7 Surprisingly Common Activities that Are Actually Ruining Your Business (And How to Increase Productivity Instead)


It’s so easy to get carried away when it comes to building your online business.

All the excitement that comes with learning new marketing strategies, reading blog posts, and keeping up to date with all the latest happenings are bound to keep any marketer on their toes.

Sadly the reality is that, the activities that we think are helping us reach our goals are actually doing more to hinder us than we thought.

I confess I’ve been guilty of this myself many times.

increase productivity

As a result, so much precious time gets wasted and what’s worse is we don’t actually finish what we set out to do for the day.

After realizing that I was running around in circle for a few days (alright weeks you got me), I took a step back and identified what I was doing wrong. Thankfully I managed to identify what those hazardous activities that were keeping me stuck were and I’m going to be sharing them with you so you can avoid making the same mistakes that I did.

Not only that, I’ll throw in what you can do instead to increase productivity and get more results for less of your time.

The 7 Deadly Traps That Butcher Any Chance of Success


Constant Email Checking

If you were to ask me how many times I checked my email in a day, I honestly couldn’t tell you because I checked it so many times that I lost track!

Stupid right? Yet I get the feeling that a lot of other online marketers are checking their email inboxes more times than Kim Kardashian gets mentioned in the tabloids (who cares seriously).

I’m not going to lie. Every time I signed in, I hoped to see a new sale and sign up, streams of leads, subscribers, or a friendly email from a random stranger professing how much my blog helped them in a monumental way.

And that’s not the worst part, even though it does seem a little sad to have even typed that previous sentence into existence.

increase productivity

I’m subscribed to heaps of other bloggers, marketing companies, services and forums so I get lots of emails every day. Funnily enough, I can end up wasting more than 2 hours (sometime a whole day) through this hideous trap alone. It starts out with reading the contents of that email, clicking through to the actual website, and then clicking around on THAT website, and then returning to my email box to start the process again with email no.2.

There I was hoping to uncover a hidden nugget or learn something new that not a lot of people knew about because, I don’t know, I was the lucky soul who managed to find these magical blogs and that I alone would reap the benefits by being a subscriber (yes, myself and 50 000 other subscribers…idiot!)

The solution:

Limit yourself to checking your email only twice a day. Preferably in the morning and at night. When I tried this out I was able to increase productivity greatly in between my email checking sessions.

Yes it’s insanely hard to do, especially if your email service is the first thing on your bookmarks toolbar (I should remove that…) but if you actually make a conscious effort and scold yourself when the urge arises, keep your eye on the end goal and remind yourself why you got into business in the first place, that should make you feel guilty enough to stop.

The Superman Complex

It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking that you’re smart enough to learn and do everything that there is to do to run your business.

This could be anything from simply registering your domain name, to handling all the confusing technical crap that will inevitably come your way.

Truth is, you’re not.

Nobody is.

The solution:

No, you don’t have to do it all.

You are allowed to outsource.

You can go to fiverr.com to take care of the little things like getting your header designed, or you can go to odesk if you want to get your own custom theme. Let go of the control freak within you and life will become a heck of a lot easier.

Becoming a Freaky Clone

If you made it a lifelong goal to mould yourself to write, think, build a business and inhale oxygen in the exact same rhythm that your blogging or marketing idol(s) does, then I’m sorry to inform you that that would be a wasted life.

Too often do people get fooled into the idea that success means copying exactly what someone else is doing, and by that I mean their personality.

The solution:

Following somebody else’s marketing strategies that have worked for them is fine. You’re meant to do what has worked in the past. Just realize that it may, or may not, work out for you. You may need to do a little testing, tweaking, and variation to get it right for you.

You also need to inject your own voice into your work too. You want people to like you and do business with you because they feel a connection with you. Plus it’s easier to be yourself anyway.

The Non-Existent Daily Planner

If you find yourself overwhelmed or confused as to what actions you need to be doing to build your business, then it’s more likely than not that you don’t have a step by step plan laid out to guide you.

You’re too busy thinking to yourself “What should I do now?” to actually get down into the nitty gritty.

The solution:

Sit your butt down and actually write out a numbered schedule of what you will be doing every day to grow your business. Keep it simple and don’t overload the list or else you won’t actually go through with it (I know, I’ve tried).

increase productivity

This could include 1/2 hour of personal development, 1 hour of marketing training, and 1-2 of taking massive action in building your business.

When you have clear directions of what to do, you won’t have time to feel confused and you will be surprised by how much you can increase productivity just through this activity alone.

Being an Immovable Object

I made the mistake of working in the same place where I played my video games, read my books, watched anime and listened to music.

You know what I was doing instead of working on my business?

Playing video games, reading books, watching anime and listening to music.

Super productive right?

The solution:

Don’t even attempt to get to work done in the same area that you use for your hobbies and other leisurely activities.

You know what happens instead? Nothing but hours of video game madness and 5hrs of Japanese animation marathons instead of getting actually crap done for your business.

Just don’t. You’re only going to hate yourself even more afterwards.

Find a location that you haven’t marked as a “this is the place to do X” and turn that into your “office”. The less distractions that place has, the better. It could be in your house or a nearby library or café.

Spreading Yourself Thin

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it’s fun learning the ins and outs of running a business to the point that it’s easy to forget to eat and what it’s like to socialize with other human beings face to face.

If you’re trying to learn 5 marketing strategies all at once, chances are you’re never going to get anywhere with your business.

You might think that you’re taking the short cut by cutting down on learning time, but you will never truly master those particular strategies and get plausible results with them.

The solution:

Pick one strategy from the get go, and master that one before you move onto something else.

This way, you will know the ins and outs at a much faster rate with this level of focus and inevitably, the results will come much sooner since you know exactly what needs to be done to start seeing results(if you decide to put all that knowledge into action that is).

Shiny Object Syndrome

There are so many new product and company launches in the network/internet marketing industry that it’s not uncommon to find yourself getting pitched by the new distributor about why it’s the best thing to have come into existence on this planet since themselves.

Every product or service promises instant results. Just like how every company will claim that it’s the best in the industry.

As harsh as this may sound, you need to be smart and level headed enough to not fall for the hype.

Do not go around buying or joining everything that promises instant results, easy money, quick cash or anything similarly ridiculous.

There is no such thing!

The solution:

If you have chosen your primary company already (or if you don’t have one you can check this out) then you must focus only on building that business. Do not become a part of 10 million other things and try to promote them all at once.

Build multiple streams of income only after you have managed to get the first one off the ground and that it produces consistent, steady results.

You may think that being a part of all these cool different opportunities and services will fast track you to success, but it will actually slow you down tenfold.

So have you caught yourself doing any of the 7 deadly traps? Leave a comment below about what it was and how it affected your business. Also don’t forget to share this post and subscribe for updates!

Tina N. Phan

P.S. If you are interested in earning 100% commissions and learning about content creation, then learn how you can make money blogging here.


  1. Cameron Chardukian says:

    I’d also like to add a couple points here. In addition to only checking your email twice per day, only check your social networking sites twice per day. Anything more is excessive and a waste of time.

    I also dealt with freaky clone syndrome for the first dozen or so blog posts. Eventually I found my writer’s voice, but looking back it’s a little creepy how much I looked like the next generation Steve Pavlina!

    Anyway, I found your blog through Problogger and just wanted to compliment you on it

    • Tina N. Phan says:

      Hey Cameron thanks for commenting!

      That’s a very good idea since I’ve spent hours on social networking sites and ended up getting nothing done. Especially Facebook and Google+.

      I think the clone syndrome is something that everybody goes through because at the beginning, it’s hard to not be critical of ourselves. It takes courage to break away from it.


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