If you want your websites to be better and more profitable, it’s not about buying more stuff… or having more tools.

I know, this breaks “Internet Marketers” rule… always be selling, right?

It might not even make sense to you because you see me emailing you regularly with new software products, training materials and new ideas to help grow your business.

Productivity and online success is not just about getting more tools.

Don’t get me wrong here.  I’m going to keep emailing you about new releases – it’s important to keep up with the latest in technology, especially in Internet Marketing – when trends come and go fast… and new innovative ways keep presenting themselves as we come up with new ways to automate and streamline things.  It’s an exciting time we live in!!!

What I’m hoping you’ll take away from this article is that…

Productivity can start with tools, but true, longterm, effectual profits come with what you DO with those tools.

Here are twenty-one ideas for getting the most out of your online business, as well as making the most of any type of productivity app, software or strategy – all at once!

  1. Start with the Most Important Productivity Strategy

Before buying anything – first work out which part of your business it’s going to help you with.

If you’re starting out or still trying to find your place (i.e. find what really works for you), it can be hard to work out what that is – but keep trying, testing things out until you find something that starts to work for you… then do it with focus!

Here’s what you should look for when diving into a new piece of software or training tool.  Will it help with:

  • A time-consuming part of your business
  • An energy or creativity draining task of your business
  • An area of your business where you lose the most money
  • An area of your business that makes you feel as if you’ve wasted hours and frustrated

Start with products that take care of the most urgent areas—be that scheduling, customer support, billing or all of the above—and fit your solution to meet that need with as few tools—or steps—as possible.

  1. Stop the Endless Cycle

Do you buy course after course, promising yourself you’re going to “master” an area of your business that is not second nature to you? Do you have courses and eBooks on your computer that you’ve never completed (or perhaps never even started?)

These are big clues to your ‘weak’ areas—the ones you should just STOP.

Don’t keep trying to fight it – if you can’t do it, or just can’t find the energy or enthusiasm to open the course and finish it… outsource or automate it.

  1. Learn to be Mindful and In the Moment

If you’ve made a commitment to be more aware of your business overview and vanquish self-sabotaging habits, then pay attention to that commitment. If you find yourself doing time-waster tasks on autopilot, or spending hours trying to tweak one headline, or letting time slip away on Facebook—stop. Take frequent reality checks during the day. Get up from your computer, and take a moment to appreciate the weather outside (bad or good); the comforts of your office; even the fact that you are alive and breathing.

Doing this can help you break bad habits—as long as you make this your new habit!

  1. Underestimate on Purpose

Perfectionists have a lot of bad habits. The worst one? Being a perfectionist! Stop overestimating your ability to be super-human. Keep your to-do list essentials simple:

No more than three key tasks per day.
Then time those three things; at least for a few weeks. Literally, get a clock out and do them.

After you’ve finished this experiment, start allotting a time frame to each task, based on the actual time-frames.

And if something takes too long? Automate or outsource!

  1. Sync Your To-do List with Your Scheduling Software or Calendar

Reserve some appointment slots for yourself, to accomplish tasks you have to do yourself.  Find those three things a day, or if you’re doing this part time and can only find time for ONE main thing to jump into each day – add it to your calendar

  1. Find a Coach

Finding someone who can help you see the ‘bits’ that you’re blind to, helps you make HUGE strides in progress.  It can be uncomfortable being open with someone to the point where you allow them to just let you know how it is (for real!) but the benefits out way the discomfort.

We’re lucky online with virtually limitless opportunities to find coaches.  Remember when choosing someone that:

  • They aren’t going to be perfect, they are mostly there to help you find and fix your own imperfections
  • Anyone can be a coach for you even if it’s in an unstructured situation

You could even find someone to coach you in more of a paired up accountability type situation.

Find someone who is good at something you want to be good at.  Ask them questions and if possible, get in regular communication with them – set yourself weekly goals and then do your best to stick to them.

  1. Create Templates and Checklists for Recurring Tasks

Checklists and templates provide a quick way to make sure you create consistency in your content and communications.

They also save time, and allow you to hand off completion to assistants.

  1. Plan Your Schedule at the End of the Day

That way, when you sit down at your desk the next morning, you’ll feel prepared and be focused and ready to go.  I do mine at the end of each day… and then in the morning, before I pick up my phone to check facebook/emails etc and get totally lost in all that mess – i grab a cup of tea and my diary.

Starting the day off with intention is incredibly freeing and sets a great tone for your whole day.

  1. Plan to Repurpose Everything

Every step you take in your business— yes… even (ESPECIALLY) making mistakes—is fodder for sharing. So make sure you take notes, keep a daily journal and/or record as much as you can, keeping in mind how to repurpose it later.  In my diary at the end of the day I put in a couple of mentions of things that went awesome (i.e. stuff i’m grateful for) and then things that I would like to have another go at (i.e. totally screwed up.. lol).  It’s great to flick through and see where i’ve gotten better, used mistakes to improve parts of my biz and just feel much more comfortable with the screw-ups because now they serve a really clear purpose.

  1. Shut All Your Browser Tabs Down

We all do it—have a gazillion tabs open while working. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and muddled, shut them all down and start afresh.

If you are really worried about losing things, go to bookmarks and save all windows into a folder. Date the folder and you can come back if you’ve lost something.  Chances are, you didn’t need most of them open anyway and freeing up that space will not just make your computer run faster, but also free up your creative energy.

While we’re talking about speeding up your computer, if you’re using Chrome there are two great (free) extensions worth checking out, to free up computer memory stealing your time.

=> The Great Suspender – it closes tabs that you haven’t opened in a while and saves a lot of memory space.  Seriously speeds things up.

=> Evernote and Clip to Web extension – lets you quickly save your tabs for later, or copy-select images or bits of text from your online research

  1. Do Your Most Important and/or Most Unpleasant Task First

Procrastinators do the most important or most unpleasant task last.

Do these tasks first and get them out of the way, and you’ll be more energized as you step into the rest of the day.  As Brian Tracy says … ‘Eat that frog!

  1. Learn to Use Macros and Keyboard Shortcuts and Fixes

Every time you learn to use a new macro or keyboard shortcut—record it! Keep them in a page at the back of your journal or in a file right on your desktop. (This is especially important for those macros, shortcuts and fixes you only use occasionally, so that you don’t have to look them up all over again.)

If you’re SUPER geek and love gadgets one of my favourite gifts I got (from myself… lol) for Christmas was an Elgato Stream Deck

It’s actually marketed toward gamers… but i’ve found it a huge time saver in my business – it took nearly a full day to set up and I’m still learning my way around it.  I bought a software called Keyboard maestro and which lets me set up any kind of shortcut and switch between screens, perform actions, paste text i use often etc – all by just clicking a single button.

I love this little gadget so much that if you’re interested, some time I could tell you more in a different article, the kinds of configurations I have set up with it and could even share my graphic buttons with you.  I won’t worry if it’s just me getting all excited over geek, but lemme know in the comments if you are interested.

  1. Use a Central Password Manager

If you’re not already doing so, take the time to sign up for either LastPass or RoboForm password manager. After you’ve set it up, any time you add a new site and create a password, LastPass will offer to save it for you.

That way, you only ever have to remember one central password (for your password manager). And you’ll never have to reset your other passwords multiple times or hunt around for the latest version again.

If you are managing a staffing team you can set up central access to different levels of access to various parts of your business.  For example, your support staff might need access to certain sites, your development or research staff might need access to other parts – you can do that with Lastpass.  It’s free if it’s just for you, if you want to set up your staff on it too it works out to about $2 per person.

  1. Be Proactive: Not Reactive

Too many people get caught up in chasing around after the latest marketing trend.

Focus instead on the lifestyle you want for yourself, then plan your steps to achieving it and set healthy boundaries. Focus on that—not on mastering the latest Webinar platform or letting clients trample on your boundaries, what brings you joy – brings you that rewarding feeling of ‘YES!!!”, then do more of that!

  1. Find Something That’s Proven To Work And Do It!

There’s no ending to new and ingenious ways to earn money online, but there are some things – like, building a list, or owning a niche blog, or creating digital products … that just, don’t get old.

Sure, there are new technologies that make things easier and faster, but finding a system that works and has been proven to work for many years is an excellent place to start.  I mean… why re-invent the wheel!   Just find someone who has perfected the wheel, made it ZOOOM and follow their advice.

A time tested approach using something like Blooom – super step by step and very easy to implement.

  1. Break Major Goals into Tiny Bites

It’s far easier to reach the other side of the country one step at a time, rather than focusing on how far away and unreachable it feels.

Celebrate each step, and celebrate key milestones along the way even more. And remember that even the most famous musician in the world had to learn to keep at it, and learn one lesson at a time.

I use a software tool called Asana – it’s free to use for up to 15 team members

  1. Twenty-Minute Naps Boost Productivity

Rather than reaching for another cup of coffee, schedule yourself room for a twenty-minute nap during the day.

The TV show “Mythbusters” tested this myth extensively, and proved that naps of twenty minutes (no more, no less) produced the most optimal results.

  1. Get Up An Hour Early

“If I only had an extra hour a day”, you may have said. So make one! Get up an hour early (even two or three hours early, if you can hack it) and see what you can accomplish when the world is quiet and everyone else in the house is still asleep.

(This is a tip enthusiastically espoused by many proactive millionaires.)

  1. Untrain Your Brain

We have now hard-wired ourselves, quite literally, to multi-task—something that as of recent years has been venerated.

Psychologists have proved that multi-tasking dissipates energy and makes us feel duller and more confused later in the day. Furthermore, multi-tasking drops IQs by an average of 5 points, according to one source.

Focus on one task at a time, and shut off (and out) all other distractions.

  1. Shop Online as Much as Possible

While shopping may be relaxation for some people, it’s sheer drudgery and time wasting to others. If that sounds like you, remember that even your grocery shopping can be done online (and delivered to your door)!

Keep personal activities that really count and enrich your life—like going to your daughter’s hockey game or going for your morning run—but get rid of the tedious stuff. “Outsource” it!

  1. Keep Things Fun

It’s not rocket science to note that we humans tend to abandon activities or tools that are stressful, difficult or boring. No matter what new habits or tools you decide to use to increase productivity, make sure that you find them easy to adopt—and fun to use.

Productivity is really just another way to make sure your quality of life—as well as your business and your relationships with others—rocks. Being truly productive keeps you energized, inspired and heading straight towards your dreams.

Got any other ideas for making the most of your time online?   Or find something that really jumps out at you?

Share them in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this with a friend too if you know someone this might really be able to help!