How Many Hours Do YOU Spend with your Online Business?

Online Time ManagementLately I’ve been streamlining how I use my time.

The goal is simple.  I want to get more accomplished without working longer hours.

To get started, I had to first determine how many hours I work in a given week.

I determined that my average is about 38 hours of work during a typical week.  But this depends on what I have going on in my life.  For instance, I’ve worked little in the last few months because I’m constantly traveling.  And before that, I cranked out 50 to 60 hour weeks to complete my affiliate marketing product.

Overall though, I usually put in a standard work week like most Americans.  (Just without the hellish commute.)

What I’m wondering is what’s a *normal* amount of time for an online entrepreneur?

Or to put it more plainly: How many hours do YOU spend on your Internet business?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Answering one (or all) of these questions:

1)      How much time do you dedicate to an online business?

2)      How do you keep track of this time?

3)      What’s helped manage your time?

So comment below and let me know your thoughts…

Time Management Resources for Online Entrepreneurs

In addition to hearing your thoughts, I’d like to pass along a few valuable resources on time management.

The first are outside resources I’ve personally used:

1)       Getting Things Done by David Allen

2)      No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy

3)      The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo [Free PDF]

4)      Zen Habits by Leo Babauta

5)      Time Management Series by Daniel Wood (A reader of this site.)

Next, I’d like to point out a couple of posts I’ve written.  These provide specific detail on how I budget my time and get things done every week:

That’s it for today.  I’ve given you a lot to read over the weekend.  So check out these resources and please answer those three questions.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Take Action. Get Results.

50 thoughts on “How Many Hours Do YOU Spend with your Online Business?”

  1. I spend much more than that, but I am far less productive. That is my biggest fault, time organizing. I always multitask so I never get anything done. I am actually lately trying to be more productive and organize my time better and it is moving towards that direction, just very very slowly.

    The resources you listed are going to help me get there 🙂

    • A normal 40 hour workweek for all the stuff that is required with an online business could be a “lowball” number. Before all my “vacation” stuff over the summer more toward 60 hour (and above) was normal.

      But organization is a must. It certinaly takes time to get in the habit and the swing of it…but it is well worth it when it all comes together.

      That being said…I too am constantly trying to build a better mousetrap in this venue. Or at least…build a better time-trap.

  2. Hey Steve,
    When I started my blog in January I was working 16 hour days online. Now I spend about 5 hours a day during the week and during the weekend I may spend a total of 12 hours between 2 days.

    I have found that if I spend too much time online I get ungrounded and feel kind of woozy so I need to get up and do something physical for a while.

    • Justin,

      That actually sounds fairly typical of a successful push. At least similar to my experience. I have busted hump at first and then able to slack off… (at least somewhat).

      But even there I have noticed some serious slowing of growth recently with all my time off (I have unfortunately averaged less than 5 hours a day the past couple of months)
      I agree with you about the physical too. When I DO spend long days I always break it in the middle with a run. And much of the time I do part of the work from Starbucks…where at least I am OUT

  3. Hey Steve,
    I spend 7 hours a week on online activities related to the two blogs I maintain. My goals are 10-15% increased readership each month. Neither blog is designed for revenue generating purposes but I might publish some e-books in the future. I will tell you an interesting story about the effects of managing your time better. I begun to feel guilty (I’m not the hardest working guy on the planet) because of available spare time until I realized that I actually was accomplishing much more thanks to some major revisions in my work habits. Hope you accomplish the same.

    • Riley,

      First of all, that is a very impressive work/results ratio!

      Second I agree with you about the fact that managing time is a critical piece of the pie.

      I have been working on streamlining all my processes for well over a year now, and I will likely continue to do so for some time to come.

      I am all about working smarter; not harder

    • I know what you mean about how it is sometimes easy to feel guilty if we’re not putting in long hours. I think there’s a large cultural myth in America that more hours = better. It’s simply not true.

      I actually wrote a post about working hard vs. working intelligently recently, which gets at this very issue. What matters in the end, if you’re self-employed (and actually, it matters a lot for many full-time employees too) is how much you get done, and the quality of your work.

      If you can get more done with less hours, then this is the way to go. Working efficiently is a positive feedback cycle…you stay well-rested, happy, and your life is in balance, you go out and meet people, so you are well-networked, and you have other interests so you have ample sources of creativity and inspiration in life. Then when you sit down to work, you can create quality work much more quickly and effectively than you would if you were just cranking away all day and night long 7 days a week.

      • Alex,

        Thanks for dropping by and commenting! You are certainly right. It is all about working smarter not harder. Of course with an interent business, particularly for those with a “real” job, there is a still a lot of work to be done, but efficiency can really matter.

  4. I usually spend about 30 minutes in the evening writing an article for drip publish the next morning.

    Then I approve a few article in the article directories and that’s about it.

    I am looking to maximize conversions first and foremost.

    Additionally, I am seriously considering outsourcing content creation.


    • Mark,

      Not bad at all. Time-wise that seems really efficient. Outsourcing is a great tool too. I have outsourced quite a few things over the years. While things like -content- on a personal blog like this are hard to outsource (if not impossible), at some point I am open for outsourcing just about everything else.

      Good outsourcing really can be killer combined with effiency and good “set-up”

  5. There are several aspects to my online business/es. I spend about 2 hours a day on TrafficGenerationCafe. I have been a bit slack with writing new posts, but I am trying to devote more time to doing that. Then there’s answering comments, visiting my friends’ blogs to see what they’re up to (as I am doing now) and answering emails… The work doesn’t stop!

    Keeping organized is key.

    • Ana,

      Yeah there is always things to do. I consider all of that time “blog related” hence the 40-60 hours a week. From twitter updates to commenting to research (some I DO NOT count listening to podcasts while exercising and reading related books) to working on ebooks to creating plans.

      It all adds up quickly for sure!

  6. I would say I put about 80 – 100 hours a week but it’s not all really ‘work’ because some if it’s just jumping around, reading blogs and doing some random research. I spend a good chunk of my day working on my projects but I have fun with them; they’re like a hobby so it never really feels like true ‘work’.

    However, if I have a busy load than it’s probably a full 40 hour work week.

    • Murray,

      for sure there is a metric ton of little things to do after the posts get done. I think it all really is pretty blog related, because in the end it is all about staying current and making the blog better..right?

      Of course having projects you enjoy and have fun working at is what it is all about. At least that is the thing we can all hope to achieve. It makes those long hours and hard work that much easier.

      • Definitely.

        I’ve been working heavily in batches now; I try to finish a months worth of content in a day or two for each of the sites I’m running that way I can focus my full attention to other projects.

        What I’ve found with batches is that I tend to get a lot done because I’m staying in a single mindset during that time of content creation rather than jumping between different topics between each blog and website – it’s helped tremendously.

        However, that DOES mean that some days, I’m putting in MAJOR hours but it’s amazing to feel complete when you’ve got everything done in the first week of the month and know that ‘even if you didn’t do anything else, you’ve still got it done’.

  7. I almost spend 45 hours in a week for raising the ranking of my website on Google. Bu the results are not directly proportional to the inputs given. Really want to know some other tacts which utilizes less hours and give good results.

    • Thanks Robert,

      Stay tuned and you will. I have been working a long time on streamlining the online process (I won’t say I have it perfect…yet) and I thinking I am going to be talking about it everyso often over the next few months.

      No matter what to be successful takes time and effort, but it is a good thing to get the most out of that time and effort after all.

  8. Not really an online business just yet, but I do spend quite a bit of time trying to build soemthing up. Well, for my it is quite a bit of time, obviously my projects are not even part-time work. I’m still in the stage where I do it for pure enjoyment and don’t make much money, but I like to think that I spend about 10hours a week. I always try to do a bit more, but I get sidetracked with my offline life far too much.

    Simon Duck

    • Simon,

      We all have to start somewhere. Starting from a place where you ENJOY what you are doing is great place. Obviously to get to the point where you make ‘real” money it takes a ton of more effort, but nothing wrong with doing things for enjoyment, to learn a new task, and maybe make a little extra money while doing it.

      Good luck to you!


  9. Steve, aloha. Interesting to see the responses to this question. As it happens, I recently posted “How many hours a day to do you spend on social media?” Needless to say, the answers were as varied as the people.

    Only one person said “not enough.” Quite a large percentage were on 16+/- hours a day with the average being around 2-3 hours. Now mind you, some of these people have online businesses while others were using it for social media.

    Your point on organizing time is well taken because that is something that many, many cited–they “waste” too much time hopping from place to place, studying analytics and doing non-productive/income producing activities.

    Generally speaking, I spent around 40 hours a week online. Right now I am spending much more time online because I am readying a new project to launch. As you know, it takes massive amounts of time to collect the info and putting it together in a manner that is both organized and compelling.

    Look forward to seeing the responses to this question. Until later, aloha. Janet

    • Janet,

      It certainly does take a massive amount of time to research (and put together) a good project.

      The social media aspect is actually an interesting one. I think some people answered this question without thinking of things like commenting/social media as being part of their “work”.

      Perhaps they for many they aren’t. After all for people who love social media it may not really be work. But there is no reason why something you love wouldn’t count as “work” time.

      For me though… that is one of the hardest aspects. I recognize the importance of a REAL social media connection, but at the same time that is something that can become an enormous time-sink.

      Definitely an interesting part of the equation.

  10. Hi Steve,

    I spend between 25-30 effective hours a week working on my online business. I say “effective” because those are intensive hours. But I also keep track of the total time I spend reading other blogs, ebooks, books, commenting, social media, etc. Things that don’t have a direct impact on my business but are related to it. In total I spend 40-50 hours a week working.

    I measure my time using a template I downloaded from your blog. I tweaked and adjusted it to my own system and it works very good. It helps me a lot to control my time.

    I could easily spend more time on my computer every week because there are always lots of things to do. But one of my rules is to disconnect at a certain time at night and also on sundays. I’ve noticed that long hour days don’t equal more productivity. I prefer to work less hours but intensive and take a proper rest (or at least do other stuff around the house, with family, friends, etc).

    • Awesome! I love to hear that you are using the template!! (as, of course, am I)

      You make a great point about working effectively too. I think that is really important. Time can really get away from you if you do not control it tightly. And 10 hours of work for person A can therefore be as effective as 30 hours for another who is all over the place.

  11. Steve

    I have two online businesses – I have my bass guitar site and One Spoon. At the moment my bass guitar site is the main one – it pays the bills after all! – and I try and work on that whilst the kids are at school. And then I work on One Spoon in the evenings when they’ve gone to bed.

    (One Spoon work often includes reading blogs, forums, etc – whilst the bass site is almost exclusively content creation – very different sites).

    That’s gonna change soon though – about to start work on a Video project – not entirely sure how I’m gonna meet my bass commitments whilst doing that, but somehow I’ll manage!

    One word about Pomodoro. I’ve read lots about it – and lots of people talk about it. IN principle it sounds a worthwhile technique – however there’s an instance where you SHOULDN’T use it. And that’s if you write in ‘flow state.’ Pomodoro just breaks the flow state and actually becomes disruptive.


    • Paul,

      As you likely know i am in the same boat as you. (this is my 2nd site with most of my income coming from the other) I actually manage my time similarly, but I think spend a lot less on my main…since i am sort of trying to work my way out of that.

      Now I am preparing to open up a third (completely unrelated to this or the other) so time will be even more crucial.

      Like you…somehow I’ll manage.

      As for Pomorado, I see your point abut flow. Ultimately I would say that any technique should be modified where necessary for the people involved.

      That being said I still say it could work with a “flow” writer. One thing I do is set the “time” periods longer than the 25 minutes initially recommended. Even if someone were to set it for a longer 50 minutes, that would be time enough to get a flow in and get a needed break and then go on to other things.

      Perhaps not. But should be worthwhile to attempt. Personally I find it helps A LOT.

      • What works for me may not work for you and vice versa – if Pomodoro works for you, then stick with it. As I said, I’ve heard lots of people talking positively about it.

        Never tried it WITH WRITING as 25 minutes is when I’m getting warmed up and really starting to hit the straps! But I use variations of it with other things. (Eugene Schwartz the copywriter got me onto it in the first place….he used to set a timer for 33 minutes and 33 seconds and work in chunks of that length).

        Good luck with the new site!


        • Paul,

          I use the Pomodoro technique adjusted to 33min 33secs (I read it somewhere, not sure where). It works for me.
          However, when I am “flowing” and the alarm goes off, I immediately start a new 33 minute block with no pause in the middle. The alarm helps me to be aware that time is passing and even if I’m flowing I can’t spent too long writing for a single post (or whatever I am writing for).

    • Very true. That is part of the reason I obsess over time management. I want to get a lot done…and still have time for my travels and enjoying life.

      Thanks for a important piece of the puzzle

  12. I don’t track how much time I spend on my online projects. I just do it when I have free time. I need to do a better job of spending my time wisely. At times I’ll get sidetrack or respond to a couple emails and go to something else while leaving other emails unanswered.

    I’ve got to try what others have suggested and work in blocks of time.

    • Benny,

      I do think time management is the key… and could really help you. The “time blocks” thing is the pomodoro technique. Link #3 gives some good info on that.

      The “standard” block of time is 25 mins. But nothing says you couldn’t make that longer. (shorter too I guess…but I can see reasons why too much shorter would be bad)


  13. Great question Scott and not one that I have given much thought to. I will say that I am at my pc for more than 38 hours per week on work related matters. All too often though people can kid themselves that they are working when they are not.

    • Tom absolutely. People really can kid themselves they are working when they are not. Specifically with something like social media.

      That is why I actually do a lot of work offline and strictly limit online time to time blocks. When you only have 30 minutes time to do all your social media (or whatever) it really focuses you and makes the stuff you do really mean something.

  14. Great round up post Steve 🙂

    I want to take with your business. A business owner should seek to work on their business and not with. The more time you spend working in or with your business, the less time you spend on strategy and creating products (which ultimately are your business). A blog is a means to an end and sadly not a business in itself.

    This week I’ve been travelling so have probably not spent as much time on my business as such, however, during the travel time I’ve listened to a bunch of relevant podcasts and interviews and have a boat load of ideas to work on this next week.

    Great mention of resources that you have. I’m a big fan of David Allen, in fact I’m planning on writing a supercharge GTD post implementing Pomodoro technique as well.

    My business is a mixture of online activities and offline. In my offline work I spend about 40 hours working with clients and online activities about another 20. Of this 20 hours about 20% of my time is focused on my business and 80% with.

    I’m probably going to cut my posts down to 1-2 a week or maybe set no regular schedule in order to increase the work on the business further.

    Nice post.

    • Matthew,

      Awesome man! You make a great point about working “on” your business as opposed to “with” your business.

      With may come first…since that is maintenance and upkeep. But “on” must happen or it will grow stagnant and die.

      frankly I have been “ok” with “with” over the past couple of months of travel/vacation. But “on” has been lacking… a lot. SO I really get your point.

      Thanks for dropping by and adding another great point!


  15. Hi Steve

    I used to spend any free time working on my blog for SEO purposes and building the content. After learning many tips from blogs such as yours and cutting down time spent searching for good blogs to comment on with the commentLuv community I can now trim back time spent and have better SEO results.

  16. Steve,

    I get 3 hours of work done on a daily basis. However, this means that I have to wake up at 5.15 AM, have a well-defined schedule and other things planned already (what I want to do in each session) before I start working.

    My first two sessions are in the morning (starting from 05.30 AM): during this time I create content for my blog and work on my other projects.

    In the evening, I have one hour to devote to promotion and building relationships with other people.

    During the weekends I create guest posts and YouTube videos. Sundays are for rest and planning for the next week.

    Having an schedule, doing preparation before the actual working, working with a timer and early wake-ups are a must if I want to get stuff done.

    Currently when having a day job, family (baby coming soon :), being a marathon runner/triathlete and … oh, building my online business on the side, I have to maximize available my time.

    Especially I’m looking forward to see the time when our baby is born – priorities are going to change, so I’ll get back to you how I manage all this then 🙂

    Anyway, I have written about this topic (time management in online business) on my blog (hint, hint … see the ComLuv backlink 😉


    • 3 hours a day. Not bad at all. It seems you get quite a bit done too. Like you said… It is all about scheduling and prep. Working smarter not harder and all that.

      LOL, I noticed the commentluv before I even got this far. Already opened a window and headed there right now, since you are my last comment for this cycle of “replying”


  17. I am really an addict when it comes to online business and online marketing.

    I actually work 50 – 60 hours per week to my online business and other stuff that are related to online marketing.

    I track my time by starting 8:00 am until 12 midnight including my rest and other stuff like eating or having and exercise.

    I try to do 12 hours a day for my work or more so that I can have my weekend on my family and other activities.

    I know having an online business is really stressful but it really paid off.

    • Sounds like you are really out there busting your butt. I can’t say I am even putting those kind of hours (regularly) in now. But I have in the past, it takes a lot of concerted effort to get things going. good to hear you are out there putting in the effort!

  18. Hey Steve,

    I just started my blog a few months ago and I also work a full time job.

    I do about 4 hours per night during the week and at least 16 hours total on the weekends. So looks like a minimum of 36 hours per week in addition to the 40 I do at the job.

    Many people would say that I have no life but that’s what every successful entrepreneur I know has gone through to make it.

    • Rob,

      I feel ya! That is a ton of work. But it is the effort that is really needed to get a new blog off the ground. It is good to see you have the will and the drive to push like that. Keep at it bro!


  19. I have a day job that I”m trying to get out of. That leaves nights which are also packed with taking care of the kids and spending time with my wife.

    I try to do an hour or two a night plus three or four hours on the weekend.

    The challenge for me is trying to organize which days I do what so that all of my initiatives continue to move forward.

  20. Oh boy. I REALLY need to start organizing better. I do a lot of “multi-tasking” (I need a better word for it, because just playing around in a dozen different windows is NOT accomplishing anything) and never feel like I’ve really done anything substantial with my time. I am online off and on (OK, more on than off) all day and it leads to a major lack of productivity. I need to set aside a set number of hours or chunk of time and actually get work done.

  21. i have 2 jobs right now, and i stay online most of the time, i work 6 days a week 🙁 sometimes i even stay up late at night. eehhh!!! i need more time for myself.

  22. For me I work 50 hours a week on my online business. That is the minimum I would go but during the week I aim for 8 hours a day but anytime I fall short I will pick it up in the weekend. This includes blogging and research. I actually use a time sheet method to keep track of useful work time. The most important part is discipline because when people here you are working from home they want to stick you with other remedial chores.

  23. hey,
    i spend much more time online it is about 8-10 hours a day, but i am new to the online business and marketing, i want to make money online with my efforts, please suggest me, i can manage my time very well.

  24. Gee I don’t even have an aproximate idea of how many hours do I spend being productive but I know it’s a lot.

    Right now I’m researching your site on time management topics since I plan (no pun intended) to get a lot more organized and do better use of my time.

    Thanks for the resources man, I’ll check them out!


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