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5 Ways to Get More Work Done without Actually Working

By:     Topics: Entrepreneurship     More posts about: ,

Your work habits are vital to your success.

But what about your non-work habits? Believe it or not, you can use your free time in a way that will actually help your business succeed.

Check out the five non-work activities below for ways to get work done without actually having to work.

#1 Socialize

If you’re the type to spend Friday night finishing up your latest project instead of going out on the town, then you might want to reconsider – not just for the benefit of your social life, but for the benefit of your business.

The reason is simple: success gets easier as your network gets bigger.

You probably don’t think of hanging out with your friends as a prime networking opportunity, but you never know when a friend of a friend will have just the right skill, connection, or opportunity to help take your business to the next level.

The more friends you make, the better the odds are that one of them will be able to help you out, whether immediately or years down the road. If not, no worries: friends are a nice thing to have in their own right.

Another Reason to Make Friends

Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, being socially savvy has never been more important in online business. Having an active social life will help you keep with the current trends and make sure you don’t get too socially awkward while typing out your tweets.

#2 Buy a Chair

Take notice as you’re reading this. Do you have good posture? Are your elbows bent at 90 degrees as you type? Do you feel comfortable and alert?

If not, it may be time to invest in a high back ergonomic chair.

Being an Internet entrepreneur without a good chair is sort of like being a marathon runner without good shoes. It may not seem very important at first, but it will begin to wear on you over time.

You’re probably working from your desk at least five hours a day. If you’re chair isn’t providing ample back and lumbar support during that time, you’re going to be more tired by the end of your work day than you should be.

Plus, a good chair encourages you to have good posture – and when you sit up straight, you’ll feel more alert and focused. Not only will you be getting more work done, you’ll also be doing your body a long-term favor.

Michael’s already recommended a great office chair in his Ultimate Office Shopping Guide. It’s expensive – but not any more expensive than a few visits to the chiropractor’s office.

Standing is the New Sitting

If you don’t want to spend the cash on buying a chair, find a counter and try working while standing up. You’ll eventually get tired of standing, but while you’re at it the increased blood flow will help you to think on your feet, so to speak.

#3 Read

If you’re a book lover, then you know there are few things more enjoyable than getting lost in the pages of a great novel.

But reading can also be a great way to make progress with your business – and I’m not just talking textbooks and business books, likeRich Dad, Poor Dad and The 4-Hour Workweek.

Reading the newspaper will keep you up on what’s current, which will help your business stay relevant. Reading biographies will give you day-by-day insight into the way successful people lived their lives. Reading novels can help spur your imagination.

Of course, reading articles about how to make money online on websites like IncomeDiary, may be your best resource of all.

Becoming Eloquent

Reading isn’t just about learning more about how to succeed. It also increases your skill with language, which will help you to communicate with customers, clients, and potential investors. Start reading daily and you may start talking your way into closing more deals.

#4 Get Somebody Else to Do It

Some entrepreneurs are so set on bootstrapping that they try to do everything themselves.

That’s an admirable goal, but it’s not very efficient. Inevitably, they spend a lot of time learning new skills and making first-time mistakes. As Warren Buffett would say, they’ve left their “circle of competence.”

It’s also a huge time commitment. If you spend all of your time answering emails, redesigning your website, and promoting your business, when will you have time to actually provide value to customers? One person can only do so much.

That’s why professional bloggers hire specialists to redesign their websites, write sales copy, and create their products. That’s also why many employ full-time virtual assistants to take care of administrative work and filter their daily deluge of emails.

In order to grow, your business will eventually have to enlist the help of additional people. The sooner you get started, the more prepared you’ll be manage employees when your business gets so large that they become essential.

Where to Start

Don’t be afraid to invest in your business by getting somebody else to do your work for you. Websites like AwesomeWeb and Odesk are a good place to start. For smaller projects, you can try Fiverr – where the jobs are so small, they only cost five bucks.

#5 Go for a Run

You already know that running can make you healthier and leaner – but it can also be a great way to get work done without working.

If you’ve hit a mental roadblock, staring at your computer screen probably isn’t the best way to overcome it. Getting outside and going for a short run will help your body get into a rhythm and give you a fresh outlook.

It’s a great way to have an idea breakthrough, like thinking of a solution to a nagging problem or finding the right angle to enter a new market.

Go the Distance

“I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period.”

Will Smith

Running also reinforces a mindset of commitment. With longer distances especially, it’s necessary that you develop the attitude that you won’t give up no matter what.

This will come in handy when you face roadblocks on your entrepreneurial journey. Very simply, a mindset of commitment is something that you’ll need if you ever want to have real success in anything.

Not a Runner?

Don’t worry: any long-distance sport will suffice. One of my favorite quotes about perseverance comes from a cyclist: Lance Armstrong, who beat cancer and then won the Tour de France seven-consecutive times. 

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”

Lance Armstrong

Does Not Working Really Work?

Next time you’ve got some free time, remember these activities.

Instead of reaching for the TV remote, read about the life of a person you admire. Instead of staying in, go out and meet some new people.

Of course, having the biggest network or the most comfortable chair doesn’t mean anything unless you’ve also been working to build a great business. So, even though all of these non-work activities can help move your business forward, none of them can replace good, old-fashioned hard work.

Good luck building your business as you work, as you don’t, and any time you find in between. If you can think of a helpful non-work activity that I missed, please share it below.

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  1. Cold Sore Expert says:

    Great article Nick. I have to allow others to do more in my business. 2012 is the year for me to outsource more!


    • Nick Scheidies says:

      Outsourcing can be a really great way to streamline your work. I just finished editing an interview with Tyrone Shum, who was working 60 hours a week before outsourcing and now works about 20.

  2. Jamie Northrup says:

    A great chair is only as good as it’s used, make sure you have it set right to support your back, for the longest time I would just lean on my desk as I typed, it’s a lot better now using the chair back as support, specially since I paid so much for it.

    • Nick Scheidies says:

      Thanks for the advice. That’s something I should have mentioned, how valuable it is for you to adjust your chair to your body.

  3. Taking a break from work always helps me out. Automating my site a week or two in advance before a vacation leaves me with the hassle free, worry free time to actually get out and enjoy the weekend or week to two weeks I do take off from work.

    Having a full time job on top of running my own site can become a little draining at times, with a regular workout routine, a some what large circle of friends, reading sites I subscribe to daily as well as other things of interest, and other projects as well. A vacation from it all every few weeks really helps get the mind and body back to normal after churning out work and material.

    • Nick Scheidies says:

      That sounds great, Peter. I’m impressed with your busy schedule — and your ability to still find time to relax.

  4. Hey Nick
    Good stuff!
    Have you tried audio books and Amazon Audible? I use this like podcasts while driving, running and being otherwise away from my desk and “unproductive”. It fills the gap and is much more efficient than reading (although I love to read)
    Check out my latest post if you have a moment

    • Nick Scheidies says:

      I haven’t used Amazon Audible, but I mentioned the benefits of podcasts in my last post (on New Year’s resolutions). Thanks for sharing your advice!

  5. Wayan Punia says:

    I’m very interested to apply your ideas. As a beginner in blogging I never miss the articles of Thank you very much Nick.

  6. Smart Blogging says:

    It’s so true! As internet entrepreneurs we sometimes get so caught up in our work that we forget the basics…love the work standing up idea! definitely going to look into it. By the way, excellent website! Your content is very enlightening!

  7. Dean Saliba says:

    I find that taking a break to go for a run helps me to gain my motivation to work again, while I’m waitin for that motivation I normally bring in guest bloggers to cover. 🙂

    • Nick Scheidies says:

      Yeah, running is great in so many ways. Guest bloggers are another good way to get work done without actually working.

  8. Awesome post (as always). Balance in life is everything!

  9. Tasman Hayes says:

    Finally, I’ve got an article to justify spending more time socializing! Thanks Nick! 🙂

  10. Great article Nick.
    I’ll translate it into Arabic and I’ll publish it in my website.
    I hope this year will be better than the previous.

  11. Some good advice here. Very often, what you do away from the desk and computer is at least as valuable as actual work. Learning, networking and exercising are all good ways to get new ideas and meet new people. Regarding the ergonomic chair, I’ve also been reading lately that it’s healthier to get a stand up desk, because sitting for hours in any type of chair has health risks. Haven’t done that myself, yet, but it’s something to consider.

  12. aussiebob says:

    A great post the running long distance is a great way to improve the mind set.A set of head phones and a good tape and your set.