productivity is something I’ve always struggled with, particularly after the 4-5 month mark of my affiliate marketing business.

At the start, it’s easy to get crazy motivated. Blogs like Pat Flynns’ SPI and that show big 5 figure months just make you want to get started. It’s only after a couple months in you realize it’s not easy. In fact, it comes with it’s own set of challenges, often harder then full-time employment.

I started seeing success fairly early but I’ve still had periods of down time where I’ve been struck  by doubt and fear and all those negative feelings you get when working for yourself. These times are a blessing though as this is where you get to learn about yourself and develop productive habits that make the good times even better.

As of late, I’ve come up with a set of rules, I enforce on myself every day to ensure I get the efficiency output I want.

Taking Tim Ferris’ advice, I’ve made a “Not to do” list for myself which has worked absolute wonders!

No Social Media/Socializing Till 5pm

No FaceBook/Whatsapp/Instagram or other social media activity during work hours, (morning – 5pm). Work is work and although your at home, mostly in front of the laptop and have the freedom to get up and do whatever you want, you need to implement discipline in this area and this is a great way to do it!

One Activity Per Work Phase

No working on other affiliate marketing related activities apart from the activity allocated for that specific time. (This one is great!). Basically, I only allow myself to work on a specific part of my business during a certain time. I don’t allow myself to work on anything else not matter what! For example,

6-8am: Affengineer Blog
8-12pm: Datafeeds
12-3pm: Teespring + FB

During these hours I can ONLY work on what I’ve allocated to it. This allows me to focus fully on the task at hand. I don’t know about you guys but I have issues in trying to focus on one particular thing lol. I’ll be working on my blog, then suddenly be struck with a teespring idea, quickly open up a tab and start working at it only to get to the end of the day and totally miss out on what I was initially working on, my blog.

Since I’ve implemented this rule, I’ve been able to systematically, get things done and give myself the peace of mind needed to actually enjoy myself during the process. Try it out, it works great!

Lemon Water or No Water

I don’t know what it is with Lemon Water but ever since I’ve been drinking it, I’ve felt so fresh and energetic that I can never have normal water again! Unless I’m really thirsty lol.

Healthy habits are the backbone of my success. From eating fruits and veggies only in the mornings to my lemon water drink bottles, keeping healthy allows you to focus better, work longer and generally be better prepared mentally to pull yourself through the work day.

Finish Important tasks by 10am

This is more of something I aim for and less of a rule. I’ve mentioned this before, somewhere in my much earlier posts but I’m a big morning person. I LOVE getting up early and getting things done when everyone’s asleep. Before I used to be really good at this and be able to put in a solid 4 hours of work before 10am!

Now days, after all these holidays and being jet-lagged and generally losing the habit, I’ve been trying to get back into it again. As I’m writing this, it’s 5am in Australia. For the last 3 days, I’ve been waking up at 3-4am and getting to work. My new plan is to work between 4-10am and get much of the important stuff done. I usually take a nap after 10am. Waking up from this nap and spending some time to look back gives me the biggest feeling of accomplishment. It takes the pressure off working the rest of the day and I don’t get as cranky when I get disturbed since I’ve already done all the important stuff!

I know it’s tough to wake up early but working when everyone is asleep is just too peaceful to pass by. I HIGHLY recommend this technique if you want to make the most of the freedom this industry brings.


If I need to implement any new rules, I often find that they get easier to keep as I start to build a streak of successful implementation. After the third day of sticking with it, it starts to become a habit and after the second week, it’s tuck to me.

If you need to get serious with yourself and making this work, try the above productivity tips. Keep things simple, implement them one week at a time and see what you learn about yourself. Part of working for yourself is being disciplined with your work habits, so it’s best to start early.

~ Mateen


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Written by Mateen