How to Regain Control of Your Time and Your Life
Many online marketers wake up one day to discover that what they have built it not a business but an all-consuming job. They've built an entity that totally depends upon THEM to keep it running, and it demands that they devote practically no time to family, fun, and things that make life more meaningful.
Many of them discover that they spend 2-4 hours per day just responding to emails. They spend another 1-2 hours per day responding to "customer support issues."
They often spend another 1-2 hours per day just procrastinating because they feel that they have so much to do that they don't know where to start for fear of getting side-tracked working on "the wrong thing." Like the squirrel crossing a busy highway, they freeze for fear of making the wrong decision, often with devastating results.
How do you end this insanity, and regain control of your life?
I'll tell you how I did it when I basically found myself in the EXACT situation described above.
First of all, I awoke one day to find myself spending MOST of my day just analyzing the email, and figuring out how to keep from drowning beneath over 20,000 daily emails... mostly spam.
I HAD to sift through this email because it contained important communications from customers, potential joint venture partners, affiliates, assistants, family members and friends.
The problem grew to be that there was so much email that at times my email client couldn't even download it all without crashing. Just the process of downloading the email and "indexing it" would cause my email program to CRASH repeatedly.
To start regaining control, I had to begin better directing the flow of communications. My solution to that problem was a helpdesk. I set up a helpdesk and then asked clients, joint venture partners, and staff members to funnel most of their communications through that one secure, centralized node.
I use the Three Pillars Help Desk System, and set up a process where:
1) A person visits the helpdesk and submits a ticket in an appropriate category. They are not required to register, just click on "Submit Ticket," select the appropriate "Category," and explain what they need.
2) Based upon the category, I or one of several appropriately trained individuals get an email, and desktop notification, of a new ticket being filed. "Admins" are assigned specific categories of tickets.
3) The appropriate admin logs in, views each ticket, and for 90% of them, selects a pre-composed answer from a drop-down list of responses. Answers to common questions regarding urls, getting replacement products, alternative payment methods, getting a program installed, being unable to open a file, getting a refund, where to find affiliate tools, etc., are handled this way.
Most of the tickets take less than 2 minutes for admins to respond to. Others require the admin to write an individualized answer. If they don't know the answer, they create a new ticket letting me or an assistant know this is a problem that they haven't been trained to handle.
4) As we get frequently asked the same questions over and over again, where appropriate, we add the answer to those questions to an FAQ file that is accessible right from the main helpdesk screen.
Just installing that helpdesk gave me back 1-2 productive hours of each day. It gave me back roughly 12 hours per week!
I looked at perhaps 30 different help desk software, testing out approximately 10 before settling upon Three Pillars Help Desk. I liked that software so much that I even eventually BOUGHT the company :-)
After redirecting a major percentage of important communications through my helpdesk, where I didn't have to worry about having important customers communications blocked by email filters, I then turned to my biggest productivity bottle neck.
To tackle that problem, I turned to Brad Semp, a systems engineer. Brad showed me his amazing system that he had developed and refined that allowed him to go from 2 1/2 hours per day of dealing with email down to only 20 minutes per day.
Brad's system involves looking at your email flow, controlling that flow, largely unplugging from checking email every few minutes, and forcing the system to only show you emails that you really need to deal with.
I met Brad at a JV Alert Live Seminar in Las Vegas, Nevada, and when he proved to me that he honestly spent less than 1/2 hour per DAY responding to email, without missing anything important,
I set aside a little time to learn his system.
I spent about 3 hours thoroughly learning and setting up his system, which he calls Email CashMaps. After that, I was also down to spending less than 30 minutes per day responding to MY email, and I NEVER miss anything really important.
You can check out Brad's system at http://TamingTheEmailMonster.com
The final big issue that I had to deal with was information overload, leading to indecision and procrastination. I solved that problem by first of all putting a value on each hour of my time. I set that value based upon my annual income goal, and how many hours I was willing to spend to reach it.
Since I wanted to spend less time working, that meant that I had to value my time at MUCH more than the average person has the audacity to do so. As an example, if you check out http://WillieCrawford.com/mentoring.html you'll see that I actually charge $800 for a 1-hour telephone consultation.
Properly valuing your time keeps you from wasting it stuck in endless Skype chat sessions or listening to a telemarketer. If you consider your time worth $800 per hour, then you also view that telemarketer as costing you over $13 per minute. That makes it very easy to end uninvited conversations.
Regaining control of your time hinges upon identifying where you waste a lot of time and upon insisting that your time is YOUR time. That means that you choose how you spend each limited hour that you have. You can't regain control of your time until you acknowledge that you've lost control of your time, and of your life. Once you reach that realization, taking back control is fairly easy as I've just demonstrated.
About The Author:
Willie Crawford is an internationally-acclaimed speaker,
author, seminar and radio show host, and leading Internet marketing expert.
When not out fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, Willie can be found sharing
his 12 years of online marketing experience with members of The Internet
Marketing Inner Circle. Join them at: http://TheInternetMarketingInnerCircle.com
Published - April 2010
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