isn’t do-able anymore.

So, I’ve started laying out some longer posts differently, to benefit time starved readers, beginning with this one: You Can Overcome Lack Of Self Confidence. The idea is, that if you’re in a rush - you still get the main points of the article from each headline.

More Ways You Can Stop The Little Things From Eating You

Cut down on reading blog posts and stick to the posts that benefit you most.

Set up a draft email message to acknowledge messages that you don’t need to comment on.

Time every task you do in a day, to identify the trivial time suckers.

Set up a daily “to do” list and stick to it. If you do it the night before, you’ll feel less stressed in the morning.

Switch off things like Instant Messaging and Twitter while you’re working.

If you’re struggling, get expert help, or advice. If you’re starting a business, check out the Business Discovery Group. And if you’re a new blogger, or thinking of launching a blog, I recommend the 8 Week Power Blog Launch.

What do you do to stop the small things eating you? Please share in the comments section.

Related Reading

Grilled Frog on Toast Anyone?
Why I Don’t Like Zen Habits
Stop F…ing About: Time Management Tips For Internet Start Ups

Should You Turn Off Blog Comments?

Related Reading On Other Websites

At Least I Don’t Have Zits
- A guest post by Rita, comparing blog commenting to High School.
Is There Such A Thing As A Commenters Burnout: Or Why I Sometimes Close Comments - Vered of MomGrind discusses commenting burnout.
Time Management For Creative People - Free e-book by Mark McGuinness
Not Productive Enough? Turn Off The Internet - Robert Scoble

What Happened To All The Time Savings?

September 19, 2008


Have the time savings evaporated from your life? I know I’m feeling pretty stretched and many of my friends are too. Barbara Swafford has been saying that she feels dog tired. And Valerie Morrison is just cream crackered from rushing about and she feels like she’s always late.

So where did all those time savings go from the past; the ones that made it easier for women to go out to work, instead of spending most their waking hours washing clothes by hand, cooking and cleaning?

When I was younger, my grandmother bought a miracle machine. “It’s going to save us so much time,” she told me. And it did – it was a dishwasher. It was a real godsend because my grandparents lived on a farm. And it felt like we were constantly cooking and washing up - especially in the summer when there were extra helpers to feed and more meals to make because of the long working hours.

There was no stopping grandma after that. First the microwave arrived, then a Magimix. And she used those two gadgets for just about everything. I thought they sucked. “Stuff doesn’t taste as good this way,” I complained. “It’s quicker,” she said.

Eventually I realised it made sense. These time saving gadgets and others, like the washing machine, dryer and refridgerator, made it possible for married woman to go out to work if they wanted.

So what went wrong? One minute we were making all these time savings and the next we’re all stressed out and rushing round like the roadrunner on steroids. How come we’ve lost time again?

It seems to me that there’s too many new inconveniences. Things we expected to be time savers are time suckers. And when all these additional people joined the workforce, nobody thought about the impact all those extra cars would have on our roads.

What was once a nice, easy drive to work has turned into a long stressful roadtrip. And when you’re stuck in a jam, stressed to the eyeballs because you’re going to be 25 minutes late for work, you’re constantly interrupted by that other ridiculous invention - the mobile phone (cell phone).

I thought they were great when they first came out. I could drive from one end of the country to the other with the kids and feel safe, knowing that I had my phone if something went wrong.

Then everyone started getting mobile phones and all those calls and text messages were driving me mad. Customers would call me 24/7. “Why didn’t answer your phone?” people would ask. And I was like, “I was in the bathroom,” or “I was eating lunch.” And I’d be thinking, what the hell does it have to do with you? Did that tosser from the mobile phone company put something in the small print that waivered my rights to any privacy at all?

Eventually, I delegated the answering of the damn thing to other people while I was at work. And finally, I even began switching it off. I’ve got to the point where it’s barely switched on at all. I simply use it for emergencies only and doing that has given me huge time savings.

Email is another interruption that I sometimes feel we could do without. People hit send and expect a response immediately. But would we really receive so many emails if folk had to stop and consider the importance of what they’re sending?

I gradually began checking my email less and less. And now I don’t even check it everyday. Folk stop expecting an immediate response if you don’t give them one.

These moves might seem shocking to those of you who check your email on a regular basis and wouldn’t dream of turning off your cell-phone. But we invited these time sucking interruptors into our lives and we can only free ourselves by closing the door on them.


Do you feel stretched for time? Which time wasting devices annoy you most and what are you going to do about it?

Does this make you think differently about how you might market your business? And if you’re still looking for a business idea, will you come up with something that doesn’t interrupt your customers and gives them time savings?

Related Reading

Don’t Be Like The Women On The Titanic
Is It Time To Get Off Your Fat Ass?
Grilled Frog On Toast Anyone?

6 Ways To Make More Money With Less Time

March 11, 2008


Wouldn’t it be nice to make more money and spend less time doing it? The trouble is, if you’re already working 80 hours a week just to keep a roof over your head, it may seem like an impossible dream. Yet it doesn’t need to be out of your reach and one of these ideas could be perfect for you.

Less Time
Image by Procsilas


Create a Muse Business

In The 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris suggests creating a muse business and automating it. Once it’s up and running it should require little effort on your part.

Pros

Once you have the business up and running, the muse should make money for you while you sleep.
You’ll have more time to do other things.
If it’s successful you should be able to duplicate your system to work in other niches.

Cons

It will still take time to set up and you’ll probably need to operate in a small niche for it to work well.
It will need to be well automated, so you don’t have to spend time on continuous marketing aside from pay per click.
You’ll be heavily reliant on the services of other businesses - if they let you down, you could lose customers.

Useful Resources


The Recipe: 26 Practical Resources For Starting An Online Business

101 Useful Resources For Online Entrepreneurs
The Four Hour Work Week
Finding Your Muse Business
16 Types of Website You Can Create For Profit

Clone Yourself: Employ others to do the work you’re doing now. This will free up your time to concentrate on your business while others produce more work for you and also more profits.

Pros
You’ll have more time to spend actually growing your business.
You’ll make more money by using other people’s time.
Your business will still run when you’re on vacation.

Cons
Finding and employing the right staff can be a real pain.
Profits may be lower in the early days, when you have fewer staff because your costs will be higher.
You’ll have additional hassles such as payroll and health and safety.

Useful Resources

10 Interview Tips To Avoid Hiring An Idiot

The Emyth
13 Ways To Motivate Staff


Create a Royalty Machine:
If you enjoy writing, you could write a book, ebook, or both. It might take a lot of time and effort, but if it stays in print, it could bring in royalties for years. For example, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill has sold 30 million copies since 1918. It continued to bring in royalties long after his death. And Doctor Spock’s Baby and Childcare has sold 50 million copies since 1946.

Pros
Once you’ve written your book it could bring you profits for years, with no further effort on your part.
If it’s successful you could write a series and bring in additional streams of income.
It could help establish you as an expert in your field.
Cons
If your book goes out of print quickly, you might make less than the minimum wage.
You’ll still need to spend time marketing the book.
You may not be able to sell it until it’s complete, so it could be a while before you make any money.
You may not find a publisher for it at all, which means you’ll make nothing.

Useful Resources
Write Your Own Ebook In 7 Days
Make $100k A Year Writing Niche Books

Franchise: Licence others to operate under your brand and charge them for set up costs and training. This will be cheaper than putting up the capital to expand and you will then earn ongoing royalties on all their sales.

Pros

It will cost you less than growing your business in the traditional way.
Less risk for you, as you’ll be passing the risk to the franchisees.
You can increase brand awareness with little costs, as your franchisees will be doing your marketing for you.

Cons

If one of your franchisees screws up badly, it could affect the whole company.
It may be difficulty and costly to recruit franchisees - especially in the early stages.
Difficulty in finding the right franchisees. Many people aren’t suited to being a franchisee - especially entrepreneurs.

Useful Resources

The Ten Commandments of a Genius Franchisor

The Franchise Kit
What It Takes To Franchise Your Business

Outsourcing: You could systemise all the menial tasks that take up the bulk of your time and outsource them to a Virtual Assistant. This would work well for someone in the early stages of running a business, or a freelancer, as it frees up your time to do more productive work and to market your business.

Pros

Should be cheaper than employing someone.
Avoids the hassles that come with employing permanent staff.
Cuts costs as you don’t need to provide office space and equipment.

Cons

Communicating over the phone or by email may not be as straightforward as face to face communication.
It will be harder to make workers feel like part of the team.
Language/cultural barriers and time difference could cause problems.

Licence Others To Sell Your Product

If you have a great product, you could licence others to sell it.

Pros

Reach more customers without the added marketing expense.
Make more profit without the need to employ additional staff.
You can expand with less risk.

Cons

Your product could be devalued if it reaches the wrong market, or too wide a market.
Your profit margins could be crippled if your licencees decide to undercut you.

Useful Resources

How To Licence Your Own Information Products
How To Rent Your Product to Fortune 500 Companies

Do you hope to make more money using less time? Which one of these methods would you prefer? Can you think of some better ones? Or would you prefer to carry on working as you are.

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