Categories
Business

Selecting a Niche – Niche Site 02

This is part of the building a niche site from scratch series. See the first post here.

I have already done all of this so I will try to think back to exactly the process I went through, plus chuck in some new stuff I learned after I already selected my niche.

The first thing I wanted to do was select a niche that I know pays. This niche site is not supposed to be a passion site, it’s supposed to be a site that is going to make money both medium and long term.

So I did a few searches around the web for sites that talked about what niches are high paying. One of the consistent messages was that to choose a niche where people are desperate for a cure, they want to fix a problem that is impacting their life and they are willing to pay for it. The other high level profitable type of niche is to help people make money, bring on the “make money online” niche which is probably the most crowded niche out there.

So I decided to go with the former, and started looking into Health Niches. My criteria for selection was a high paying niche, with high search volume, low amounts of video content and plenty of PLR content.

Some of the niches I looked at were:

  • Weight Loss
  • Stop Smoking
  • Stop Snoring / Cure Sleep Apnea
  • Teeth Whitening

I ended up going with Stop Snoring / Cure Sleep Apnea.

I chose this for a few reasons.

High Paying

The analysis I did on how much the niche was paying was a combination of PLR content, reviews on other sites of high paying niches, number of products on click bank and the Google Competition ranking. You can see this below in the competition bars. The higher the green bar, the more people are paying for adwords advertisements. And both bars are close to full meaning there is money being made in this industry. Plus on my basic assumption that people would be willing to pay to cure their snoring and sleep apnea and get a good night’s sleep.

High Traffic

Here are the basic search volumes on the niche chosen. There are of course many long tail keywords also searched to follow with this.

Sleep Apnea Traffic

As you can see, there is a high volume of searches for both topics.

Relatively Low Video Content

There is also a very large amount of competition in Google in terms of web content.

Sleep Apnea results

But, there wasn’t very much video content relative to the search volumes.

Sleep Apnea video results

My Domain

I ended up choosing the domain www.sleepapneastop.com

With the strategy I am taking the domain is not overly important. I don’t plan to spend the time building links and ranking this site in the normal manner, because it’s a highly competitive industry and it will be very difficult to rank for the target key words. I don’t have a team of V.A.s to help me so I am moving forward with the video marketing strategy and am going to try to build a mailing list.

I have already built an opt-in sales page which I will discuss in a later post. I also want to make a few different versions and split test them to figure out which one converts the best.

Categories
Business

Niche Site Duel – Let the Games Begin

There has been lots of buzz on the web about Pat Flynn and Tyrone Shum’s Niche Site Duel – where they are basically going through the process of building a niche site and documenting the whole process. As someone who is looking into this space and currently running a couple of niche sites, I thought I would join along in the fun.

A niche site is a small website targeted around a certain ‘niche’ or small topic which is designed to bring in revenue. The revenue will either come from advertising, affiliate marketing (selling someone else’s product), building your own product and selling it or selling services off the site.

Pat and Tyrone are already more than a month into their challenge and are doing really well. Patt has already made $20! So if you are interested in this kind of thing, I definitely recommend checking them out.

My Niche Site

I already have a couple of niche sites up and running that are starting to gain some traction in the search engines and I will continue to work on them. But this niche site is going to have a slightly different flavour to the ones that Patt and Tyrone are working on (I thought it would be worth contributing something a little different than just rehashing what has already been said). They are building sites that they want to rank well in the search engines and are driving traffic by building micro sites and writing articles to build back links and drive traffic to the sites. This is the same technique that I use on some of my other sites. But for the purpose of this experiment, I will be trying something a little different.

Here’s what I plan to do.

  1. Find a niche that pays
  2. Register a domain and build an email opt-in sales letter
  3. Make 50 videos and post them up on the internet
  4. Build an auto posting network to market my videos and potentially further market the site in the future
  5. Try to build a list of 300-500 people
  6. Either build a product to sell to the list or push an affiliate product in a launch manner
  7. Continue to market affiliate products to the list

I have already done points 1, 2, 3 (20 of 50 videos) and 4. I will write them up over the coming weeks and report on my progress.

The main reason I have chosen this route is to experiment with video marketing. There are a few benefits of taking this route. Firstly, after some research and testing, making content for videos is lots quicker than writing content (in my case anyway). Secondly, video is a less competitive space. There is just less content out there, especially for weird, obscure niches. Thirdly, and this is a big-un, you can use PLR (Private Label Rights) content and it is not picked up as duplicate content because it is video marketed. This is huge if you are trying to create content for a niche you have no interest or prior knowledge in. There are also some downsides, such as not having control over the sites that push traffic to you (such as Youtube etc) meaning it can be a bit more hit or miss on how well you rank and how much traffic you receive.

Either way, this is more of an experiment than anything else so we will see how it goes.

Let the games begin!

Categories
Technology

My $1195 Blog Comment

Last week Mashable had a competition to promote their up coming event Blog World Expo in Las Vegas. The competition was to leave a comment in response to the question “What is the future of blogging?” and they picked 5 winners from their favourite responses.

So I entered my comment, as you do, and what do you know – I was selected as a winner. Yay!

Below is my winning comment:

The future of blogging will be a continual movement away from the one sided, board of director selected, opinion led information flow. A continual pressure against traditional media outlets as bloggers become the main sources of influence across all mediums including written, audio and video. Media moguls will no longer influence elections and wars, bloggers will. Bloggers will replace newspapers, radio and TV stations as truly enlightened individuals have two way conversations with their readers and deliver exactly the kind of content that they want.

Blogging will continue to remove the barriers to entry in becoming a global influential force, allowing people from all around the world – including third world countries – to step up and be heard by everyone. Something that was almost impossible in the world of media control.

I believe blogging will help create an equal distribution of information, where the people who are heard are the people who deserve to be heard because they have the strongest message. This in turn will help to enlighten the global population and eventually increase the equality of living across the world.

Now I’ve just got to get to Vegas…

Categories
People

Bobby Chang from Incase on Socially Responsible Businesses

I got a chance to work with the guys from PathPacific.com in Dublin a while back. We were shooting a video for a product launching in Asia (weird I know). Path Pacific had recently recorded the Dublin Web Summit where Bobby Chang was among one of the many impressive speakers attending. I had never heard of Bobby before, but he is one of the founders of Incase, the company that makes the official cases for Apple products.

He did a great speech on the background of his business, collaboration and building socially responsible businesses. Check it out:

Categories
People

The Importance of Decisions (How a Single Decision Changed my Life)

“Each indecision brings its own delays and days are lost lamenting over lost days…what you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has magic, power, and genius in it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Firstly, apologies for the latent posts… Too busy having fun! A bit of an update, I’ve just landed back in Vancouver where I will be staying for the foreseeable future. I’ve had an amazing time (the best time of my life…) travelling through South East Asia, North America and Europe but I was moving very quickly and found it difficult to find my zone. When travelling, there are so many new and exciting things to see and people to meet, I didn’t want to be spending my time working, or writing about what I was doing. Heck, I even felt that planning my next destination and accommodation was a waste of the valuable time I had in a place. So I’ve decided to settle down in Vancouver and get some work done.

It is interesting the journey that has brought me here. It all started with one key decision: Quitting my day job. I had a very comfortable life – six figure job, nice apartment all that good stuff. But looking back over the last 9 months, and the opportunities I’ve discovered, the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been, I’m very happy I made the decision.

Since setting off on my journey, I’ve built a network of online businesses that are netting me a small profit; I’ve become a partner in another business and am at the initial stages of setting up a third business. There is lots of work cut out for me in the future, but I’m excited and think know it’s all going to pay off.

What’s interesting about all of this is that none of it was planned before I made the decision to quit my job. And if these opportunities had arisen before I made the decision (which they wouldn’t have), I may have looked at them negatively or not even given them thought. The initial decision is what sparked the momentum.

So if there is something you’ve been thinking about doing, whether it be starting a new project, asking your girlfriend to marry you or completely changing your life, make a decision and stick to it. Because

“In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” -Theodore Roosevelt

Categories
Travel

The Luggage Conundrum (or How I Chose a Travel Bag)

For a traveler, a bag is like the hermit crab’s shell. It’s the last line of defense for your most valuable assets (besides body parts). Many people will give you advice when choosing a travel bag. People, who know lots, people who know little. The salesman, the taxi driver, colleagues at work and your mother. People who have travelled the world, people who have travelled the mall and people who think a backpack is what their kids use to carry their lunch to school.

And now me! I’m not an expert on bags by any means, but I had to quickly upgrade my skillz as my bag was going to be my new home for the next 12 months and I didn’t want to regret my purchase. Below is the breakdown of how I made my decision.

Your bag choice is dependent on 3 key factors.

  1. Where you’re going
  2. What you’re doing
  3. Your body type

In my situation, I am going on a diverse trip that will include cities and mountains, formal and informal. This means that I wanted a bag that would cover a variety circumstances. I am also 182cm (6 foot), meaning I can handle most types and sizes of bag. This is different to someone going on hiking or on a business trip.

Below is what I looked for in a pack:

  1. Easy to pack and access stuff
  2. Easy to maneuver – on average, across all terrain
  3. Durable
  4. Lockable
  5. Designed to suit both formal and non-formal occasions

The Options:

Trekking Backpack

Trekking Backpack

These are your standard, top loading, mountain climbing backpacks. They give you the most back support, the best waste strap and weight distribution of all backpacks, which is obviously helpful if you are climbing a mountain. They are also very durable. Unfortunately most of them are top loaders, which I found from my last trip was incredibly annoying. If you wanted to access something in the middle of the bag, you need to pull everything out. I can imagine this would be more annoying on the side of a frozen mountain, but maybe less annoying than a sore back… they are also not lockable, mostly come in bright colours and generally look pretty sporty.

Travel Backpack

Travel PackTravel packs are fast becoming the preferred choice for post-adolescent vagabonders. Basically they are trekking packs but with a different ‘access structure?’. Instead of top loading the bag, they have zips that go around the bag opening 1/3 – 2/3rds of the bag. This makes it much easier to access things inside, it also makes them lockable. The downside to the change in shape of the pack is less support and weight distribution. But unless you are going on 10+ day treks, you won’t be able to tell the difference. Travel packs also come in tamer designs, sections to pack away the back straps and generally look more presentable.

Wheeled Backpack

Wheeled BackpackThe tool of the flashpacker. Wheeled backpacks are relatively new, especially the models that work well. A decent wheeled backpack will come with wheels and a handle that pops out to move across flat surfaces plus shoulder and waste straps. They will open almost as well as a suitcase 60-80% giving excellent access. They come in formal designs that allow you to pack up the straps and wheel it around to look important like. On the negative side, they are the worst backpack you can get. But again, you probably won’t notice this unless you are going on long treks or you over-pack. They have a frame like a suitcase to keep the shape and they are built for optimal weight distribution while wheeling, not trekking.

Duffle Bag/Wheeled Duffle Bag

Duffel BagAhh the duffle bag, usually sported by athletes (I think they get them for free?), mobsters (AKs and cash of course) and private school kids in Sydney’s North Shore (no idea why – and they’re all from a store called Country Road). Duffle bags open well – about 2/3’s of the bag – making packing and accessing your stuff a breeze. They have a single shoulder strap and some have wheels making them good for inner and inter-city gallivanting. However, a single shoulder strap can become very uncomfortable and is ergonomic suicide for your back if you’re carrying over 10kgs and walk for more than 30 min. They either look sporty or dodgy and no frame means that smart clothes can lose their shape.

Suitcase

SuitcaseI am not going to explain what a suitcase is. If you don’t know what one is, you’re an idiot and should stop reading my blog. Suitcases are good because they open up 100% of the way and have a strong frame. This means packing, unpacking, and accessing your stuff is great and they also keep delicate clothes and other items intact. They will come with wheels, making them good for city movement but try and get on a crowded bus or walk down a pebble airstrip with one and you suddenly find yourself in a world of pain.

My Verdict:

The wheeled backpack. As mentioned above, I was looking for 5 criteria in my selection. The only pack that matched all of these was the Wheeled Backpack. I am not going to be hiking for the next 12 months, I will mostly be in cities and towns. I may have to walk for long distances, but most of the time I will be on a road where I can wheel. It was a close decision between the travel backpack and the wheeled – the argument was “wheeled backpacks are gay and you will look like a geek not like a cool hipster backpacker” – but in the end, I chose functionality over fashion. Function over fashion is key when moving towards a minimalistic lifestyle. Plus I can always open it into a backpack before I walk into hostels so I look cool.

The Pack:

The best rated wheeled pack I found was the Victorinox Trek Pack plus. This thing has more patients than you can throw a stick at. Plus Victorinox is known for its quality luggage, lifetime guarantee and perfect wheels.

Unfortunately, they don’t sell these in Australia anymore… I don’t know why something about being discontinued or upgraded something… and ordering stuff from the US to Australia is a freekin nightmare.

So I went with the Caribee Fast Track 75 pack.

Carabee Fast Track

The Fast Track is a good option. For starters, its 1/3 the price of the Victorinox. It has a good access structure, with a main section and bottom section for breaking up your stuff. Both of these open well giving about 80% access. Both sections are also lockable. It has strong, big, treaded wheels that can go over rough terrain, has wheel covers to protect my precious clothes from the dirt plus is built with a durable, waterproof material (although water can still get in from the zips). The waste strap is good, holding most of the weight of the bag when using as a backpack and it looks fairly professional (black colour) when all the straps are packed.

All in all, I’m quite happy with my purchase. I have not tested it in harsh climates or over razor blades but if it performs particularly well or poorly in a given situation, I will update this post.

UPDATE: After using this bag for 6 months, I am extremely happy with my purchase. There has been literally no damage to the pack anywhere. The wheels are seriously a god send when you’re tired and not having to constantly take your bag on and off while moving around trains and busses is great. I ditched the day bag that it came with for a bigger computer backpack. So not having to carry a bag on both my front and back also makes everything much easier. In 6 months, I have used it as a backpack less than 10 times. This has only been for long walks on rough ground everywhere else I wheel it around. The compressor straps are great, making packing neater and easier. And the internal pockets and compartments are wonderful for keeping things organised. So yes, very the happy.

What kind of bag do you use?

Categories
People

My Abstract Timeline

Below is a little about my abstract life to date:

At age 0 I…

  • Was born in Sydney, Australia

At age 6 I…

  • Went to a boarding school in India at the base of the Himalayas

At age 12 I…

  • Was taken around the world by my parents (thanks!) giving me the travel bug. Visited: USA, Canada, England, Scotland, France, Portugal, Singapore, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and India

At age 13 I…

  • Got my first job (pamphlet delivery)
  • Started my first business (buying bulk candy from the supermarket in the morning and re-selling it at school)

At age 14 I…

  • Was ‘recommended’ by my principal that I should leave school, half way through year 9 due to constant mischief and rebellious acts against authority
  • Got a job at the Pizza Hut Call Centre (I was too young to legally work but lied about my age)

At age 15 I…

  • Went to TAFE (a community college of sorts) and completed my year 10 in 4 months
  • Worked in Data Entry, Desktop Support and whatever else I could find

At age 16 I…

  • Became the youngest Australian to get their CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  • Also became a Microsoft Certified Professional
  • Got my first real job in IT
  • Travelled to Hong Kong and Japan

At age 17 I…

  • Returned to TAFE to complete my High School Certificate (HSC)

At age 18 I:

  • Lost my job in IT as my company closed down
  • Worked in a bar, cafe and restaurant
  • Executed my first stock trade

At age 19 I…

  • Graduated from TAFE with my HSC and a mark of 94.95
  • Was accepted into a Bachelor of Commerce at Sydney University (top business degree in Australia)
  • Got a job as an Undergraduate Accountant in a Finance Company
  • Got a job as a part-time Mortgage Broker
  • Got a job as a part-time High School Tutor

At age 21 I…

  • Quit my 3 part-time jobs
  • Got a full-time job as an IT Recruitment Consultant in a Public Firm, youngest consultant ever employed.
  • Switched to part-time Uni

At age 23 I…

  • Made $140,000 for the financial year
  • Purchased my first property
  • Dropped out of University
  • Travelled to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam

At age 24 I…

  • Quit my job as a Recruitment Consultant
  • Set off to travel the world: Asia, North America, Europe and counting…
  • Started an e-commerce business
  • Started affiliate marketing
  • Started this blog
At age 25 I…
  • Continued to travel… Mostly Canada and USA
  • Learned to Snowboard
  • Attended numerous conferences in the Internet Marketing Space
  • Grew my Internet Marketing Company
  • Sold my E-commerce Store
At age 26 I…
  • Lived in the Dominican Republic for 8 months, learned to surf
  • Built my internet marketing company significantly revenues, profit, staff
  • Started Vitoto
  • Also traveled to the US, Thailand and Australia
At age 27 I…
  • Moved to San Francisco to work on Vitoto where I currently am

Well, that’s all so far… Feel free to contact me regarding anything I have done or if you are doing something similar and want to network. I am always open!

Categories
People

What Drives People? Money? Passion? Purpose?

Great speech from Dan Pink on what drives people.

Click here if you cant see the video.

Dan Pink – Drive

Takeaways:

– Money is a great driver for repetitive quantifiable activities
– Money is not the best driver for creativity
– People are more inclined to do things because of purpose, mastery and a sense of contribution

It’s interesting to see how many of the successful companies like Google have integrated this work philosophy into their cultures.

Categories
Technology

How to Move (migrate) your WordPress Blog to a New Doman and Host

A blog is becoming a pretty standard tool for those looking to do…. anything really. There are so many stories of product launches, networking, new jobs, new businesses any many other opportunities spawning off the success of bogs. A perfect tool in the building of an abstract lifestyle. And even if its not a massive success, a blog is still useful for personal branding so there really is no loss.

This isn’t really a tech blog but I recently moved my WordPress account to a new host and domain and thought I would share the process. I had to look through a few different posts to figure it out so I thought I would combine them into one. And because blogs may be of interest to many lifestyle designs I thought I would chuck in this post.

Moving to a New Host

Backing Up your Blog

First thing you should do is backup your blog. The easiest way to do this is FTP into your blog and copy the whole folder down onto your computer. Hopefully you wont need to touch this but its just in case. I use FileZilla, a free FTP program. Once you have FileZilla, connect useing your ip address, username and password. Settings may differ depending on your host so check out their website if you are having troubles.

Install WordPress on your New Host with your New Domain

Depending on your host, will depend on how you do this. Godaddy is very simple, you just select a wordpress hosting plan and it will walk you through the setup of your new account. I use godaddy.com hosting to manage my blog. I was using a dedicated server but it ended up being more expensive and more work with no really reward so I switched. I was changing domains anyways so I thought it was a good time. Using a hosing service like godaddy, Blue Host or Host Gator will give you easy one click WordPress install. Perfect for the non-technical. Remember to use the new domain you are choosing for the setup. At this point you should have a new basic install of WordPress attached to your new domain. I am assuming you have done this before if you are migrating a blog.

Export and Import your Posts, Pages and Comments

The export / import process is VERY simple thanks to WordPress integrating this into the platform. Simply select export from the tools menu as below.

image

To import, just select the import option from the tools menu and select the file you downloaded. And that’s it, all posts, pages and comments will have moved over.

image

Install and run Search and Replace

Install the Search and Replace plugin. This plugin will allow you to search for all content in your blog and replace it with new content. To do this you should search for your old blog, so for me it was “wordplaywithvinay” and replace it with “abstract-living”. This will fix all the links to other posts within your blog and tie up any other loose ends.

image

Copy your Theme and Plugins

To copy your theme and plugins, you will need to copy the wp-content folder from your old host to your new one. You can find this one directly in from the folder you have your blog installed in. You can replace the files that exist in the new directory because you only have a base install so far.

image

Unfortunately this method will not copy over the configuration of your old theme or plugins and you will need to manually go through each of them and reconfigure them.

Copy Widgets

The easiest way to copy over your widgets will be to open the wordpress dashboard of both of your blogs, go to the widgets tab and copy over the contents of each widget individually. You will need to change any URLs or RSS links.

Change your Permalinks

Make sure you change your permalinks to the same structure to what they were before. To do this, check the settings in your old blog under Settings –> Permalinks and copy the same settings over.

Migrate your Feedburner Feed

To migrate your Feedburner feed, the easiest solution is to change the name and address of your existing feed to the new one without changing the extension so your existing subscribers don’t see a change.

image

You can create a second feed for new subscribers or just continue using the old feed, its up to you.

Redirecting your Old Blog

After you’ve tested everything twice (three or four times) its time to move over your domain, the final step. To do this you will create a 301 redirect from your old blog to your new one. This step is important for two reasons.

  1. It will redirect any old links that exist to your blog from external sites, including individual post links.
  2. It will move all the link value from your old blog to your new one. Very important to keep your ranking in Google.

To do this you will have to modify your .htaccess file. You will find this file in the root directory where wordpress is installed. You want to edit the .htaccess file in your OLD blog.

image

To do this, you will need to download it, make a backup, then open it in notepad. Replace everything inside with the following lines (changing out the respective domains):

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www\.)?wordplaywithvinay\.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.abstract-living.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Upload the new .htaccess to your old host and your set to go.

This scrip will redirect your homepage, plus individual posts and pages.

I hope you have a smooth transition, let me know if you have any questions.

Categories
People

Working while Travelling: Distractions and the Zone

I’m on the train out of Edinburgh, a very impressive city to say the least. The medieval town is blessed with exceptional geography making it the perfect location for a castle and line of defence. The history is deep and the streets so charming you can wander for hours and not get bored. I leave this historical town after an interesting morning, very relevant to my personality type which according to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator is ENTP.  For those that don’t know, Myers Briggs is the oldest and most used personality type classification index available today. It was developed in WW2 and is used by the military, banks and universities to help determine if people are the right fit for certain tasks and positions. ENTP is the strategist personality type.

One interesting characteristic of my personality type is we are innately disorganised. It’s not that we can’t be organised when needed, it’s just we tend to not be bothered. Instead of spending time organising stuff, we’d prefer to spend it doing stuff. We also have the ability to ignore mess. If something is messy but not directly affecting the task we’re trying to achieve, it won’t affect us emotionally. We don’t notice messy papers lying around our desk but if someone were to come with a bucket of tar and throw it all over our desk and chair that would affect us. When some travel, they travel on a strict itinerary – every stop booked, every sight planned and guide book in hand as they power through their destination of choice. I kinda do the opposite.

Take today for example. I checked out of my hostel at 10am, spent two hours deciding where to go then jumped on a train at 13:06. I missed the bus to London due to a Windows 7 update so decided on Whitby – the home of Captain James Cook (the guy who found Australia). I felt like going somewhere that wasn’t so commercial and a little off the beaten path. I also wanted somewhere I could get some work done.

Working while travelling is seriously hard, it’s hard for a number of reasons but I find the most difficult part is switching your mind between work and play. Everyone is having a good time talking about their adventures it’s difficult to get into the mindset of work. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a ‘digital nomad’ who is just as efficient on the move as when stationary. One of the downfalls of my ENTP personality type is I tend to get wrapped up in having fun. This leads to lots of fun and good times for all but also means some stupid shit happening from time to time, a pushing aside of other responsibilities and inevitable spending a little more cash.  Like yesterday I was supposed to go on a highlands tour at 8am to see the Lochness and Scottish Highlands. I had my alarm set for 7am like a good boy, but after finding myself on a pub crawl, ending with me crawling back into bed at 5am, it didn’t happen… I had an awesome night probably more fun than I would have had on the tour but I lost my deposit and missed out on the experience of the highlands.

This comes back to the working while travelling. It’s not that it’s hard to find a cafe and do some work. It’s hard to get into the mindset of “ok, its work time”. When travelling you find yourself with a few hours here or there. Yes you could pump out the work needed in those little breaks, but with constant interferences getting in the headspace to work is hard.

There is a lot of talk going around the productivity blogsphere about single tasking, removing interferences and total immersion. These topics focus on how you are more efficient when focused on a single task without disruptions. The concept is if you are working on something, say writing and you get distracted from your task, it takes your mind about 15 minutes to get back into that state of focus. This is why multi-tasking is not advised. This happens if your wife knocks on the door and asks you what you want for dinner, an email pops up which you decide to reply to or you go on a pub crawl. Travel is full of distractions like this making it much harder to get into a zone of work. Even if you find yourself with a few hours free here or there. This is where I am jealous of the J’s (the polarity to P on the Myers Briggs). They have everything so ordered and planned. They will plan when things are going to happen and will be mentally prepared to execute them when the time comes. They may miss out on 5am Edinburgh benders and trip changes due to Windows 7 updates, but they probably get more work done and save money in the process.

One of the key elements for me being productive is controlling my environment. Your environment can help to influence emotional state. And creating a productive, single task minded state (let’s call it a zone) will result in high levels of productivity. It also helps you to eliminate distractions and focus on a single task. There are 3 elements important to creating a productive zone:

Physical Location: Put yourself in a location that is conducive to productivity. If you work in sales, working in a sales office with energy around you will help. Internet marketers: A quiet room with access to your computers. Fiction writer: maybe a writer’s cottage in Greece or the Elephant Cafe in Edinburgh (Harry Potter fans?).

Physical Distractions: Set yourself a work schedule and let your distractions know about it. Tell the people in your life that this is your work time and you need it free and free means free. Let them know that a 2 minute disturbance equals more than that in lost productivity. Turn off your internet (or at least disable email if you need the net) for periods of creativity.

Emotional Distractions: These are harder to control. If you could control these on tap, you wouldn’t need the other two above. A simple method to help control emotional distractions is to schedule them for later. Having a fight with a loved one? Got bills you need to sort through? Annoying neighbour keeps throwing rubbish in your yard? Make an entry into your calendar for things like this you need to do.  Even an entry that says “emotional distractions” is enough. This helps if you find yourself thinking about them while trying to work. Instead you can say – its fine, I will think about it tomorrow at 10am in my allotted time.

These are some basic tips to help keep you in a zone of productivity and manage any distractions that life my throw at you.  I’m on my way to create myself a little zone for a few days. I hope you find yours.