I Just Need More Time, Captain

Have you seen the new Spinal Tap watch? Just like the infamous stereo amplifier with the modified volume level of 11 (for when you need that additional “oomph” after you’ve hit the traditional limit of 10), this novel new timepiece gives you extra time when you need it most.

How did its creators achieve this? Simple. They added another digit to the watch’s face. Instead of ending at XII, this watch goes all the way up to XIII. I thought I was smart by setting my watch back an hour to gain an extra hour each day, but Spinal Tap’s creators have done me one better.

So, for all of us who can’t afford this new watch, and in the spirit of this extra hour (which was probably discovered in that secret dimension where all the missing 13th floors are being stored), here are 13 recommendations for gaining extra time and creating efficiency in your affiliate marketing day.

As a final remark before listing my suggestions, I want to note that these 13 recommendations will only be effective if you discipline yourself to follow the schedule you create. Here goes:

  1. Read. Make a list of all the news, newsgroups, newsletters, magazines, Web sites, and newspapers you want to review each week, and chart out a schedule on a weekly or monthly calendar. Schedule yourself to review each item on your list on a specific day. Don’t deviate. Make printouts of some of these items, and put them in a folder you carry around with you in case you have free moments.

  2. Make phone calls. This one is obviously the most difficult to schedule because participation of the other party is required. To the best of your abilities, set aside one hour a day for three phone calls. They can even be personal calls. Just know that at 11:00 a.m. every day, for example, you have three calls to make.

  3. Review reports. Review your traffic, marketing campaign results, sales, and expenses. Make sure you spend at least 10 minutes a day reviewing the results of whatever it is you are doing.

  4. Research on the Web. Create targeted lists of prospects for public relations, business development, and general networking. Most important, store this information in a database or organized format. Spend at least one half hour a day on this activity.

  5. Organize your desk. Review all the papers piling up, and update your list of things to do and tasks in progress. See my last article for more info on this whole “notebook” concept. Allot five minutes a day for this task. Make sure the monitor and phone are off.

  6. Absorb non-Internet stuff. Pay attention to magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV. This should take one to two hours a week.

  7. Read books. Literacy is important, as is being a well-rounded individual. Even if you just read business books, you’ll discover enough stories to help you in whatever you do in life.

  8. Make teamwork time. Fifteen minutes a day should be allotted to talking to colleagues, underlings, and superiors. This can even be water-cooler time, but the more official the meeting, the better. Make this happen at a consistent time each day — that’s the only way you will do it every day.

  9. Review your day and write a plan for the next day. The same way you plan and review each day, you should have a weekly plan that you set up and review as well. The daily plans should fit into the weekly schedule.

  10. Create a list of miscellaneous things to do. Eat healthy. Relax. Watch some TV. Sleep. Exercise. Make phone calls while driving (safely, of course). Read books.

  11. Network, socialize, and attend conventions. These are hit or miss activities, and your success may depend on how much you like beer.

  12. Write emails. This one is the simplest to schedule. It’s easily the most time consuming (but necessary) of this century’s obsessions. Writing emails can be broken down into two components — writing to new prospects and writing to existing customers. You set the goals here. Just remember to schedule the time and stick to it. If you like to provide immediate responses, then use five minutes at the top of every hour to check current email and write immediate responses. Be diligent, though.

  13. Read emails. This will take… however long it takes. Work this in between all of the other tasks. But schedule the time, and respond as soon as you can. Even if you can’t solve the problem, let the person know you are working on it.

Some general rules to close this article:

  • If you find yourself doing something that isn’t on your “daily plan,” stop, think about it, and ask yourself if you can put it on your plan for tomorrow.

  • Commit to doing three personal and three business items each day. If you don’t meet your commitment, you have to punish yourself (e.g., wake up one hour earlier the next day).

  • Be disciplined. Period.

  • Whatever you do, remember that it’s very, very important to spend quality time with friends and family (without your cell phone). Work is just one component of life. Never forget that.

If you find that there are other items filling up your day, please let me know so I can update this list. Also, I’d love to know if you have a breakdown of the time you spend on each task.

Happy spring.

P.S. As my eighth-grade teacher said to me when she handed me yet another flunking grade on a surprise history quiz, “Wake up and smell the coffee.” So, my 14th recommendation is that you sit in a room a few minutes each day with your monitor and phone off. Just think about the day. Look out the window while doing this. It helps. If you don’t have a window, go outside.

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