I hate to say it but I fear today’s article veers toward the business self-help genre.
You get to enjoy a taste of time management mumbo jumbo.
Not my favorite genre, but sometimes I go there.
While this post falls under “soft business”, I peppered it with some concrete info just to keep it real.
Shall we begin?
What are you working RIGHT NOW?
Is it the best thing you should be doing?
That is today’s topic from what I hope is a moderately interesting angle.
Time is money yet I too often fall down a rabbit hole of useless tasks.
I don’t think I’m the only online publisher or blogger guilty of this.
That’s why a “time audit” is good to do once in a while.
What’s a useless task?
Anything other than the optimal ROI task at the present moment.
For example, we all loathe tech problems, but when one of my sites crashes or goes down, I stop everything and get it fixed. Why? Because a site down is not earning. That means the best ROI task at that moment is getting that site live again. I bet you’re the same.
If you outsource, useless tasks are those that can be outsourced.
Far too often we roll up our sleeves and do the work “because I can get it done almost as quickly as it would take me to send instructions.”
While this is true, the more you train your VAs and whoever helps you out, the more they can do with minimal instructions/training down the road. The first time you outsource a task, it’s time-consuming because you have to train them.
However, training is almost always a very good use of your time because you’ll never have to bother with that task again.
The assumption here is you have money to invest in content each month.
If you don’t have money to invest and you’re just getting started with only one hour per day to spare, spend every minute of it producing killer content.
If you do have money, here’s where you spend your time.
- Keyword research;
- Content ordering; and
- Content vetting (from writers and once published on your site).
If you’re not flush with cash, then you should also consider doing the content formatting and publishing. This doesn’t take too much time. You can format a couple to a few decent articles inside 30 minutes.
That’s it. The rest of it can be outsourced. Even if you’re a link builder, which is horrendously time-consuming, that can easily be outsourced to outfits that are efficient at it. Or do what the Authority Hacker fellas do and that is train an in-house team.
My hour would look like this:
- Review content published overnight for the day (we schedule them to go live at 6:30 am). Time: 20 minutes.
- Review completed articles from writers. 10 minutes.
- Order new content. 20 minutes.
- Send revision instructions and/or other instructions to VAs, if necessary: 10 minutes.
Once a week I would devote the hour to keyword research.
That’s it. It would be tight for sure, but I could make it work if forced.
How many articles could I review and order in the 1 hour?
Based on my current workflow, I could handle the workflow for 4 to 5 articles in that one hour.
In the event I have time left over, I’d do some keyword research and add topics to my list of articles to order.
Is this ideal?
Not really. I tend to spend more than one hour per day on this stuff, but if push came to shove, this is how I’d manage it.
What’s the point of writing about a hypothetical?
Actually doing this is a good exercise.
When you create a hypothetical like this, it distills what is most important in your business. You get rid of the time-wasters and get straight down to brass tacks.
Which begs the question…
Why not actually implement the hypothetical situation in real life if it’s possible?
In my case, a 5-hour workweek would mean Fat Stacks is out of the picture. This enlightening post would not be published.
Ironically, it’s Fat Stacks that takes up more and more of my time. That’s by design. I fill in my time growing the Fat Stacks brand just because it’s fun. Frankly, I’m not the slickest marketer, but I enjoy producing the content so that’s what I do.
“But it only takes 10 minutes?”
This is a phrase that goes through my head a lot. I’ve heard from other people to.
What I’m talking about are simple tasks that only take a few minutes to execute. The problem is these are recurring tasks that need to be done daily, weekly, etc.
While on the face of it the ten minutes or whatever it takes is not a big deal, IMO it is for two reasons.
First, it also takes a mental toll. The more tasks required in a day, regardless how simple, the more mental energy they take up.
Second, short, recurring tasks add up. Ten minutes per day is over 3 hours per month.
As demonstrated above, you can get a lot of very important tasks done in 3 hours.
Does this mean I’m cutting down my hours?
No. I’ll continue putting in my 7 to 8 hours per day because I like it. Specifically, I like working on Fat Stacks.
In reality, I don’t restrict my time to one hour on my niche sites. I spend two to four hours per day. However, I may work on cutting that time down.
But Jon, I’d rather save on outsourcing and put that money in my pocket
This is legit reason to do more yourself. I get it. You have to eat and all that.
I’m not suggesting you go into debt or spend what you don’t have to grow your online publishing business.
I’m saying that it’s a good idea to carefully assess the effectiveness of what you spend your time on.
If you don’t have a spare cent (and I’ve been there), you still have limited time so you must pick and choose what you spend your time on. If you’ve chosen to be an online publisher, IMO your best time is spent on publishing good content (along with the corollary tasks such as keyword research, on-site SEO set up, etc.).
But, once you have excess revenue coming in, you need to decide what is the best use of your time in conjunction with deploying your revenue.
For example, if you prefer to pull out every cent possible to invest elsewhere, that can be a viable financial strategy. You’re using sweat equity in exchange for growing alternative investments. Maybe it’s been your dream to own a McDonald’s franchise, bar or a parking lot.
Actually, I’d love to own a parking with paid parking. Talk about a hands-off biz. Paint some lines and numbers, sign up for a paid parking app and collect the money. Okay, probably a bit more than that involved, but certainly easier than running a restaurant.
Why don’t I write more for my niche sites?
I do write here and there for my niche sites. There have been times I’ve written quite a bit. I may do so again.
However, currently, the best bang for my buck these days is working on Fat Stacks primarily because I don’t outsource much on Fat Stacks. Sure, I outsource some keyword darling articles and will continue doing so, but the email, podcast, video and course content is all me. As long as I enjoy it and I believe I’m putting out okay content, I’ll stick with it.
Waste isn’t just about bloated expenses, it’s also about wasted time
I’m all for keeping costs as low as possible. I routinely go through my expense spreadsheet and scrap expenses that I don’t absolutely need.
However, an equally important efficiency audit is reviewing what you’re spending time on.
Are you generating a good ROI with your time?
Can you shed tasks and activities that don’t contribute to your bottom line? I bet you could.
What would you do if you only had an hour?
More importantly, what WOULDN’T you do?
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.