Productivity tips for working online in 2014!
Do you want to be more productive working online in 2014 and in the rest of your life?
The video above shows you exactly what holds most people back from being really productive and what I’ve discovered works really well. The simple and quick explanation is this. The human brain is wired to do one thing at a time, but ost of us are in the habit of multitasking. For example, if you’re working online is this what your desktop normally looks like?
Most entrepreneurs I’ve seen online work with tons of tabs open just like this. So maybe I’m on my website making changes, then I’m rolling over to my other Udemy course and looking at that, then I’m rolling over to my other Udemy course and trying to edit that at the same time, I’m going back to my LinkedIn profile and trying to recommend and endorse people and post in groups. I’m hopping over to my YouTube channel and seeing if my video finished uploading, I’m tweeting something on Twitter, to try and get people on my website. I’m on my Facebook page posting there and then I’m over on another website, this is Patreon, trying to send people messages there.
So instead of focusing on one thing at a time, I’m trying to do all of these things at once and then I’m trying to write a post for my website and I’m sitting here and I’m writing it but then I’m interrupted constantly by things like Facebook messages, receiving notifications on Twitter, and then doing things like just checking how much my course has made, or if I have to reply to a message back on Linked In. It feel like I’m doing a lot. It looks like I’m doing a lot but by the end of the day I find doing this I’ve often done nearly nothing. I find the blog post that I was writing has like one or two more words on it or maybe a few more paragraphs.
I find I’ve accomplished almost nothing and I have been fanatic about trying to figure out how I can be the most productive because when I have my own business online, my productivity is the bottom line limitation I have for everything. Everything is based on how productive I am. If I don’t write a blog post, if I don’t do all these things nothing gets done because I’m the bottom line on it. My creativity is the bottleneck that hold everything else back so I’ve been fanatic about trying to find how I can be the most productive. I have a game to show you the point clearly about the importance of trying to doing one thing at a time.
What I found is that if I want to be more productive all of these windows in the background have to be closed and it’s one task at a time. So I sit here and write the whole damn blog post out and you can see how challenging it is just to make a video post about this while I’m doing it and I’ve got in the habit of this but this still matches with my overall business system.
One of my videos on YouTube explains how I can make a video as the baseline of what I’m doing and then expand it out by having people transcribe it. I’ve found through my data that I’m doing the most productive way of creating content online but that said, this is still challenging for me to make this video and to show you at the same time it’s much easier to do one thing at a time, but it’s more powerful for me to just do this, but still I’m just doing things here I’m not checking anything else, I’m not checking my phone. I’m just sitting here doing this with you right now. I often get asked how are you able to do all these things so organized? Is your mind that organized? The key is I focus on one thing at a time so when you’re working online try having less windows open. Or if you have a dual monitor like I do, work in one of them and have that be clean. Close all those other windows you’re now using. Don’t check on all those other little things like Facebook messaging because they’re disruptive.
How many of you have a whole bunch of email windows open at once and you’re constantly checking your email? That kills my productivity I do not check my email all day anymore. I check it once, twice, maybe three times maximum if there’s something urgent going on. That was pointed out in the Four Hour Work Week, is the first time I read about that, it works really well.
And now I’m going to show you more concrete proof of what I’m talking about. This is on Lumosity.com. This is a task-switching game. As you can see, task switching is the process of adapting to changing circumstances, switching from one goal to another. In this game, I had the point driven home to me that it’s important to work on one thing at a time.
I’m making this video with you right now. There’s nothing else in the whole world I’m doing or I need to think about. I have no other cares in the world except this video with you. That’s how I’m able to do so much so fast because I focus relentlessly on one thing at a time all day and everything I do all day is much easier. I get through the day having done a lot feeling often like I hardly did anything because it was so easy. This game will concretely show you why. Let’s take a look at it.
First I hit the tutorial so that you can understand how this game works and then I will play this game live for you. And I will bet because I’m doing a video with this also, I will have a significantly harder time than usual as opposed to doing the game by itself. So let’s take a look.
The idea of this game is you’re doing two different things and It forces your mind to switch between two different modes. This is where I learned how much multitasking sucks.
Every time I switch between the vowels and the numbers as you’ll see it’s painful, it hurts a little bit. And you ask well what does that mean? If just feels frustrating. It feels a little bit frustrating and what I realized is that feeling is the same feeling I get when I’m hopping between a bunch of different windows online. It’s the same feeling except I took that for granted. This showed me where I was going wrong in my productivity and hopefully you and I can learn together about how this will help maximize productivity.
So you see, the first part of this is use the arrow keys on the keyboard if the number is even on the top card. So four is even on the top card. So on the top card, I’m disregarding E. I’m disregarding the letter, I’m just looking at the number. So I hit “yes” I hit right arrow. Now I see the number is odd so I hit no.
Now that’s the top card task, now here’s where this gets tough. On the bottom, all I care about is the letter. All I care about is whether that’s a vowel on the bottom. So I hit yes if it’s a vowel. I hit no if it’s not a vowel.
Here’s where the task switching comes into play. It does both cards at the same time. So on this bottom line, my brain is focused on the letters being a vowel and I hit no, and I hit yes, but when it jumps us to the top, my brain has to stop switch processing routines.
Now my brain has to say is the number even? I have to disregard the letter, only look at the number and then if it’s even, I press yes. And you can see that get’s hard. Just try and play along with this in your mind and see how your brain gets annoyed when it has to switch between tasks.
So I’m hitting no, no and the tutorial is almost done, so I won’t talk when the actual game’s going so you can see even on the top, vowel on the bottom. I’m hitting the arrow keys to match so if I hit one wrong, and I’ll hit one wrong. That’s what happens, I mean that won’t happen in the game, but that’s the negative “you did it wrong” sound. So it’s a vowel on top. See look, I just got confused in telling you. Task-switching is the key to ruining productivity. When you have to switch between even very similar simple-seeming tasks, it ruins your productivity.
Now scale that out into complicated tasks. Things like trying to make an intelligent response to someone’s Facebook message. Things like trying to make an intelligent response to someone’s LinkedIn message. Things like trying to write a 2,000 word blog post to put on your website so it will rank high. Take those intelligent tasks and do them one at a time. Because if the simple task is hard, imagine how much you’re struggling between complicated tasks.
Now, I’m going to pay the actual game so you can see. Play along with me and see how exhausting it is to switch tasks mentally quickly. I’m going to try and go as fast as possible.
Now see how that went? My brain often would try and cheat and skip between. My brain would try and jump between. Wow, I actually got one of my highest scores on that before. So my brain would try and cheat and it would try and skip over so you see some of the times the vowel and my brain would still be trying to do the on top action even though the rules had switched.
If you noticed, watching through that the slowest response I has was when it went from top to bottom and bottom to top, so when I could sit there and just roll through the top for a minute you saw a couple of those stretches, I just rolled through the answers when it stayed in one spot, but every time it switched from top to bottom I often had the biggest delay between responses. My brain agonizingly had to swap processing routines to adapt to the task, I’ll play it one more time for you. You can see every time I have to switch tasks, my brain slows down.
Now scale that up to doing work all day. Imagine how much you’re slowing your brain down when you’re going between all these different tasks. I know because when I started my company the first year or so I worked online, I worked in this world of multitasking, of having 50 different windows open at a time and always trying to do all these things at once. I felt exhausted, I felt like I was doing a lot and I found I often I was doing hardly anything except switching tasks.
Switching tasks is tiring. One of the things that helped me notice this was my mom walking around the house. She often would spend nearly half or more of her actual time trying to do things like clean or get ready to go.
She would spend like half of her time, and I guess she still does, making all these switches between all these tasks. She’d get ready here and she’d go to another room and start looking for something, she’d go to another room and forget what she was doing. Almost all of her time and energy was spent going between rooms. Then I realized damn, I’m going the same thing with my work. Almost all of my energy is spent switching between things.
Now I focus ravenously on doing one thing at a time and I rip through things to do all day because of what I showed you in this game. When I’m doing one thing in the game at a time, it’s really easy. It’s really easy, but when I and do switch. When I try and switch between things to do, it adds a little bit of time and frustration. Scale that time and frustration all day in your work and you can wear your brain out just switching between simple tasks. One more time watch how slow I am between switching.
If you’ll notice on that one I made the majority of my mistakes when I was switching too. And sometimes I was going on autopilot and I got lucky that when I actually switched it didn’t cost me. So you can see through those task switches, that I often paid the price of making a mistake whenever I switched tasks. So when I went from top to bottom or bottom to top I hit the wrong button because my brain was trying to cheat and stay on the same one. So if it popped up two that were both yes, I would get that right sometimes even as I was trying to switch.
So you can see my brain was cheating in trying to apply the rules as the game I did below it was trying to apply that to above. Now imagine doing that in what you’re doing. So If you’re trying to write something on your blog but then you hop over to Facebook for a minute, sometimes your brain’s going to be putting it in a different context so you’re liable to make mistakes
Then when you go back to your blog post, you’re going to be like alright, what the hell was I doing? You’re liable to make another mistake there or write something out of context. Then out of frustration, you might go watch a video on YouTube for a minute. Then when whenever you go to watch that video, on YouTube, you come back to whatever you’re writing. Then you’re like “alright, you know what? I can’t stand writing this right now, I’m just going to go talk to someone on Facebook.”
So then you’ve spent an hour going back and forth you’ve hardly written anything, you’re frustrated, and you’re thinking what did I do wrong. The only thing you did wrong was this, Facebook and YouTube. Those are the things you did wrong. If you just sit here and force yourself to not do anything else. It’s really surprisingly easy because when you’re brain has nowhere to go it will go somewhere. So if you’re just sitting in this one window out of almost sheer boredom or anything else you will do something.
I notice when I used to write things for school it was really easy to sit at my desk and just write something out because I didn’t have anything else to do as long as I didn’t get to daydreaming or something. But when I got to the computer, there were so many distractions that a momentary annoyance would cause me to do something else. So let me give you an example. Let’s say I’m writing that blog post and I get to a point where I’m not sure what to write. My brain’s logical thing is when I hit a pain point, my brain says okay, you want to avoid that. So my I will almost automatically click out and start screwing around with something else.
I’ll go check my email and I’ll go do something else. I caught myself doing this and I was shocked. I didn’t even realize that I was doing this.
So now whenever I switch I try and pay attention like what did I just do? Why did I just do that? And often it will some kind of minor pain point. This happens a lot via email. I’ll get an email, I’ll start writing. I’m like yes, blah, blah, blah and then I’ll have trouble making a response. Then all of a sudden I’ll find myself minimized out. I’ll find myself over on YouTube looking at my channel or something before I even knew what happened.
My brain will try to switch tasks to try and get out of an unpleasant situation almost without being asked to. So now what I have to do is like no, go back, finish this email and get it sent before I do anything else.
Have you ever been stuck seemingly writing an email response for a ridiculous amount of time? That’s what happens. You get to a point in the email you’re not sure about, you end up avoiding finishing it and doing something else rather it’s work or screwing around. You end up doing something else to avoid that painful task.
But I find that if I just muddle through it, even if the email is not perfect, and just send it then that thing’s clear. Now I can close that out and it’s done, now I can focus completely on doing something else and my brain is free of that task and that’s helped me fantastically speed up my email.
Email was the number one worst area of productivity for me in my business for one and a half years. The amount of time and energy I spent emailing was one of the worst returns I got because, as you can see now, look at the sheer amount of things these are all 2000-ish blog posts. Look at how many of them there are on my website. I mean, that’s since August first there’s 50 new 2000 word blog posts on my website. alright technically there’s one here from earlier. That is a ridiculous amount of writing I have on my website.
I used to do a lot more of my writing via email and no one benefitted from it. Once I realized how much time and energy I was wasting simply doing what I thought I was supposed to putting these full length response emails, I realized damn if I wrote all this stuff out and just put it on my website and then just told people when they email me look go read my website.
I can do anything for you I’ve listed and talked about on my website. If you’re not willing to spend time reading over my website then I sure as hell don’t want to work with you as a client. Unless you’re willing to just pay a lot upfront and just trust me to do whatever you need done.
The idea is I can be fantastically productive and I am fantastically productive when I do one thing at a time and I build a system around doing it. What I do now is I make videos first. Oh and If you just thought this was blog posts, here’s another thing. Here’s my YouTube Channel. Look how many videos I’ve put out recently. Lots of these videos are 20, 30 minutes, an hour long. And most all of them are unique, there not remixed versions of other videos most all them are unique videos. Look how long these are. I mean that’s a two hour Call of Duty one, but this is a Facebook Ads Tutorial almost an hour brand new 50 minute odesk posting tutorial. 20 minute Twitter one, a Facebook dark post one, a Patreon review, another Twitter tutorial, LinkedIn profile, a what to do if you’re desperate money tips.
I mean, the sheer amount I do is absurd now and the only reason is that I focus on doing one thing at a time and then I build a system around supporting that. You can see I didn’t used to be this productive. If you go back farther than 6 months you’ll find, because six months is when I kicked my new productivity in, you’ll find mostly just video gaming videos but you’ll find before I did a lot less videos so you can see I hardly put out any videos before I started doing this. And a lot of these are kind of ridiculous dating videos I did.
But you’ll see I hardly put out any videos before this new system of productivity. And the same thing on my website before this year when I implemented this new productivity system I didn’t put out that much content because I spent all my time emailing and I spent all my time switching between tasks.
This new productivity system has given me an unbelievable amount of productivity. Take this in for a moment 50 2,000 word blog posts in the last six months. Fifty, that’s 100,000 words, that’s two books written.
You might say at this point, well, how do authors like Stephen King that put out so many books? This is how they do it. They sit there and write their book a little bit every day and they don’t do anything but write their book.
You can do an amazing amount when you focus on one thing at a time and build a system around supporting that. That’s what I have now and if you’re working online it’s absolutely critical you get this down. If you’re working for a company, you can apply these to be a stellar employee, but your progress is still limited by all of other things that go on in a company such as company politics, or your exact job you got in, or how the company’s doing. There’s a lot of factors unrelated to you that determine your success.
If you’re working online like I am, my productivity is the bottom line determiner of my success. When I write all these blog posts Google is then sending more people every month to my website than the month before. I’m getting more followers on social media every month.
I’m continuously building in relation to these two things. The YouTube videos I make, the posts I make on my website, and also my Facebook and online my $10,000 a month online entrepreneurship course so on Udemy. So these places where how well I do is completely based on my productivity. If I’m doing a bunch of task switching. If I’m playing this game all day I can literally feel like I’m doing everything and actually be doing nothing. But what I’ve shown you gives you the ability to close out those other windows, sit there and do one thing at a time, get it done, and do something else. I hope this is been helpful because I want you to have the same opportunity to be fantastically productive that I’ve worked hard to get to. I’ve worked really hard to get to a place where I’m fantastically productive.
If you want to be in a place where you’re fantastically productive, it’s easy to do. Close all those other windows work in one window at a time and deal with that window. Don’t avoid the painful things to do in it. Do them and move on.
Thank you for sharing this with me. Thank you for spending this time with me. I hope this has been valuable and I hope you will learn more about what I’m doing that helps you on my website at JerryBanfield.com. There you can find everything you need to be successful online.
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