Categories
Amazon Selling Business

[How to] Build an Intent-Based Sales Funnel for Your Products

The more I help businesses online, the more I become aware of how important intent-based marketing is.

Intent-Based Marketing, in simple terms, is placing your products or services in front of the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

Just because *you think* you know your customers, doesn't mean you truly know that what you have is what they want at the particular time you present it to them.

Additionally, you could spend a lot of time and money targeting customers on a platform (like Facebook), only to discover that your audience doesn't make purchasing decisions on Facebook, but rather on Pinterest.

Or, perhaps you're completely missing the mark in terms of who you're targeting for your product because you haven't done the proper demographic research based on intent rather than a stereotype.

For example, most people would assume that people searching and buying baby products would be in households with children.

But in fact, nearly 40% of purchasers of baby products live in households without children… Think – Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents.

When developing a sales funnel for your products or services, keep in mind that the journey always starts with “why”, leads to a “how”, and ends with the “what” – which is your product.

These considerations will help direct you toward building a well-designed sales funnel that “graduates” your prospective customer into a sales conversion.

Step 1: Start by Understanding the Customer Journey

According to Jim Yu, CEO of SEO company BrightEdge, there are three types of searches:

1. Navigational/Branded Search (the user is looking for a specific piece of information or a brand)
2. Informational (the user wants to learn something about the product)
3. Transactional (the user is ready to buy the product or is ready to enter the phase of purchasing)

If you're providing transactional information or hitting customers with a sales page when they are in the navigation or information gathering stages – you may struggle to convert.

Likewise, if you are not providing a “bridge” of content to give potential customers who are in these phases to cross over to reach your product – then you will lose them completely, and they will exit out of the buying process altogether and move on.

A sales funnel then, should have at least one “bridge page” – like a blog, where your entire intent is dedicated to educating, informing, and providing value to your audience without any expectation of it resulting directly in a purchase.

Step 2: Build Confidence and Trust by Asking “Why” instead of Answering “What”

Leadership expert and Best Selling Author Simon Sinek says: “It's not WHAT you do that matters, it's WHY you do it.”

The foundation of this principle lies within the physiological and psychological reasons for why people purchase products to begin with.

Sinek goes on to say: “…People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And what you do simply serves as the tangible proof of what you believe.”

Simon Sinek's Golden Circle
Most Businesses Start with What – But they Should Really Start with WHY.

In this regard, as sellers and marketers, we need to focus on guiding customers through a story about their company's core values, the reasons for why we offer the products we sell:
1. We have to communicate WHY we do what we do.
2. We have to demonstrate the DISCIPLINE of HOW we accomplish it through values and principles.
3. We have to have CONSISTENCY in WHAT we deliver to prove that what we say and do are legitimate.

These three components make the framework for one very important element:

Authenticity.

Step 3: Build your Sales Funnel with a Clear “Story Brand” Message

Marketing expert Donald Miller, author of the best-selling book Building a Storybrand, says that we can accomplish this in 7 ways:

  1. We make the customer the hero of the story – the customer, not your brand, is the primary focus.
  2. We position our brand as the solution to an internal problem – for example, someone may buy a security camera because they just got robbed, but the internal problem, the emotional reasons for why they are going to invest hundreds of dollars on one, is because they want to feel safe and protected.
  3. We serve as a friendly navigator and guide for the customer. As Miller states; “Customers don't want another hero to compete alongside them.”
  4. We develop and present a well-intentioned plan for helping the customer get exactly what it is that they want without confusion.
  5. We challenge customers openly to take action. This means, we must include a very clear and obvious call to action on our sales funnel – whether it is a button at the top that says “BUY NOW” or “SIGN UP HERE” – the intent of what we want the customer to do should leave no questions.
  6. There also must be clear messaging as to what will happen to a customer if they DON'T take action. Miller says: “If there is nothing at stake in a story, there is no story. Likewise, if there's nothing at stake in whether or not I buy your product, I am not going to buy your product.”
  7. We should never assume that people understand how our brand can change their lives. We must tell them.

Summary:

Now that you have discovered the basic components of an intent-based sales funnel, you can begin creating it. Before you begin, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of knowing your target audience and developing a clear blueprint outlined that addresses the three steps highlighted in this post:

1. Understand Your Customer's Journey
2. Build Confidence and Trust by Asking “Why”
3. Build your Sales Funnel with a Clear “Story Brand” Message

Without these three steps, you will not be able to develop a clear message or effectively challenge customers to take action on your offer.

The last thing you want to do is frustrate and confuse your potential prospects! As Donald Miller aptly states: “When you Confuse You Lose!”

Need Help Building Out Your Sales Funnel?

Categories
Amazon Selling Business

[How-To] Write Optimized Feature Bullets for Your Amazon Listing

Begin with the “Why”, End with the “How”


How I personally prefer to write my feature bullets and descriptions is to focus entirely on BENEFITS (the WHY) and then follow up with the FEATURES (the WHAT and the HOW).

I write this way because, from a purely psychological point of view, people are ego-driven and care only about themselves in the context of what they are looking for to meet their immediate need/want/desire.

For example, let’s say you sell a wireless security camera.

Shopper John is on Amazon today because yesterday afternoon someone stole a package off his front porch.

John has some core feelings and needs that have to be met right now:

  • He feels like his privacy and security has been violated
  • He wants to PROTECT himself, his family, and his property from future violations
  • He wants to stop feeling this way NOW.
  • He thinks that having a security camera will ELIMINATE these uncomfortable feelings and HELP his family to stay safe in the future.

So we have a very clear understanding of what John is feeling and wanting right now.  That’s why he’s on Amazon searching for a “wireless security camera.”

As a seller of a wireless security camera, your product is exactly what John needs to solve these problems:

  1. Eliminate the feelings of insecurity and uncertainty
  2. Fulfill the desire to be a protector for his property and family

The above are the BENEFITS of your wireless camera.  The camera allows John to have 24-7 visibility on his front porch so he can see who is coming and going.  

By having this level of visual control, John can leave his house with peace of mind, knowing that everything is recorded.  If something is ever stolen from his front porch again, he will be able to see who it was and send this information to law enforcement for investigation.

Now that we have a good idea about WHY your product is the solution, HOW will that be accomplished?  

This is where the FEATURES are used to accurately describe the functionality of the product.

The features will be the components and functions of the actual wireless security camera that are going to provide the benefits of safety, security, “peace of mind”. These could be features such as:

  • Cloud-Backup Storage 
  • Night-Vision enabled for day and night security
  • Anti-Theft enabled to prevent camera removal or vandalism
  • Wireless control by Smartphone App
  • Weather-Proof Case

Other features may help reverse or reduce risk in the purchase – such as “easy to set up”, “Alexa voice activation compatible,” and  “excellent optics” …

When you’re writing your feature bullets, you can mix up your features and benefits in a way that makes the most sense in terms of how it reads to the customer, so it’s not necessary to adopt a “hard and fast rule” of always with benefits.  Rather, focus on the quality of the content within the bullets and that it reads naturally (in the natural voice).

How to Structure Your Feature Bullet Statements

Knowing the Why behind having a security camera, and knowing our features that could address the reasons for why someone would want a wireless security camera to begin with, let’s write out some optimized bullets.

Again, while I don’t think there is a definite order to go with here, you should always experiment with the ordering of features.  I typically sequence my bullets in this way:

 

  1. Features and Benefits that validate the customer’s emotional reasons for wanting the product to begin with
  2. Features and Benefits that validate functionality and use
  3. Features and Benefits that answer commonly asked questions
  4. Features and Benefits that reduce risk (risk-reversal statements)
  5. Features and Benefits that are “throw away” statements (such as “bonus” items and things that will help your indexing of important keyword phrases but not might be read by the customer because many people won’t get to the 5th bullet and in some categories, only the first 2 to 4 are highlighted, depending on how many characters you use per bullet – such as in Beauty and Personal Care)

Now that you have a general outline of the sequencing, let’s start writing it out for our wireless security camera.

I used a popular brand of wireless security camera sold on Amazon (eufy) as a basis for the content, but I rewrote it in a way that follows my methodology.  Some content has been modified and does not reflect the features actually being sold.

  • SECURE YOUR HOME 24-7: Gain the peace of mind that you deserve with a 100% wireless full 1080p HD resolution surveillance system with IP-65 weatherproof night vision technology and an anti-theft alarm built-in
  • 365 DAY BATTERY LIFE: Designed to run one full year on one battery charge (or 3 years in standby mode).  Data backs up to the pre-installed 32 GB microSD card which is more than enough to store a full year’s worth of video data
  • SUPPORTS UP TO 16 CAMERAS:  You can add up to 16 cameras to the base station (included) to add even more security points to your home for complete coverage
  • EASY INSTALLATION: Easy and frustration-free set-up with 3 different installation methods: 3 easy ways to install: 1) screw onto the outdoor mount, 2) stick onto the magnetic mount, 3) stick on metallic surfaces
  • NO MONTHLY FEES: With our SmartApp,  Use your mobile device to access high-resolution live streaming of what the camera sees in real-time, and warn trespassers they’re on camera

It is worth noting that if you do sell in a category that displays your feature bullets as shown below, you should pay special attention to testing the character length (about 150 characters or less is ideal) of your bullets and ensuring you can get as many bullets displayed (ideally the first four):

Example of Feature Bullets

Key Takeaways

The feature bullets are not just about the features (functions and attributes of your product).  

They should be a balanced blend of features with benefits that paint a mental picture of what your product is and how it will be used.  

A listing can have well-done images, which truly are worth “a thousand words”, however, sometimes this isn’t enough.  

After all, we have a two-dimensional listing attempting to re-create a three-dimensional object that a shopper cannot hold and evaluate in-person, the way the would be able to if they were in an actual store.

When you write a great set of feature bullets, you are helping your customer validate their purchasing decision and eliminating any doubts that when they click “add to cart,” they are getting exactly what they want.  

Additionally, every time a customer purchases from you based on a search that has targeted key search phrases in your bullets, you are signaling to Amazon’s A9 algorithms that your listing is relevant, which helps your organic search page position.

The feature bullets are just one of several components you should focus on when writing your listing, but in my opinion, they are among the top three along with your Title and Images.  

Finally, as a parting piece of advice:  Writing optimized bullets is a valuable skill that takes practice, trial, error, and success.  

As with all skills, you must keep trying and testing.  Don’t give up or get discouraged if your bullets don’t quite “hit a bullseye” the first time. 🙂   

Be sure to keep an active log of your changes always – and be sure to pull your business reports before making bullet changes and after so you can see if your changes had a positive or negative impact on sales conversions.  

This will help you keep a big-picture view of your listing performance over time.

Categories
Amazon Selling Business

[POST] How to Beat the Summer Sales Slump Blues

During my first summer selling on Amazon, I was absolutely beside myself.

What seemed like an overnight “flip of the switch” – my sales TANKED.  

For several months I was averaging 15-20 sales per day on just my one product at the time – sometimes more.

And then, all of a sudden, 3 sales… 1 sale… even 3 days or more with no sales at all.

I PANICKED.

I frantically started changing my titles, images, bullets, description.

I increased my PPC bids on sponsored advertising.

I ran a gazillion Facebook ads.

I did everything I could to increase traffic and exposure to my listings.

And still, nothing.

Then I went to a few Facebook Amazon seller communities at the time and asked around.  Turned out everyone else was experiencing a similar plight.

Fortunately, a seasoned veteran chimed in:

“It’s called the summertime slump.  Hardly anyone shops online during the summer months, unless you’re looking for swimsuits and camping gear!”

Amazon Monthly Traffic Trends

Why the Slump?

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, the weather is at its best, and people are outdoors more often than indoors.  

Sales naturally decline during this time of year simply because people are not focused on shopping.  They are more likely to be on vacation, traveling, or away from technology more often.

Dealing with This Reality

As a new seller experiencing their first summer season, this was reassuring news, but also, quite disheartening.  

If it’s like this EVERY summer selling online, then it really is “feast or famine” selling on Amazon!

This reality was one I wasn’t personally willing to accept, because I wanted this to be a year-round source of business revenue.  

Having big gaps in revenue limits your cash flow, and limits your ability to remain adaptive and flexible. 

Five Ways to Help Beat the Summertime Selling Slump Blues

After experiencing my first summertime slump, I decided that it would be critical to my businesses growth that I develop and implement a plan for continuing momentum during the 3-4 slower months.

Owning a business is not a static activity.  There is always something in your business you can be doing to help build, improve, and scale it. 

Here are five things you can start implementing to help improve your sales and keep your business growth optimal during the slow time of the selling season:

1. Evaluate your current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your brand (conduct a SWOT analysis).  

Use this time to reflect and evaluate your current position in the marketplace.

Developing a cohesive strategy for improving your brand’s visibility and competitiveness in the marketplace can help identify gaps in your business that may be hurting your sales overall and also help pinpoint opportunities for growth within your market.  

Shopify has a great tutorial and downloadable SWOT Template here.  You can also watch this video to see an example of a SWOT analysis, using the popular US-based coffee brand Starbucks as an example:

2. Run the numbers on all of your products.  Are there products that are not selling fast enough and are sitting at FBA warehouses collecting costly storage fees?  

Check your inventory performance index scores for all active products.  Are you in the “Green” for all these? Remember that Amazon can and does penalize sellers when their seller performance metrics do not meet certain standards, such as having high order defect rates, inventory stock levels, and excessive inventory.Amazon Inventory Performance Index

Additionally, check your sell-through rates.  Identify products where you’re receiving low traffic consistently (accounting for seasonality) and evaluate why that is the case.  Is it because you’re not doing any promotions/advertising? Or is it a low-demand product?

3. Summertime is the time to be placing your orders for Quarter 4.  If you plan on selling your products during quarter 4 (and you should because that’s when everyone is on Amazon making purchases!) then you should be spending part of your time this summer placing orders with your suppliers and arranging for production of inventory, so that it can arrive at the Amazon fulfillment centers in plenty of time before the holiday season approaches. 

Use Amazon’s holiday and events planning calendar to get an idea as to when to plan for “sales surges” during the year. 

A good rule of thumb is to have your inventory for Quarter 4 in no later than October 1st to ensure you are in stock for the full duration of the peak selling season.

4. Use this time to research products that you can sell year-round, or are summer-specific.

If you’re struggling to sell your products this time of year, now is a good time to research more products to add to your mix, and make up for lost revenue.  

When researching products, focus on overall profitability first (I personally look for products that will give me a 3x-5x net profit, accounting for all landed costs, fees, advertising costs, and other operational expenses tied into getting a product to Amazon FBA and live in the marketplace).

Look for products that would be bought year-round – not just during the holiday season.  For example, personal care, grocery items, and pet supplies would all be things people buy no matter the time of year.

And, if you have a brand that is not niche-specific and will accommodate a variety of products from different categories, then consider sourcing products that are in niches that are popular during the summer months such as sports, outdoors, automotive, and travel.

5. Now is a good time to learn new business skills, improve your marketing knowledge, and build exposure for your brand and products

As mentioned before, business is dynamic and if you are not an active participant, eventually, your business will stagnate, plateau, and then die.  

During these slow times, you can help your business grow by actively seeking new information on how to improve your sales, creating new content for your brand’s website blog, developing new product videos, and increasing your marketing channels.  

And, now is also the perfect time to build your own circle of influence by establishing strategic alliances with other sellers, joining a private mastermind, reading books on marketing, and building customer relationships.

Whether you implement one or all five of these strategies, remember that ultimately, you are in control of the growth of your business. 

If you rely completely upon one marketplace like Amazon to determine the outcome of your success, you are leaving a lot of potential profit and growth on the table. 

Stay agile, and remain tenaciously dedicated to your business, 365 days per year.

Categories
Business Productivity

How to Create Power Filters In Gmail

How to Create Power Filters in Gmail and Get Stuff Done

In this post, you will learn how to create power filters in Gmail and other email management tricks to help keep your inbox at near zero levels on a daily basis. Learn how to sort and filter your email into meaningful categories and become more efficient in how you receive your information.

This is a Problem?!?

The other day I posted on Facebook that I had spent about an hour cleaning my mom's Gmail inbox – purging over 25,000 emails, creating over 15 filters, and 25 (or so) unsubscribes from junk email lists.

I just simply made the (*cough* brag) post because I felt like I was being a good daughter. 🙂

But something happened shortly after in response to the post that kind of shocked me.

Friends started commenting and showing me their inbox counts (I should give a price for the one with over 140k!:

Facebook post about Gmail filters

 

I didn't realize that this is such a big issue/problem/(hoarding habit?) among so many people!

And then it got me to thinking about how much useless information we receive on a daily basis – because it seems as though your email address is used as the “key” to any sort of app/service/list these days.

A lot of this email really doesn't fall into “spam” territory either, because most of the time we do “opt-in” – even if we don't realize it – marketers are sneaky that way!

The Solution to a Cluttered Email Inbox: Filters

I am a marketer myself, so I actually subscribe to a lot of lists just so I can reverse engineer sales copy to see what is working.  I have a filter that dumps all marketing related emails into its own “holding pen” for perusal when I feel like it.  That filter automatically marks the emails as “read” and moves them to a custom inbox.

Any messages I get pertaining to orders from websites I purchase a lot from (hello, Amazon!), I have a filter called “Receipts” that automatically marks the email as “read” and dumps all “order confirmation” emails into another custom inbox.

Oh, and have a filter for the friends and family as well – those all automatically get “flagged” as important, so I always see those first, because – family is THE most important priority!

Video Tutorial: How to Set Up Power Filters in Gmail

Here is a video tutorial on how to create this kind of Power filters in Gmail and clean up your inbox once and for all!

Note: If you're having problems viewing the video, please be sure maximize to full screen and to click the “gear” (Settings) in the lower right-hand corner and change the resolution to 1080p!

The video is broken up into two parts:  The first part is about how to create filters and mass-delete lots of email at once within Gmail.

In the final 10 minutes of the video, I hop over to my Email client on my Mac (I am using High Sierra OSX as of this post), and I show you how to create similar folders and filters for multiple accounts managed by your Mac's email app.

If you have any questions, please be sure to comment below so I can clarify anything you're caught up on.

Resources mentioned in the video:

Gmail: mail.google.com

Edison Email: mail.edison.tech

What's this about funnel hacking?: http://thisiskindra.com/freesalesfunnels

 

Categories
Business

The Facebook News Feed Change

The Facebook News Feed Change: How it will Impact your Marketing Strategy in 2018

In Early January of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be making significant changes to its news feed algorithms.

The news feed change focuses on pushing more content by friends and family to the top, while giving less priority to posts by brands and publishers.

What This Change Means for Marketers

For marketers, the news from Facebook is a bit unsettling (only on the surface though – read on for more on that!).

Facebook is very transparent as to what will happen as a result of these changes, as stated in their company blog post dated January 11th:

“…We’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

But as of the date of this blog post, I have noticed some interesting patterns since the algorithm change.

More Friends and Family

Yes, this is holding true. I am seeing more posts from friends and family.  In fact, there were so many posts initially from friends I thought had long unfollowed me – it turns out, I think they were just buried by all the pages that tended to push their way to the top of my feed!

Posts from “Liked” Pages are Nearly Non-Existent

Again, I am not seeing very many *organic* posts from pages I like.  For example, I used to get a lot of posts and videos in my news feed from groups and pages I frequent on a daily basis.  Now, these are pretty much buried and I don't even see them.

HUGE Increase in Sponsored Advertising

Now, here's the interesting thing.  I am seeing a substantial increase in sponsored ads from advertisers.  Not necessarily from the pages I like or follow – but from influencers/brands/services that are either directly or indirectly related to my personal or professional interests.

I am also seeing a lot of advertising show up based on my browsing history OUTSIDE of Facebook.   In other words, I am being “pixeled” and re-marketed to once I get back into “social” mode.

Increase in Sponsored Posts

Another interesting observation is that my news feed is being filled with posts that are actually sponsored (paid for) – simply to get engagement.  I have noticed that most of these sponsored posts are coming from influencers or brands that I already like.

I can speculate that these influencers know that engagement is the lifeblood of their business model, so paying money simply to be seen is the first step to get people into their sales funnel.  This makes sense to me, so I'll run with it until proven wrong!

Key Takeaways

Clearly, Facebook is wanting more social engagement in ALL forms – not just between friends and family, but also between you, companies, services, products, and influencers.

Engagement can mean many things in the context of what Facebook is aiming to achieve here.  I think it can be segmented into three distinct categories:

Friends & Family

Originally, Facebook was a place where we could connect and share life experiences with our friends, family, and co-workers.  It was never a platform for selling and buying things.

Despite all of the advertising, I still think that Facebook is more about connecting with people rather than places or things. Engagement between friends and family will continue to be an important focus for improvement and it will help maintain Facebook's position as the leading social platform.

Business to Consumer

But there's also the business to consumer engagement angle that Facebook obviously wants to fine-tune and legitimize.

Rather than focus on spammy advertising,  Facebook wants high-quality content that is engaging consumers in a conversation about topical information *related to* but not necessarily directly connected to their products and services.

Consumer to Business (Influence Marketing)

An interesting dynamic in the world of Social media is the ability for the consumer to influence buying behavior.

People are, let's just put it bluntly: Sheep.  And because they are sheep, they have this innate ability to mold and shape the direction of an entire flock – or in this case, buying behavior, toward different trends.

As marketers, we need to be keenly aware that consumers are the ones in the driver's seat – they ultimately will dictate the direction we need to take in terms of showing them the products they want to buy and giving them very clear and concise ways to purchase those products.

Wrap Up

Facebook's news feed algorithm changes are indeed radical, but they are not earth-shattering for marketers.  In fact, it is my opinion that these changes will only help marketers moving forward.

Some notable strategies to take advantage of that you should consider deploying in your future Facebook campaigns moving forward:

  1.  Test sponsored posts on your pages
  2. Split Test a mix of Content-based Advertising vs. Video
  3. Strengthen the bond between your audience by developing content versus direct selling advertising
  4. Consider developing a “Customer Avatar” that mirrors your typical customer, and write posts from that avatar's perspective.
  5. Use Facebook as an Engagement and Listening Tool – Keep your Eyes open and Ears in Tune with what Customers are talking about, complaining about, raving about.  Use this as inspiration for your marketing copy.
Categories
Productivity

The Power of Focus

Learn how to use focus stacking techniques in your daily routine to take back your work day and get more stuff done.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? A sense of being out of control of your situation or circumstances?

If you do, don’t be discouraged!  We all feel this way from time to time and it is all too common for entrepreneurs.

A common phrase I hear a lot amongst my coaching clients is: “I have so many irons in the fire” or “I have a million plates spinning at once!”

In other words, these people have taken on a lot of different tasks/projects/responsibilities all at once.  

What ends up happening is quite the opposite of the intent:  In an attempt to get many things done, nothing gets done – because they have become too burnt out by taking on too much!

Even as someone who is excellent at dispensing advice on how to tackle this common misstep in entrepreneurship – I too find myself struggling with the feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and becoming burnt out to the point of depression.

However, I have developed some techniques for giving myself a quick reset which I would like to share in a sincere hope that it will help others that may need it from time to time.

Step 1:  Become aware of the warning signs of overwhelm.

The first step to eliminating a problem is always coming to terms with the reality of your situation.  Some classic signs of overwhelm and over-stress:

  1. Feelings of anxiety
  2. Lack of interest in things that typically excite or motivate you
  3. Change in mood/behavior
  4. Change in sleep patterns (sleeping more or sleeping less)
  5. Racing thoughts, loss of focus

Step 2:  Be forgiving toward yourself and others.

The second step is understanding that your feelings are just feelings.  As Tony Robbins would say, they are manifestations of “The Mind.”  No one is out to get you.  No one is standing in your way.  

Make it a priority to separate your feelings from the external world around you, and be forgiving of yourself for feeling the way you feel, and likewise, be forgiving of how others perceive the external manifestations of your feelings in your behaviors.

Step 3:  Take Control of Overwhelm by Focus Stacking

Focus stacking isn’t something I came up with.  In fact, it has been a technique that has been used by many highly productive people and “wrapped” under different terms over the years.  

One popular tool that is in essence, a way of focus stacking, is a “Kanban” board.  It looks like this:

 To-Do Work in Progress Done
 

To Do Item 1

 To Do Item 2

 To Do Item 3

Take Action Item 1

Take Action Item 2

Take Action Item 3

Completed Item 1

Completed Item 2

Completed Item 3

This is what one of my Focus Stacking boards looks like in my office:

focus stacking whiteboard
My “K-Kan” focus stacking whiteboard.

As you can see, it’s a simple whiteboard that I have divided into sections.  Each section has items in it depending on their current status.  

I prefer physical boards like this over virtual ones, but there are several online tools that I use in conjunction when I am not in my office and need to keep track of things that work quite well.  

Online Tools to Help You with Focus Stacking

You may want to consider signing up to one of these, depending on your specific needs and preferences – the free versions of each should be more than adequate for an individual, however, if you are operating a business with a team greater than the sum of yourself, the monthly/yearly plans are quite reasonable and worth the investment:

  1. Trello
  2. Freedcamp
  3. Asana

The key to successful focus stacking is to not stack any more than 3 items at any point in time.  By visually “stacking” your tasks and projects, you can easily conquer each one methodically and this reduces the feelings of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm associated with multitasking.  

Set Aside Blocks of Time for Each Task

Another key is to set aside blocks of time for each task.  

I try to never spend any more than 30 minutes at a time on one task.    If I cannot complete a task in 25 minutes, I move on to the next task and work on it for 25 minutes.  Then, I rotate the tasks until I have completed each one.

I use a time tracking app on my phone called Focus Keeper (via Apple App Store) to block my time and keep me accountable.  I take short breaks (about 10 minutes) after every 25-minute block and reward myself with a 25-minute break after four 25 minute cycles. 

If you're looking for something that will really hold you accountable  – there is a desktop application like RescueTime that not only tracks the amount of time you spend on websites and applications but will also block them for set periods of time so that you can focus only on what needs getting done without having the temptation or distraction of looking at those funny cat videos 

Conclusion

To summarize, how you deal with your feelings and emotions associated with dealing with too much at once is in your capacity to separate what you can control over what you cannot.   

You cannot control what others do, for example.  But you can control the amount of work you take on, and the output of effort required for each task.   

Mastering this important skill set will help you move methodically forward toward accomplishing everything you want to accomplish in business, at home, and at work.