The 31-Day Workaholic Challenge

I’m excited today to kick off a personal challenge here, and hopefully some of you will join me.

If you could tell by the tone of my last income report, things weren’t looking all that great.  My income was down for a variety of reasons, and even though April as a whole didn’t turn out too badly, I could tell that a further decline was in store for this month.

As result, I’m launching this personal challenge to see if I can get myself back on the right track.  If everything goes as planned, I’ll have some great things to report at the end of the 31 days.

Let’s get into the details…

What is the “31-Day Workaholic Challenge”?

Basically, this challenge is about one thing: laser-focused productivity and hard work for a period of 31 days.  I feel like my productivity online has been slipping for quite some time (possibly dating back to some point last year), so I wanted to buckle down and turn that around.

For me, productivity is about two things:

1) Eliminating distractions

2) Finding your focus

If I can conquer both of these, I think I can boost productivity significantly.

Eliminating Distractions: Not Easy!

The biggest problem I have with distractions is that there are a couple in my life that I can’t eliminate and don’t want to eliminate.  I’ll call these “obstacles” instead of “distractions.” Those two obstacles are my “9 to 5″ job and my girlfriend.

Obviously, I have to go to work so that I can earn my salary (at least, for right now).  As for my girlfriend – I live with her, and love spending time with her, so there’s going to be a certain amount of that which is unavoidable.

Now that we have these “obstacles” defined, I’m going to put a temporary end to a few distractions that can be eliminated:

  • Watching TV - During this 31-day period, I’m not going to watch TV, with a couple exceptions:
    • The first exception is my typical late-at-night-before-bed TV watching with my girlfriend.  In my mind, this is dead time that wouldn’t be productive even if the TV was off.
    • The second exception is Memorial Day, where I will be off of work and likely marathon-watching the entire (highly anticipated) new season of Arrested Development.
  • Video Games - I periodically play various video games on my Playstation 3 system, and this tends to be a major distraction when there’s nothing on TV and I don’t have any real obligations after work.  I actually think this will be an easy one to cut out.
  • Blog Reading – Over the course of a day, I probably spend a significant amount of time reading different blogs online (some related to internet marketing, some that are not). Although much of it is helpful and educational, I think it can also be counter-productive.  I’m going to do my best to avoid reading blogs during these 31-days.

Finding My Focus

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I’m notorious for spreading myself thin and juggling multiple projects at one time. I know that this isn’t the most productive way to operate, and this was only further confirmed by a recent podcast from Pat Flynn at SPI (which I highly recommend).

Basically, Pat’s podcast explains that you’re generally more productive when you focus on one project at a time.  Take a project from start to finish (or at least, to a point where you can’t currently work on it further) before starting something new or working on another “in progress” project.

I do have certain obligations with my online business that I’d like to maintain during this focused 31-day period – in particular, blogging here at My 4-Hour Workweek as well as my authority site.  During this 31-day period, I’d expect to write 4 blog posts here (including this blog post), and 1-2 posts on Slow Carb Diet Experiments.  Outside of these obligations, I will be fully focused on one project.

What I Hope to Accomplish

I have two projects in mind for this 31-day period that should take 15 or so days each.  I will not work on these simultaneously - I only plan on starting the second project if/when I fully complete the first one.  If I don’t get to second project during this 31-day period, I’m okay with that.

These are the projects I hope to complete:

1) A new niche site – I want to take a site from start to finish, with most content and SEO work outsourced.  I think I can complete the majority of this within 15 days, but there will of course be some on-going maintenance (for example, you wouldn’t want to build all your backlinks within the first 15 days of the site’s existence).

Although I’ve done work on an authority site  recently (where I write 100% of the content myself), it’s been a long time since I’ve set up a site where I establish the site myself and outsource the content creation.

Given the current state of my online business, I do need some new passive income “assets” in my portfolio.  The goal would be to build something in a low-competition niche with the potential to earn $250-500/month (obviously more would be better!).

2) An information product for my authority site - I don’t think my authority site (Slow Carb Diet Experiments) is going to ever earn much from ads or Amazon affiliate links (until I have substantially more traffic), so I decided that I want to create my own product to sell on the site and via the e-mail list I’m building.

This is lower in priority than the niche site, which is why I will only start this once the new niche site is complete.  I already have some ideas for the product, but have yet to begin writing anything.

What About You?

That’s my plan, and I’m going to stick to it.  The 31-day period will begin when this post goes live, and I’ll provide a full recap once the 31 days are over.

If you’re interested in doing something like this, feel free to write about your plan in the comments – we can all hold each other accountable.

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22 Responses to “The 31-Day Workaholic Challenge”

  1. Firstly, thank you very much for your story.

    I am myself in a mess, and I really need to balance my life to work more effectively. Because a new week is coming.

    And I got your writing by accident. Your tips are so clear and constructive that I will follow them immediately. Hope that it will work for me.

    Again, thank you for your sharing.
    Tony recently posted… How To Hypnotize Someone – How Truth About Hypnotize Helps People Influence Someone

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Tony. Sorry to hear that you’re in a mess right now, but it’s never too late to pull yourself out. Instead of planning to start tomorrow or next week, really try to force yourself to get on track NOW. There will always be excuses for you to put things off.

    [Reply]

  2. Eliminating distractions may be the hardest task for me right now.

    No facebook, no game any more.

    Fighting for a new week now !!!!
    Tony recently posted… How To Hypnotize Someone – How Truth About Hypnotize Helps People Influence Someone

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Distractions are one of the most difficult obstacles for entrepreneurs (in my opinion), which is why they’re so crucial to control.

    [Reply]

  3. I think your 31 day plan is right on track for maximum productivity. I have been following a similar plan since January. Each month this year, I’ve focused on creating a new source of income to add to my portfolio… this means just one new project a month. For example, in May, I wrote and published a new Kindle book. Next month, I turn that book into a Createspace print book. This process is slow but it has allowed me to make small gains as time goes on.
    Harlan Yee recently posted… App Dev 3: 35+ Ways To Make Your Mobile App A Success

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Working on a new project each month seems like a great way to make sure that you see projects through to completion. Even if the process is slow, like you said, you’re still making gains.

    [Reply]

  4. I admire that you outlined what you are going to do! It’s hard to cut out some of those things in your life but they can be worth it if you make up in other areas! TV and video games are fun but they need to have their place outside of getting actual work done!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Mike – it won’t be easy, but if I can do it, I’ll hopefully have good results.

    [Reply]

  5. Hey Eric,

    This 31-Day Workaholic Challenge of yours is very interesting. For some reason, people get motivated if they are faced with a challenge so I guess it’s a good step to challenge one’s self to produce more effort which may lead to success. Hopefully, this challenge will help you to increase your productivity this month. Good Luck with this challenge Eric. Be sure to report the income of this.
    Farrell John Conejos recently posted… HIMYM: Identity Of Ted Mosby’s Wife Finally Revealed

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Farrell, I appreciate the support! You can be sure I’ll report on the results when it’s all over.

    [Reply]

  6. Great post! I too tend to juggle with too many projects at once and end up not getting much accomplished in the end. I will tell my wife about once a week that I HAVE to get X done this week and she will say, yes, and you said that last week too. I don’t know what the problem is, ok well now I do after reading your post lol I NEED to narrow my focus, get rid of clutter and distractions and just get it done! I spend so much time checking out things that catch my eye that I lose my focus. So here is to you and your 31 day challenge! I plan on doing something similar here soon! Thanks for the insight and tips!
    Ron recently posted… Kindle Marketing PLR Audio

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Ron – it’s SO easy to get caught up in all of the clutter and distractions of life, so I can’t blame you for struggling with it. Stay focused!

    [Reply]

  7. Get at it, man!

    Since arriving in Berlin I’ve cut my net usage to a bare minimum (generally under 30 minutes during a regular day) besides maybe the occasional few hours for the major work.

    It’s funny how easy it is to focus once you let go of all those distractions. I like the idea of going after a new niche post now that the new Pat thing is in full swing. Likewise, time to put that time/effort into products, that’s for sure.

    Keep us updated!
    Murray Lunn recently posted… Blogging for Business: The Beginner’s Guide

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Murray! And congrats on being able to cut your internet usage by that much – that can’t be easy! (Or at least, not at first).

    [Reply]

  8. I think the key here is balance, but I probably didn’t need to tell you that.

    I too struggle with it a lot of the time. Watching TV or playing a computer game always seems like a more pleasant experience over tackling your next piece of difficult content, so I think people are easily lured into these short term highs over the difficulty of work.

    But as I said I think it’s all about balance. We are here to enjoy our lives, and if that enjoyment comes from playing computer games then that’s what we should do…..but they need to have their place in the day and not eat into the time that’ll allow us to build better lives for ourselves.

    All in my opinion obviously.
    Dan recently posted… Moving On Up – Authority Site Update (April 13)

    [Reply]

  9. I think that is a GREAT idea. I think the one biggest problem that we ALL have is taking on too much and trying to do everything.

    Outsourcing is a fantastic concept but in reality many of us, ME included tend to end up doing it themselves rather than posting to fiverr, waiting for a reply, sending the request and a detailed summary of what we want and then wait for it to be done.

    I want everything done yesterday and that is due to my disorganisation (if that is a word?) So I end up doing each small task for each project which ads up to a long time and little progress.

    By focussing on one or two things I think you will have it cracked.

    For my part… I am going to use a project software called http://gantter.com which links to google drive and create a list of processes as templates so that I can easily plan ahead and outsource the work easier.

    For each project I will use a process form which will have every little thing I can think of to add to it for all of the whole project.

    I will NOT just do a small task unless that task is allocated to me on my process list and see how much more I can get done.

    This in itself is difficult as I have ADD which makes it hard for me to follow processes but I will take on the challenge and let you know how I get on.

    [Reply]

  10. Eric,

    This is a great idea and I think I am going to do this challenge myself as well. What I plan on accomplishing is to finish 5 E-books, secure 4 more writing clients, and not watch tv more than 30 minutes a day.
    Adam recently posted… Why New Internet Marketers Fail

    [Reply]

  11. Hi Eric,
    Its nice to learn of the The 31-Day Workaholic Challenge. The details are insightful and have challenged me. You are spot-on what productivity means – but for some other persons, different factors are distracting and the focus are not the same.

    The takeaway for me here is that goals have been set for the next 31 days and there is the willingness and determination to see that these goals are accomplished within the time frame.

    Bloggers should periodically imbibe this mindset to accomplish tasks and improve productivity.

    Nevertheless, this is a very helpful post !

    I have also shared the above comment in the IM social site – kingged.com where this post was shared and “kingged”.

    Sunday – Kingged.com contributor
    http://www.kingged.com/the-31-day-workaholic-challenge/
    Sunday recently posted… Top 25 Copywriting and Editing Resources

    [Reply]

  12. Good luck eliminating your distractions and building back up your authority site.

    [Reply]

  13. Eric, I think that it is true that you can be more productive if you focus on just one thing at a time. Except I fear that I will get bored so I jump from project to project.

    At the moment I am taking part in a 90 day product creation challenge, which I hope will keep me focused on the task so that I end up with a valuable product in the end.

    I wish you good luck on your 31 day focus challenge and I look forward to reading about the results :)
    Victoria @ My Daily Cuppa recently posted… Making Money Writing Short Stories – My Kindle Book Case Study Continues

    [Reply]

  14. Eric, I think that it is true that you can be more productive if you focus on just one thing at a time. Except I fear that I will get bored so I jump from project to project.

    At the moment I am taking part in a 90 day product creation challenge, which I hope will keep me focused on the task so that I end up with a valuable product in the end.

    I wish you good luck on your 31 day focus challenge and I look forward to reading about the results :)
    Victoria @ My Daily Cuppa recently posted… Making Money Writing Short Stories – My Kindle Book Case Study Continues
    Victoria @ My Daily Cuppa recently posted… Making Money Writing Short Stories – My Kindle Book Case Study Continues

    [Reply]

  15. Can’t wait to see how it works out! I’m taking the opposite approach in that I’m chillin’ like Bob Dylan for awhile. I’m pursuing real world pursuits for a bit and enjoying the blogging, instead of trying to make money from it!
    Mike recently posted… We’re Back!

    [Reply]

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