Mary Kay used to say, “The curtains may need to be washed, but not today!” I regularly remember that as I look around my house during the day and see dishes, laundry, sweeping that needs to be done.
What REALLY needs to be done? My business. That’s my focus if I am to build a successful home-based business.
I love the Wikipedia definition of time management: Time management is the act or process of exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase efficiency or productivity.
Increase efficiency or productivity. That’s what time management is all about! It’s not about “busy” work or being frenzied. It is to help us reach our goals!
Here are a few tips that work for me:
1. Choose the ONE THING that will make you feel as if you’ve accomplished something if nothing else gets done. This has been the single most effective tip so that I feel good about myself at the end of the day.
2. Make a list. Do this the night before or first thing in the morning. Include everything that comes to mind. This empties your brain so it can focus on other things.
3. Prioritize. Sounds simple, however, some days everything seems a priority! Use A, B, C or 1, 2, 3. Use Urgent, Important, Can Wait, Tomorrow. Use red, yellow, green tabs.
4. Set a time limit How much time will each task take? Having a home-based business usually means doing everything yourself. Time limits prevent frittering away the hours (how easy it is to do) responding to emails, social networking or doing “busy” work.
5. Follow a schedule. Give time to both your craft and marketing your craft. One without the other doesn’t work and scheduling both helps keep this in balance.One idea is to schedule time each day for both. I’m a scanner and this works for me.
Another way is to schedule days of the week for each task. Monday – phone calls, Tuesday – marketing, Wednesday & Thursday – craft, Friday – Miscellaneous
6. Capitalize on your peak energy time. When do you have the most energy? In the morning? Does your energy dip in the afternoon? Use this time wisely. For me, creating my bouquets takes the most energy so I do that task at my peak. Sitting at the computer takes less energy so I can schedule that during my low points.
7. Manage distractions. Set boundaries on interruptions and don’t feel guilty. Some days I ignore all phone calls after 10:00am and let them go to voice mail. A “quick” personal call can be 20 minutes lost! Even business calls need to be scheduled during a time that is convenient for you.
8. SIT DOWN. At your desk, your computer, your craft table, your sewing machine. Whatever it is you do, stop running around the house and sit down! Now focus. Having that list helps me when I lose focus. I refer back to my list and the thinking has already been done for me. Especially helpful during low energy times!
9. Schedule breaks. Eat lunch away from your work space. Stretch. Take a walk. Come back refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day!
10. Lastly, take yourself and your business seriously. This is your job, your income, your success. Don’t let anyone or anything diminish its importance!