SPI 068 : The Most Powerful (and Toughest) Productivity Tip to Implement

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In this session of The Smart Passive Income Podcast, I talk about an incredibly powerful productivity tip that can help you get more and better results faster – however, it’s one of the toughest strategies to implement, especially for someone with an entrepreneurial mindset, like myself.

What is this tip?

Work in small, but complete batches, taking one thing at time.

This is something you’ve probably heard of before, or some variation of it, but there are a number of different levels to the “work on one thing at a time” strategy that I wanted to discuss today.

This episode is relatively shorter than the rest, but it’s an important message that I wanted to hone in on, especially since many of us are gearing up for Niche Site Duel 2.0.

How does this episode apply to NSD2.0?

After Tuesday’s post (which received over 1,200 comments within the first 24 hours!) I received a number of emails from people who said they are totally committed to participating in NSD2.0, but they wanted to create multiple niche sites at the same time, instead of just one.

This may seem like a good idea, since you could target several different keywords in different niches at the same time, build out many different websites and then end up with multiple sites each with the potential to earn an income, but after listening to this episode you’ll have a better understanding as to how and why each project should be done and completed one at a time.

A lot of this is inspired by Eric Reis’s book, The Lean Startup (affiliate link), which I just recently finished reading. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the book since it’s related to the startup world – which I’m not really in – but almost the entire book applies to what I and everyone else here does as bloggers and online entrepreneurs.

A lot of what you’ll hear in this session sounds counter-intuitive, which is what makes it so hard. Our intuition tells us something else is actually better, when in reality it’s the opposite. But, this is also what makes the ideas in The Lean Startup so interesting and so powerful.

These tips also provide a lot of insight into just how much time is actually wasted while we transition from one task to another. Not only do we tend to allocate our time to many different projects and/or tasks, but we’re actually losing precious time during those transitional periods when we switch from one project to the next – perhaps seconds on the micro level, but in the grand scheme of things it’s potentially hours, days or weeks of time that we are losing.

In this session, you’ll hear me talk about two different ways to create wedding invitations and which one is better. You’ll hear me talk about how I’ve applied these same strategies in projects that I’ve worked on – even though on the outside it may seem like I have more than a handful of projects going on all at the same time.

You’ll also hear about one of my very first jobs working in a Halloween Costume factory and how that made me feel, and finally I’ll go over an example of what happens when you try to create three niche site at the same time, versus just one.

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Cheers! :)

Transcript

Click Here to Download the Transcript for Session 68(PDF)

  • http://www.topbloggingcoach.com Theodore Nwangene

    Hi Pat,
    This is really the kind of stuff i want to listen to right now. I’m already downloading it and can’t wait to listen to it.

    BTW: I will be following your new niche site project. I bought LTP last week via your affiliate link, don’t know if you noticed it?

    Thanks a lot and good luck

    • Pat Flynn

      Thank you for all of the support Theodore!

  • http://www.BiggerPockets.com/renewsblog Brandon Turner | BiggerPockets

    Hey Pat,

    I could have sworn you’ve been watching me for the past several weeks. I think I’ve been working on ten different projects at once. Even while listening to this episode, I was working on a Kindle book, getting a blog post ready, chatting on Skype, answering a few emails, and talking on the phone… oh, and trying to manage the purchase of my newest duplex (fingers crossed for closing tomorrow!)

    My wife tells me every day I need to focus on one thing until completion. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me. I have 50 ideas at once, and – as you know – the most exciting part is the planning and dreaming. When it actually comes down to the “folding Halloween costume arms” for 8 hours, it’s not so fun and it’s tempting to go back and work on another “fun” project.

    Thanks for the reminder to stay simple and focused. I’m going to go work on my Kindle book now. No more distracting me with another Podcast episode!

    You should totally put up a picture of your homemade Wedding invites! We did that too (well, 1/2 homemade anyways.)

    And also – your outro was nice ;)

  • Anders Saabye Møller

    Hi Pat!

    Just finished listening to all of your podcasts – thank you! These has really helped my website climb the rankings, and has been really motivated be to make more niche sites.

    Can’t wait to listen to another podcast!

    Again thank you and good luck!

  • Chris Garby

    Hi Pat,
    Just finished listening to the show, never realized that doing 1 thing at a time is faster, always thought that was why they had assembly lines and it was faster (short story, as a teenager I got a temp job in a factory and my job for the day one time was putting the little caps on spray paint cans while they came by on a conveyor belt, another was putting cotton balls in a medicine bottle, I was ready to shoot myself)

    Anyway, gonna get the book, use your affiliate link, and see what I can get out of it.

    One question I have is I recently lost my job, so yeah, I have extra time but its split between looking for a job, will add the niche duel site challenge and I have another major idea for a website I’m trying to some if it is feasible through a potential investor ( probably a longshot, but I need to try) just wondering how I do 1 thing at a time to completion and complete all 3?

    Thanks, I also commented to be considered for your group of 5 or so for the duel, either way plan on doing it.

  • Dan

    Pat! You finally adopted the British pronunciation of niche, go you! Keep with it ;)

  • http://www.adamlytics.com Adam

    Working in batches is something I have tried many times and if I focus hard enough I can complete the batch tasks at hand. But it does not take much to eventually throw me off course and get excited about another “possible” project.

    Who knows maybe I’ll quite over analyzing everything and put more action in a single project than analyzing several various project potentials.

  • http://www.homelearningexperience.com Sibo

    Yes, Pat. I heard the last part. You see, I am really listening everything you have to say. LoL!

    Great idea on focusing one thing at a time and doing so many things together is actually my biggest problem ever. I am not a person good at multitasking, but because of so many business ideas are in my head, sometimes I just can’t wait until I see some results.

    I will agree with you to focus one thing at a time when I am brand new, so I will build my first niche site by only focusing on it, but if the first one is good and I have a better understanding of the whole progress, I will consider managing a few projects at the same time.

    I went through Spencer’s (Nichepursuits.com) instructions of building a niche site three times and took down detailed notes. I did find there are some waiting time along the way (especially in early weeks), which I should be able to utilize to build more projects.

    Again I am looking forward to working with you soon on Niche Site Duel 2.0.

    Cheers,

    Sibo

  • http://sportmanagement.cc Remco

    Looked at the envelopes video, but do not agree with this.

    The mass production theory is applicable if you have more persons working. So the test should have been done, with let’s say 4 persons, who either work together in a row, or each of them does the whole product process.

    The guy is not very structured, like doesn’t put the envelopes left of the papers, so he doesn’t need to cross his hands, and neither does he puts the envelopes face up, so that the stamping goes quicker.

    just saying, that if you believe in specific theory, and you do a test, most probably the test affirms your pre-assumption.

  • http://www.penduluminaction.com/blog Kirsten Nelson

    This is something I’ve really struggled with. I’m a GREAT starter. I have to work very consciously to finish what I start. I’ve found the same thing, that breaking big projects into small, achievable chunks is what allows me to keep focus and keep interested. The reward of completion becomes achievable and dulls the desire to jump to the next new shiny project.

    Appreciate the reminder and the insights you shared, Pat!

  • http://lssacademy.com Ron Pereira

    Wow, so I have been reading this blog for years so to say I was a bit BLOWN away by seeing one of my videos linked to is pretty cool… of course the video just happens to be the first (and crappiest) video I ever made… but, hey, I guess it gets the point across.

    The concept of One Piece Flow is totally counterintuitive but is far superior to the traditional batch and queu approach most of us are drawn to.

    For those skeptical I’d encourage you to grab some paper and envelopes and repeat the simulation. We actually hired an actress to redo this video and her results were nearly identical.

    When I first did this video, and posted it on my blog several years ago, people went crazy… one guy even broke down my every move. Here then left this comment on my blog:

    Hi Ron;

    Seems there are skeptics about. So I, hard-headed person that I am, watched the entire video again with a spreadsheet (similar data posted to my better half’s website).

    How do we account for the ~60 second difference in the two processes? (Which I contend is the wrong comparison, more below).

    Average time to fold:
    Batch: 9 s
    Lean: 8 s

    Average time to stuff:
    Batch: 4 s
    Lean: 3 s

    Average time to seal:
    Batch: 2 s
    Lean: 1 s

    Average time to stuff:
    Batch: 1 s
    Lean: 1 s

    So, over 10 repetitions, the lean method got a total of 10+10+10=30 seconds of advantage from the shorter time to fold, stuff, and seal.

    Could the shorter fold time be due to thinner paper used the second time? Or to the fact that you seem to get better as you go (you start with times of 9-10 s, but end with times of 7-8 s). The shorter stuff and seal times, though, are due to the fact that you are already holding the item from the previous step. You gain 1 second each time from not having to find and pick it up. That’s part of the point, so I contend that it’s unfair to count those against you as if they were a parlor trick of some sort.

    Still need to account for 30 seconds, though.

    You lose between 2 and 5 seconds every time you move the pile around between steps. Also, you have to manage the pile several times during a task, something you don’t have to do nearly as much with OPF. This also has a factory corollary: storing, moving, retrieving, and looking for WIP.

    But those are the wrong numbers to compare. The real advantage, though, is the fact that you are knocking out a complete product roughly every 15 seconds with OPF. Every 15 seconds, the lean manufacturer fills another order. Every 15 seconds, he has the opportunity to inspect WIP and final product for defects.

    Heck, let’s even spot the batch production method the 3 second difference (most of which is legitimate gain) so that they both average 18 seconds. The lean producer would be still be fulfilling another order every 18 seconds. The Batch producer doesn’t get any orders filled until 3:47. What if they were hours rather than seconds? With 40 hours in a week, that means that the lean producer is shipping twice a week while the batcher is shipping every 6 weeks. Do you like the idea of cash flowing in twice a week, or every 6 weeks?

    For the sake of the skeptics, next time you do something like this, make sure you do the lean method first so that your task times improve more for the batch method. Heck, handicap yourself for the lean method; use one hand and your teeth or something. 18 seconds beats 3:47 like a rented mule.

  • http://lssacademy.com Ron Pereira

    Also, for Remco… I plan to redo this simulation using my kids… I will have 3 of them in an assembly line.

    One will fold, one will stuff and seal, and one will stamp.

    First round we’ll have them do mass production where person 1 does all the folding at one time… then they pass the big pile of folder paper to person 2 who does all the stuffing and sealing… then they will pass the big pile of stuffed/sealed envelopes to person 3 who will seal all at once.

    We’ll then repeat only this time person 1 will fold one and pass it to person two who will stuff and seal and immediately pass to person 3. Once the line is “moving” you’ll see the OPF method blow the mass method out of the water.

    I’ve done this dozens of times during training sessions but would welcome you to give it a try in hopes of proving the concept of one piece flow wrong.

    BTW, the concept of One Piece Flow was first popularized by Toyota as they perfected the manufacturing of cars 50 some years ago.

  • David Broadstreet

    I heard the last whispered part of the recording. I started looking around wondering who was behind me. Funny stuff. This podcast came at a really good time for me. I needed the reminder to focus. I’m looking forward to building a niche site right along with you. Thank you for what you do.

  • http://www.LiveWorkTravelUSA.com Dan

    Work in batches…so true!!
    I got so many great tips in your podcast, Pat, that I had to slow down catching up on all the episodes, just so that I could start implementing some of the things you’re teaching. I’ve been listening to every single podcast from #1 to #52 in a few weeks afraid to miss any tips. Finally slowing down a little to concentrate on making my blog better.

  • C.J

    I agree with Dan..
    The British pronunciation of niche is better. That’s what we use downunder!

  • http://www.experimental.com Thomas

    Hi Pat,

    I love listening to your podcasts, they are so helpful. You are right on about focusing on one thing at a time.

    I purchases LTP from your link and I have been getting ready for NSD 2.0. I am super pumped!

    Thanks again!

  • http://www.cloudlivingjourney.com Tung Tran

    I agree with you Pat.

    It’s true that a lot of us have the curse of entrepreneur :D. so many ideas pop up in our head at a time.

    I was in that position but soon enough I realize that I have to focus on one site at a time and now my business takes off :D

    Thank you for this post and i’m looking forward for the NSP 2.0

    Tung

    • http://www.foreveraffiliate101.com/ Ryan

      Yeah, doing one site at a time helps a lot.

      I spent years jumping from one idea to the next idea and never achieved much of anything because I lacked focus. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve hit success by really focusing on what needs to be done and doing one thing at a time.

  • http://Wirocool.com Wirocool

    I heard the creepy last words :)

  • http://www.incometreatment.com Make Money Online

    I have to hear it even I’m in little rush :)

    Because I love to hear from PAT :D

    Hasan.

  • http://www.stephaniechung.net Stephanie

    Thank you for an awesome podcast. I was driving at the time and after the ending, when you started whispering in my ear, it really cracked me up. Nice way to break up the 1 hour commute with a burst of laughter!

    Looking forward to the next few steps. I just filed a dba and plan on using the niche site duel to start a business. I’ve already taken other steps to start building my business but those are more networking in real life. The reason why I’m following the NSD 2.0 is because I think it’ll help keep me on track long enough to get the ball rolling.

    I plan on my website being more than just a niche site. I’m making videos. I’m making informative blog posts. I’m networking with real life people to help promote my business. I’ve looked into what sort of legal entity I want the business to be. I’m starting to realize how much more work it is just starting a business versus thinking about starting a business. :P

  • http://diymusicbiz.com Greg Savage

    Pat, this is the story of my life. I spend soo much time trying g to juggle multiple project’s at the same time. I either burn out, finish with a lesser quality product or put everything on the burner. Sometimes I spend more time figuring out how to juggle everything than I do getting actual work done.

  • Jude C

    Hey Pat,

    Yes… I did listen to the last part.

    Very useful Podcast though…

  • http://physicaltherapyu.com Travis Robbins

    Pat,
    I just finished that book on your recommendation. I listened to this pod at 4am this morning and thought I was in a weird dream where you were reading the book that you recommend to me. Anyway, this was the point I found to be the biggest take away and useable info. I liked the format of the podcast that you used in giving us only one thing to work on. If you had given us a bunch of stuff to work on additional to this, it might have gotten lost. Keep up the good work.

  • http://audaciousleap.com Doru

    in this case I disagree with the story about everyone packaging something until completion.

    but I agree with handling 1 project at a time, not 3 at the same time.

  • http://mindmapcentral.com/simplifying-projects-with-mind-maps Arjen ter Hoeve

    Hi Pat,

    Very powerful tip. I usually decide what to do in a fixed period of time and then start working on it with a timer. This way I know exactly how much time writing articles takes, how much time I can plan to work on new products, etc.

    I combined this with mind mapping for my project planning. I outline my entire planning in a simple visual overview and get started. No more pages filled with stuff I won’t look at. A simple single sheet shows me where to go and what to do.

    Look forward to NSD2.0!

  • http://incometherapy.com Alexis Marlons

    I totally agree with the idea of taking small things at one time to be more productive. This is what I usually do in order to be more focus and get things done right away.

  • Sonny

    Not only do you make bigger strides in getting work done when you focus on one thing at a time, it make life WAAAAYYY less stressful. To this day I have to say out loud to myself, “First things first, get this done and then move one”. Being a full time entrepreneur since 2006 I’ve realized this is the best advice to keep your head in the game.

  • http://www.marketerswarehouse.com Robert Black

    I got a nice tip from a self improvement course I did a few years ago. This was to break your goal or task up into a series of smaller ones, but each task should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. If it takes more than 10 minutes then you haven’t broken it down sufficiently.

    It’s an interesting concept which obviously doesn’t apply every time, however it can be a big help for when I’m procrastinating. For example, instead of my next task being “write this article”, which may take a couple of hours, I’ll say “write headline for article”, then “find relevant images” for article. That usually gets the ball rolling nicely until I get “in the zone”.

    • http://Hcgchica.com Rayzel lam

      Thanks for this comment- I find that very helpful. While I get a lot done in general, there are times that find my brain is fuzzier than usual and I need to write a blogpost or work on my digital product (which involves a lot of writing) and I find myself procrastinating because I’m overwhelmed by trying to come up with all that content- but taking it one part at a time, headline, 1st par. Etc really makes it seem more doable. Oce I get going I usually do fine.

  • Steven

    Pretty boring, dude.

  • http://www.biketoworkblog.com Kwin

    Very counterintuitive, but the getting a small win (a completed batch) is so important. By the way, a great tool for giving yourself permission to batch is Michael Hyatt’s Ideal Week concept.

  • http://www.phponly.com/ cristian

    Hello pat flynn I always hear your podcast and they are very interesting.

  • Maxime

    Hey Pat,

    This was an interesting point of view but I was kind of disappointed that you didn’t mention Taylor and his scientific management? He proved the exact opposite about a hundred years ago and he’s the reason why most factories have been diving works into separate tasks ever since (think of the movie Modern Times). So yeah, although the example of building one niche site at a time is obviously good, I thought your opinion was a bit lightweight here. Does the book say something about it?

  • http://www.micronicheblueprint.com Greg

    I believe the best way to achieve these incremental successes is by keeping a physical notepad with a to do list of every little thing you want to accomplish. Check them off as you go and you will have a great feeling when you see that you are actually accomplishing results, and not just staying busy. The key is “Physical, real life list” nothing feels better than picking up a pen and making a nice big check mark!

    • http://Hcgchica.com Rayzel lam

      I agree with lists! I get a lot more done if I have lists- otherwise I tend to forget what I was supposed to do next.

  • http://www.stumbleforward.com Chris @ Stumble Forward

    Great tips Pat. A few months ago I actually started my first niche site and it ended up being a complete failure. However on the positive side of things it was the only site I was working on and by being able to go through the process from beginning to end it allowed me to see where I was messing up at so I don’t make the same mistake twice.

    Now that I’ve done this once I’m ready to give things another shot and see what I can really do this time around. I look forward to getting started soon on my next niche Pat.

  • http://www.equalizingstrength.com Beth Enciso

    Yes, Pat, I heard the last part. It startled me and then made me laugh. I always look forward to the funny facts about you at the start of the show.

  • Bryan

    This is an excellent point because most of time you end juggling multiple tasks delaying the completion of any one task by falling into multi-tasking that we all do.

  • http://www.mvrshow.com/ addy Saucedo

    Agreed! I’m happier with the end result of something I worked on when I gave it my full attention because I know I gave it my ALL! Like most short songs, they are still sweet! Thanks Pat!

    P.S
    You seriously made me laugh with the end of this episode hahah :*)

  • Byron Friday (@akaTGIF)

    Haha… Pat whispering at the end was very funny! Cracked me up!

  • http://exs24samples.com/ Dave Graham

    Hey Pat thanks for this – I had one info product that I’d 95% finished a year ago and then lost faith in myself and backed out of finishing it.

    Recently I’ve been working on so many different things I’m a bit fragmented – but this episode inspired me to drop everything, finish that product (took three hours last night to whip it into shape and fill in the last 5%) and it’s on sale this morning :)

    Thanks for the never ending inspiration to keep us going, push ahead despite doubts and fears and just get on with it!

  • http://www.ofwblogger.com/ Roque Alea

    Haha..sounds creepy..

    Thats chopping the works ..lol

  • http://www.nichesitetool.com Chris

    This was exactly what I needed to hear today. I have always had a difficult time accomplishing multiple large projects at the same time, but it always seems ingrained in my head that multi-tasking is the way to go. I’ve been going through the Forever Affiliate program and for my first site I dedicated 100% of my time to the site and all went smoothly and it just felt right. This week I’ve been attempting to identity 3 separate niches at the same time and get to work on all 3 and as a result, I’ve had a hard time finding even 1. It does get overwhelming when you add multiple items to your plate. Appreciate the post and looking forward to participating along with Niche Site Duel 2.0. I will be sure to focus on that only when things kick off!

  • Evan

    Loved this episode, Pat. Have to admit I wasn’t sure where you were going with the wedding invitations thing but glad I stuck with it. Pretty much an exclusive podcast listener but that might change when you start documenting NSD 2.0. Is that also what ‘One Bird at a Time’ is about? I think you spoke about that in a previous ep?

    • http://feedtrain.blogspot.in/ vipin

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      http://feedtrain.blogspot.in/

  • http://www.webthesmartway.com Siegfried

    I found that I absolutely HAVE TO work on one thing a time, otherwise I cannot finish anything at all :/

    • Rafael Marreor

      I’m just realizing that the reason I don’t finish things is because I try and multi-task.

      • http://candy-crush.nl/tips-candy-crush/ Simone

        Same here, multitasking seems more productive, but eventually it’s not at all.

  • http://www.thecorporatethiefbeats.com Daniel

    That last wispher at the end frightened the crap out me I thought I was hearing things ha ha :-)

  • http://www.livefrei.com Jesse

    It’s funny you mention this. I work in a jet engine overhaul shop; where we enlist these same principles. Sometimes it defies commonplace thinking but if you take a engine part and try to batch it with other engine parts that have similar things being done to them, you will actually hurt your turn time quite a bit. Instead it’s better to employ a FIFO system. (First in first out) You complete the next part in the queue in it’s entirety and you will have drastically better results. You ever think about getting a Greenbelt certification? Might be something helpful for you business and neat info to share with your readers. Thanks for the great info!

    Jesse

  • http://www.eventchecklist.net Arwin Adriano

    Love the episode. I believe it is very important that you do something one step at a time. Doing multiple things simultaneously will just give you a hard time on the long run.

  • Dencha

    Creeeeeeeper! Simple advice but yet so hard to implement…well for me that is :)

  • http://www.passiveproductive.com Sam Matla

    Awesome podcast Pat,

    I’ve studied the negative effects of multitasking and try my best to avoid it. You explained them all quite well. Unfortunately in the realm of productivity, people with lack of knowledge think it’s best to do multiple things at a time as they think it’s faster, well it’s not the case (again, explained perfectly well).

    I’ll be sure to tweet this one out to my followers, I’m sure they’ll love it!

    Sam

  • http://www.inozemstvo-posao.com/smf_1-1-2_install/index.php?topic=781.msg9836#msg9836 jack

    you lost me after mentioning marriage …

  • http://Www.andrewhasdal.com Andrew Hasdal

    This is something I needed to hear and have to remember going forward. I’m building a real estate business for my main income but my online endeavors are all over the place. I spent a lot of time in the offseason building several small websites/ideas but only getting me to a point with one that makes income, about $50-60 a month. I promise to concentrate on the site I have in mind for NSD2.0!

  • http://www.kentanphoto.com Ken Tan

    Thanks for sharing this podcast, Pat! :)

  • http://www.effectivemarketingmedia.com Marketing Expertise

    So was Henry Ford and his implementation of the Assembly Line, which made the Auto Industry manufacturing in general as we know it, wrong?

    Should cars and TVs and iPods all be built one-at-a-time? Do you honestly think (once the assembly line is in place) this method is faster?

  • http://www.webofincome.com The Rookie

    Pat, I agree with some of what you have said. But some of it is somewhat flawed. Ive ran similar tests multiple times and have had the opposite result as you. Lean is as @Marketing Expertise states above more about efficiency (assembly line), cutting waste etc. which is what you are saying as well.

    But the test you are running has some minor problems. I have done this with envelopes, welding procedure, steel fabrication and more. I do think your point is valid if you are going into a task without proper controls setup, or having an assembly line type process in tact. In that situation completing one full envelope at a time would be more effective. There is a lot of waste when switching from one name to another, finding your spot on the list etc. Putting the correct envelope with the correct name. So what your are trying to get across to your audience in general is true.

    But, with lean you would most likely break the tasks into similar activities or study it first to cut the problems out. Then assembly line it to make it more efficient. You will have faster times now doing part of the envelopes all at one time (like smaller batches) For example, inefficiencies for your test on your wives method would be switching from stamps to picking up the pen to dropping them again and picking up the paper. A slight loss of speed from jumping from task to task.

    Loss of efficiency in your original method is organization. Keeping piles correct. Remembering what names to write because you can’t just scratch them off your list until an entire envelope is done. When you fix your quality methods you will speed up more than her. She has very little way to speed up her method at that point. Now you get some containers for neatness. Do stamps all at once. Fold the letters all at once (leaving it so you can see who its too) then write return address on all of them, then keeping pen in hand write the to address on all of them put the letter in each one as you write it. Keeping pen in hand or close. This is obviously just a quick example but I have beaten people by 20 percent or more doing it this way.. I had envelope stuffing for my real estate business, and direct mail is a huge part of it. So Ive tested several methods. Now I am kind of ocd and I could see how if things aren’t organized it could backfire.

  • http://www.webofincome.com The Rookie

    Just a little note. I said all of the above, but I totally agree with the actual point of your post and podcast. You must be able to finish things or you will get nothing done.

  • http://beginnersguidetomac.com Tom E

    Hi Pat. I loved the ending. cool and really unexpected :)

  • http://www.untetheredincome.com/ Allen Underwood

    Pat, I listen to all your episodes and I always get some useful information from them but for some reason, this particular session compelled me to comment because it resonated so true with me. Even though I know that I should focus on one thing at a time, it is SOOOO incredibly easy to get sidetracked onto another project…I find that I do this primarily when I’ve hit a bump in the road with the project I’m working on and I know that the point where I am on another project is something I’m good at doing or something I can accomplish quickly – so the end result is I put off the work on the snag in the project I should be working on.

    All that said, I appreciate this session – it’s funny – I don’t get as excited about the mindset posts and podcasts, maybe because I’m always looking for more technical how-to’s, but this one caught me off guard and I think helped me mentally readjust to complete my goals one at a time. Thanks for that.

  • http://www.profesyonelbayanmasoz.com/ankara-masoz/ ankara masöz

    Great post, I tried multi-tasking and found it to be working at times, however not always, hence it is not sustainable. And when you cross the border, it becomes destructive, i.e. decreasing productivity (lower quality etc). Looking forward to similar posts Pat, thank you…

  • https://sites.google.com/site/patespad/lean-home-organization Tim

    Pat,
    I appreciate you bringing these points out for your listeners. I am participating in the Niche Site Duel along with you and just so happens I am getting ready to release my first E-Book on using Lean Mfg principles to organize your home.

    I spent several years helping to implement Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, PDCA and other methods with a major airline. The principles you mention from Eric Reiss’ book are proven methods. The way these are implemented best is to incorporate not only people close to the situation, but outside eyes as well. FIFO and JIT are important parts of a whole system of improvement. The Toyota System concentrates on what are called the Seven Wastes:
    Transport
    Inventory
    Motion
    Waiting
    Over-Processing
    Overproduction
    Defects

    These along with a cleaning and organizing system called 5S can be applied to any business, any process. These methods are not set in stone, they must be flexible and fluid.

  • http://bestausiobooksofalltime.com Ryan McLean

    Hey Pat,

    This podcast episode had a MASSIVE impact on me. I’m currently running 4 niche sites (just started my 4th as part of NSD2.0) and was spreading myself between the 4.

    Doing keyword research but never actually getting anything serious done.

    After listening to your podcast I am “doubling down” so to speak and just focusing on the new niche site. I will ONLY work on that site until it is completed (20-30articles plus some link building) and then I will shift my focus.

    Thanks for the inspiration

  • http://chashathaway.com Chas Hathaway

    I heard it. And no, it wasn’t creepy. By the way, the podcast was incredible. Just what I needed to hear right now. I’ve been bouncing between a lot of projects, just because I can, and you’re right, focusing on one project at a time will be much better. I’m going to do that now, and I really think it will make a difference.

    Thanks so much!

  • http://www.beremarketable.com Jason

    Well, this definitely saved me a bunch of time. I’ve never seen (nor looked for) studies about this, but it makes sense. I like to do the same task on everything in my batch before moving on to the next task, but now I won’t do that anymore. Thanks for that heads up!

    And Pat, your example at the beginning was spot on with my situation. My wife is from Paraguay and I’d seen professional Paraguayan wedding invitations for some friends, and they looked like crap. My egocentric American attitude was that I could make better ones. So I got all the stuff together (we talked about what we wanted them to be like and I bought the materials here) and took it down with me when we were to get married. I thought we had a good time making them.

    Months later I found out my wife hated them. She thought they looked like crap and was kind of embarrassed to hand them out to the guests. I’ll never forget how epic my first failure as a couple was. ;)

    -j

  • http://www.internetaanbieders.info/internet-providers-vergelijken/ Tim

    Great tip, indeed working on one thing at a time makes it so much easier. Finishing a task gives a great feeling.

  • http://german-blogger.com Andreas

    Really great podcast, Pat! Thank you!

    Also very understandable for me as no English native speaker.

    Andreas

  • http://www.CastleforgeMedia.com Dennis Duty

    It’s key to understand how the scope of your projects work into your batch processes. It’s sometimes a good idea to do HUGE batches (Folding 100 cards) and it’s sometimes a good idea to do small batches (all the work involved with completing a single card, or 5 cards, or 10 cards.)

    I’m in the midst of creating 15 videos for a training course, and it helps me a LOT to finish each video and upload before moving onto the next. A motivation burst and sense of accomplishment, I can check something off my list.

    However, some things ARE easier to do in large batches. Scripting all the videos had to come first. I couldn’t script one, shoot one, edit one, and then release one. I HAVE to script all of them all at once, otherwise I might need to redo the first one to fit stylistically in with the later ones.

    I also HAVE to record voice overs all at once. If you record voice overs at different times, each video would sound different.. that’s the nature of voice over. But from there on out I do specific tasks for each video individually.

    I think it’s important to note that doing things one by one is not ALWAYS good. Different processes work better for different things, and there are no ‘hard’ rules. You figure out what works best with experience.

  • http://www.woodworkingnerd.com Greg

    It may be true that taking the production of one item at a time from start to finish can be more efficient, but there are certainly things that are more efficient if you do multiple items and do the same step on each item at the same time. For instance, I am a woodworker and sometimes it takes quite a bit of time to set up a machine for a specific cut you’re making on the wood. Add up 10 different setups for 10 different phases of the project and you add a lot of time for setup. If you batch that it can make for a much greater efficiency. How you apply this to internet marketing, I don’t know, but I sure there are some things that are more efficiently done by batching.

  • http://www.moneycation.blogspot.com Moneycation

    It does make sense to focus on one thing at a time. In fact, when multi-tasking, cognitive attention becomes diffused and diluted across numerous tasks, all of which might be done in the same net amount of time or less had they been done one by one.

    The type of task being done is also relevant. For example, a scientist working in a lab will naturally require focus due to the high degree of accuracy required by experimental protocls and the like. However, a customer service representative with multiple call lines might actually be better off not focusing in order to effectively manage the expecations of customers.

  • http://foidesigns.com Ryan

    Lol, I was listening on my computer while working and that last whisper part scared the doodoo out of me lol. Just wasn’t expecting to hear someone whispering out of no where. And yes, I had speakers plugged into my MBP and the volume was loud while I was listening to you.

    Anyways, great episode! I am def the one who “would” have thought doing each part separately would have been faster. And I have done similar things that way before too. Really on point with the 1 step at a time, helping me today already!

  • http://lssacademy.com Ron Pereira

    Hi Pat, I am thinking of moving my newly launched podcast over to Lybsum (I just finished your podcast tutorials). I am currently using hipcast.

    My one concern is I have had trouble playing some of your podcasts before… for example, the one above simply says “Connecting” when I try to play it. I am on a newish iMac with a Verizon FiOS connection so am pretty sure it’s not on my end.

    Have you ever seen issues like I am mentioning? I can do a quick Screenflow video to show the issue I am having if that would help.

    Your thoughts are much appreciated!

  • http://www.simple-value-investing.de/ Stefan

    Pat, thanks for that podcast!
    Everything you said I knew before, but you really motivated me to implement this a bit better…

    I am self employed since 7 weeks now, and one of the first things I’ve learned:

    –> Get some small things done and you will feel great, even if you only worked a few hours this day
    –> work much and hard but you will feel bad, if you didn’t finish anything

    • http://www.discoverwithandy.com Andy

      This is a great way to put it. That’s one of the reasons I like working out first thing in the morning – no matter what else happens that day, you’ve got something accomplished.

  • http://www.techzune.com Krishna@Techzune

    Very useful, I guess one should concentrate on one work at a time, then only he/she can deliver the best.

  • http://www.seoclerks.com Jordan

    This one tip will make you so much more productive. Like you, I learned it from a book I read (a couple of years ago). It is funny how everyone thinks that steps are faster. I guess it just feels like you are getting more done or can concentrate and do the one thing better?

    Great podcast by the way, loved it like all the previous ones.

  • http://sallyswords.braveblog.com Sally Ferguson

    Good reminder to let discipline be the deciding factor in getting the job done!

  • http://www.circulofitness.com/ Juan

    Great podcast, Pat! I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing

  • Rob

    Great podcast, Pat. Thanks.

  • http://www.varsh.me Varsh

    Great podcast, Pat! I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing

  • http://www.e-cigreport.com Brad

    This is something I have always struggled with. Especially after I listen to one of your podcasts or a few other podcasts I listen to. I have so many ideas and it’s hard for me to get out of the brainstorming phase and actually start working on any of them. My goal this week is to create a short list of tasks I want to accomplish each day and maybe get my list ready for the next day to work on. That way I don’t have an endless list that seems impossible to finish.

  • http://vegetarianzen.com Vickie

    Great post! I am considered somewhat of a productivity expert at my company having done approximately 20 presentations on how to get the RIGHT things done. Working in small complete batches is definitely one of my top tips. While I consider myself to be productive, I recently heard about an application called 30/30 that was recommended by the Podcast Answer Man Cliff Ravenscraft. It is simply amazing! I’ve been using it for about a week and have increased my focus and ability to spend time on the “right” things. It’s fairly easy to use but the great part is, it’s free! There is an in-app purchase available which contains some cutsey icons. You don’t need them but I went ahead and purchased them because I’ve found such value in the app and definitely want to support them. Check it out if your interested!

  • http://www.technosap.com/ Yaso

    Nice information, I really enjoyed lot.
    Thanks for sharing

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  • Tashia

    Thanks for the advice Pat. Definitely something to chew on.

  • http://mmlac.com Markus

    It’s rIEs not reis ;)

  • http://wesleymiles.com Wes

    Hi Pat,

    I listened to this podcast a few weeks ago and it made its way into the conscious. My habit for batching was very much “do step one of all items” then “go back to the first one and start doing step two” etc. It’s a flavor of multitasking. A lack of focus. I have been very happy with my recent single-tasking. Cheers!