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Get Off the Treadmill and Get Productive

I’m somewhat of a cat lover, but cats are certainly not the animal you want to take productivity lessons from. They rarely do more than lay about and when they do, it usually isn’t anything productive. Of course what difference does it make; they are cats and have no other goals besides eating, sleeping and playing.

As a business or website owner however you are (or should be) very goal oriented. Efforts that are little more than chasing your tail in the business and internet world are likely to produce the same effect as a dog chasing his tail. That is, you end up exhausted and no closer to your goal than you were before you started. It might have been amusing, but you’re not in this for the amusement factor are you? If you want to be amused, go play with a cat.

Those of you who feel as if you’ve been working your tail off, but getting nowhere take note. You need to take a close look at yourself and your activities and objectively determine if you’ve been doing nothing more than running on a treadmill. If you have days (or weeks) in which you feel as if you’re hectically busy and yet have nothing to show for it, you may be guilty of the treadmill syndrome. Many times people create tasks for themselves that make them look busy, but at the end of the day little has really been achieved in terms of reaching a goal.

Below are three productivity enhancing tips that will help you to create realistic goals, focus on those goals, and take action to turn your goals into a reality.

  1. You need to make a plan, set goals, and work towards those goals. This is true whether you are running a business or running a blog or website. You should always have a written business plan that includes your goals, a timeline for achieving those goals, and milestones that break your goals down into easily achievable pieces. Without a written plan such as this, you have no real way to measure your progress and months can pass without making any real progress.

    The other excellent characteristic of having goals to meet is that it pushes you to do more than you may have otherwise thought possible. Having a goal that seems out of reach when you begin may turn out to be your best strategy when you find that you not only meet that goal, but exceed it. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet your goals in the time specified though. Many times it can take longer than we thought to meet a goal. The positive is that you keep moving your blog or business forward toward your goal, and by focusing in this way you inevitably meet your goals much faster than if you didn’t write them down at all.

  2. Speaking of focus, you need to always, always, always keep your eye on the prize. When you first start out with a blog or a business you’ll find that both time and money are stretched thin. Inevitably some opportunity arises that promises a quick fix to either your time problem or your revenue problem. Before you consider pursuing these opportunities consider carefully if they fit with your core business model or blogging ideals. Determine if, in the long run, this will actually move you closer towards your goals, or if it will be a distraction instead that drives you off course.

    I have definitely been guilty of this in the past and I can attest to the fact that it never produces positive results. There are many projects in my past that leave me wondering how far they might have gone if I hadn’t gotten distracted.

    One of the main reasons that many sites and businesses fail is that they spread themselves too thin or deviate from their core mission. This is especially true when the new opportunity is unrelated to your goals and strategies. You will never be able to please all of the people all of the time, so don’t even try. Just stay focused on your goals and stay the course.

  3. Don’t let a single day pass you by without taking positive action. Every single day you should strive to complete at least one task that is going to help you to meet your goals. The key to doing this rests in your level of discipline. Any business of website takes a large amount of dedication and discipline if you expect to succeed. Sure there will be days that you don’t feel like doing the hard work, but these are the days that separate the successful from the also rans. Haphazard activity “when you feel like it” is not going to be enough to grow your business or website significantly. You need to take action every…single…day.

    One method I’ve used in the past with great success is to create a daily to do list. These are the key things that need to get done every single day to help me achieve my goals. These are also the things that I do first, before any tail chasing activity can capture my attention, whether I feel like doing them or not. Often you will find that once you get started those feelings of dread for a task will melt away.

Starting a new website or business is easy. Growing it into something that you can be proud of is not. It requires dedication, persistence, discipline, and yeah even a bit of luck. As far as the luck goes, I always think of the quote by Thomas Jefferson when I feel my projects haven’t been “lucky”:

I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

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