Maybe I don't have a good bookkeeping system or maybe affiliate marketing has too many ups and downs to calculate an average or maybe I am just a straight idiot for trying to to this without an accountant, but I need an @money category of lists.

Both Getting Things Done and Zen to Done use lists. They have an @home list, an @errand list and an @ work list. Breaking up your do to lists into categories like this will will help you cut out the B.S. of indecision and give you a list of things that you can do wherever you currently are. You can't do anything from your @home list when you are @work, so you might as well file that list for a while. You can even make these lists more detailed with an @phone or @email list if you have to handle a lot of phone calls or your inbox gets filled every day.

But what about money. David Allen doesn't mention it. Leo Babauta doesn't mention it. Allen does mention a "waiting on" item in a list. So, for a while, I created a whole bunch on new project lists that were all waiting on money. But that just made things more complex. I didn't need all of these projects in with all my active projects. So I created an @money list.

On this list, I put all projects that are waiting on a financial boost to get going. I started this whole thing on a shoestring. When I made my first $3000 in a month that was after spending a grand total of $25 for hosting that month. I thought it was great to get this type of return. And for a while, that's how I rolled. I did everything I could myself and kept a tight hold on the checkbook.

Then time started running out. No matter how much time I tried to squeeze out of a day, there wasn't enough to break the earning plateau I was at. I was spending too much time on time intensive and monotonous tasks. These tasks are better handled by software or by hiring other people. I also started seeing PPC as a way to free up some of the time spent on SEO. And as I put more money into the business, I started seeing more come out of the end.

It is much better to make a decision of what to do next, throw some money at it, and see it through to the end then decide what to do next, spend the next six months getting it done, and wish it would finally end. I am not to this point with everything yet and maybe this post is just a way to stick it in my mind, but from what I have experimented with, it is better to reinvest as much money as you can back into your business.

If you start with nothing, you need an @money list. This list needs to sit above all other lists when you cash your affiliate checks. On it, you put everything you want to spend money on that will actually help your business. Unless you are waiting on your check to make a house payment, reinvest a big chunk of it. The way I see it is that if my family lived on $6000 last month and I made $8000 this month, the excess is going back in. But without a list that I consistently look at and tweak, I may just blow the money on something worthless. So list sits there as a gatekeeper to my cash.

And as far as GTD or ZTD not covering this goes, I don't worry. Everyone is different. If you don't tweak a system you are using and make it your own, you will become it's bitch. Know right away when you have to do something differently and you won't have to go through weeks of berating yourself because for some reason the system doesn't work for you. Usually by that time, I give up on the system and go on alone. But if you put the system in it's place as soon as you can, it will work the way it was meant to work for you.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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