Productivity as a WAHM: Your Time is Valuable

June 15th, 2009

294615037Hi. I’m Nicole Dean and I’m a guest here on Lexi’s blog. I’m doing this crazy publicity stunt called the “Nicole Dean Summer Blog World Tour” where I hop from blog to blog each week all summer long. This week, I’ll be here, sharing tips on productivity when working from home.

I supposed you’d like to know a thing or two about me to understand why Lexi would invite me here. Obviously she 1. knows me, 2. likes me, 3. trusts me, and 4. is confident that I have something worthwhile to teach you this week if she’d entrust her blog (and you) to me.

Here’s a short bit about me to show you why she’d invite me here:

‘Nuff said? Yes, I’m humbled by that video and touched and I just adore Lexi and find her to be an extremely talented copywriter and budding entrepreneur. Keep your eye on her. She’s got the heart and drive to become a key player in this business.

I am currently sitting out by the pool, having a glass of wine, watching the kids swim and am thinking about my journey from a struggling “work all the time for very little money” mom to today when I’m earning more money than I ever could at a job in this recession-struck town.

A few major things have changed over the years. Surprisingly, it wasn’t my increased knowledge of internet marketing that gave me greater profits and freedom. That hasn’t been the hard part.

So what changed? My productivity, confidence and focus did. I learned these things.

I learned what makes money and what doesn’t. As much as I love hanging out on forums and chatting it up on Instant Messenger and Twitter with my friends… I have to put my time where my money is, which is in solid lasting business tactics like article marketing and list-building.

I learned to take action. I love buying ebooks and getting my hands on every opportunity to learn, whether it’s a $10 ebook or a $3000 coaching program – learning isn’t doing. It’s also important to understand that you’ll never know everything there is to know. Just doing something – even if it’s not perfect. You can always revise later.

I learned to shut off the noise. Oftentimes the biggest obstacle for a WAHM is paralysis by analysis. That is a fancy way of saying “HELP! I’m totally overwhelmed by everything flying at me!” Unsubscribe from most of your mailings. Choose one or two mentors to follow, not 50 of them. Regularly disconnect from the internet and just tackle your to do list without the distractions (and temptations) that are available. If you love Twitter, schedule time to play. However, do the things that make money first – whether it’s calling clients, getting your billable hours in first, sending a mailing to your list, or building your passive income.

I learned to ask for help. And, when I say “ask for help” I don’t mean going to a free forum. I go to people who have achieved success and are doing what I want to be doing. I learn from them. I no longer take advice from people unless they’ve proven their credibility to me. I have one main mentor – Jimmy D. Brown. If you don’t know him yet, head over to his blog and read everything you can get your hands on. It’s SOLID information and I guarantee that you won’t ever look at your online business the same. (If you would like to Mastermind with successful work at home moms, you’ll want to check out Mom Masterminds)

I learned to value my time. I love giving of myself – usually to a fault. I had to realize that any time that I gave away meant time away from my children, my husband, my hobbies, my mother, and my life. Therefore, every request of my time has to be weighed against those things. That has given me the clarity that I’ve needed to ensure that requests of my time benefited me in multiple ways.

Would you like an example? I have helpers (Virtual Assistants) who answer my email. We receive multiple requests from my readers daily.

I get emails asking me questions. (ie. Free personal coaching.)

They ask me to send mailings to my lists even though neither I nor my list members would benefit in any way. (ie. Free advertising.)

They ask me to recommend Virtual Assistants, Ghostwriters, and Affiliate Managers. (ie. Free outsource matching.)

Now I don’t blame them for asking one bit. And, I honestly love helping people.

However, as my lists grew and my business grew, the number of requests grew. Once I realized just how much time I was investing in these free requests, while I was turning down big-time paid work – I got smart real quick. I learned how to become an expert in content repurposing and efficiency in my business. And, I learned how to say “no”.

Are you doing the same thing that I was?

The timing of this post is very ironic. I just watched “Yes Man” a movie with Jim Carrey last night. In the movie, he takes on a personal challenge to say “Yes” to everything asked of him, whether a homeless man asked for a ride or a drunk guy in a bar asked him to fight. Yes, it’s a bizarre movie. And, yes, it’s bizarre that I’m asking you to do the exact opposite here today.

Learn to say “no” to time wasters.

Learn to say “yes” to your life.

Here is today’s task. I want you to take action to better protect (value) your time.

1. If you have Instant Messenger, Skype, or Google Chat open, set your status as “away”, “busy”, or even “invisible”. If there’s an emergency, people will find you. If there isn’t an emergency, you’ll have focus for the time that you need it to get things done.

2. Turn off email notifications. If you get a little flash, beep, or any type of interruption whenever a new email comes in, turn that off. Every single time that your eye gets drawn to the flash it distracts you and causes you to lose your train of thought. Even if it’s a split second, it adds up and cuts into your productivity.

3. Speaking of email, unsubscribe from most of your email notification lists. Choose just a few that you really enjoy reading and dump the rest. If that’s a scary thought, then set up a new email account and resubscribe with the new email address. Plan to check it once each week. You may find that the new email account never gets opened.

4. Turn off the ringer on the phone while you’re working so you can focus without interruptions. However, if the kids are at school or camp, then obviously you can’t do this because you need to be available for emergencies. If that’s the case, set the phone by your desk so you don’t have to get up and run to answer it. Check caller ID and ignore everyone that you can. Call them back later when you’re sitting out by the pool or you’re at the park with the kids — on your schedule. You wouldn’t call them at work to chat — don’t let them do it to you.

5. If you have a client who is calling you at home, give him or her certain hours when you’re available. Do not allow that person to interrupt your family life.

6. For the love of Pete, avoid Twirl, Tweet Deck, and any other Twitter applications that flash and beep and keep Twitter in front of your face all day long. Log in to Twitter, check your “@ replies” and answer them. Play for a bit and then log back out.

I know, you’re thinking that those distractions are nothing compared with having the kids at home. We’ll get to that. Right now, I’m concerned with getting you thinking about every moment of the day that you’re sitting in front of your computer and really making that as productive as possible. Also, I want to make sure that we ALL (myself included) protect our time.

I’ll close out today with my favorite quote:

The Days are Long but the Years are Short.

My son is in middle school and I wasted too many hours sitting on my butt in front of my computer before I learned the lessons above. I beg you to value your time with your children and your husband and your mother/sister/father/grandparents. Value your OWN time, too. Take care of yourself. Take a walk. Take time to cook and eat healthy meals. Those things are critically more important than most tasks we do during the day in front of our computers and call “work”.

Say “no” to time wasters. Say “yes” to your life.

I’ll be back tomorrow to share more lessons that you can apply to work smarter and reclaim your life.


Nicole Dean – Summer Blog Tour

PS. If you’ve been following my summer blog tour, I give away prizes at each stop randomly to those who take the time to comment. But, you’ve got to comment to win!

9 Responses to “Productivity as a WAHM: Your Time is Valuable”

  1. Can I Give you Prizes? on June 16, 2009 3:42 pm

    […] Your Time is Valuable […]

  2. Courtney on June 16, 2009 4:39 pm

    Twitter and email are the areas I need to work on. I have a focus problem and Twitter and email are my main distractions.

  3. Cathy on June 16, 2009 5:44 pm

    Yeah twitter is my Achilles heel too. can get on there for “just a few minutes”, get sucked into an interesting conversation and 2 hours later, realize I got nothing accomplished.

  4. Patti on June 16, 2009 5:49 pm

    Nicole I have done a few of the ideas you had but am starting the rest right after this Thank you!

  5. FruitfulVine2 on June 16, 2009 6:52 pm

    This was an awesome article. I already employ some of the tactics you wrote about and one of the things that made me smile was #6 where you said log on to them answer @ replies, play a bit and log back off. I had to do that just today so that I could get my posts up on the blogs and write some others and schedule them for later in the week. This post is such a confirmation that I’m on the right track and also a reminder to not get sucked back in to the time wasters.

    Thanks for tweeting about the other article today that led me to this one. Have a blessed day.

  6. Ash on June 17, 2009 12:43 pm

    Nicole, that was a great article – especially as I could identify so much with the things you were saying. I constantly get distractions too….e.g aunts phoning every day to chat while I am working and it took me ages to learn some of the lessons you have so succinctly summarized above. They are great strategies to boost productivity.

  7. Dawn on June 17, 2009 3:40 pm

    Thanks Nicole! Yes, I can definately relate and need to work more on focus and working smarter not harder.

  8. Angie (Losing It and Loving It) on June 17, 2009 3:47 pm

    Nicole, great stuff! I definitely can identify with everything you were saying. I have cut way back on forums, unsubbed from mailing lists and now it’s time to clean out my Google Reader LOL.

    I need to make sure to focus on income producing activities FIRST and then move on to everything else.

  9. Michelle on June 26, 2009 2:08 pm

    The task is certainly useful. I used to turn on my IM and started to chat with my friends whenever they message me but now, I realized that I am being unproductive at all. Thank you.

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