Among the biggest problems facing most people, let alone those working from home, is that of time management. I don’t mean we waste our time by being lazy and doing nothing – if we are honest most of us do that sometimes – but how many people, at the end of what sounded like a busy day, have sat down and wondered just what we have achieved?
How frequently have you heard someone say “I’ve been so busy now, but I don’t appear to have achieved anything?”
This is the main difference between life’s achievers and those who, although always busy, never get anywhere. The people who “achieve” are the ones who make the maximum use of the time–the one commodity that we all have in equal amounts–it’s just that successful people spend their time wisely while many people waste their time. It doesn’t matter how smart, educated, wealthy or well-connected you’re, if you do not use your time effectively, you’re sure to fail.
I don’t mean that you should spend all of your time slaving away over your pc – far from it! – What I do mean is that you ought to use your time effectively – both work and leisure time.
But I can hear you saying “I spend twelve hours a day working, I only have that much to do I never seem to be able to complete or to have time to relax.” I’d say that if you manage your time effectively, you would achieve more in eight hours than you are currently doing in twelve.
First, to understand how to save time, you will need to understand (not guess) how you are spending your time currently. If you are seriously interested in making yourself more effective, please carry out the following task thoroughly – I bet the results will surprise you and shock you into action.
What I want you to do would be to maintain a Time Log of your action for the next two weeks. Take a piece of paper, or a journal page, divide each working day to quarter of an hour slots, and at the end of every fifteen minutes, make a brief note of how you have spent that time.
I would recommend that you formulate a simple key so you don’t waste more time writing! This could obviously be something that suits your particular work, but it may be something like: – A – time spent reading e-mails; B – time spent reading blog articles; C- responding to mails; D – making java; E – making phone calls; F – getting telephone calls; G – being interrupted by colleagues/family who just want a chat; H – travelling; I – Indian Harbour Beach Bat Removal – etc, I am sure that you get the picture.
At the end of the two weeks I am sure you will be amazed at the time you spent actively moving your company forward and how much time was wasted, though it “appeared” like it was work!
As the days progress you will most likely start to notice things you’re doing that are unproductive and begin to alter your habits. Do you really need to read all those blog posts?
At the end of the fortnight, you should sit down and review your time log. Does the quantity of time spent on something correlate to the significance of that item towards attaining your main goal – growing a profitable business?
Could you alter how you do some jobs that will assist you finish them faster?
Do you need to subscribe to all those blog posts? I certainly found once I was starting in this business I subscribed to each blog post I could – but after a time I was getting inundated with them. What I did was make a list of them all, and as each one came I marked its significance to me as 1 – really useful; two – some helpful advice; and 3 – of no interest whatsoever. Once I had received three copies of a blog post, I looked at the scores I had given it and when the marks were 3 I unsubscribed immediately; if they had been a mix of 2’s and 3’s I waited to be given a additional couple of copies; but if neither of these scored a 1, I again unsubscribed. I am now spending about a quarter of the time I was formerly, but still getting as much benefit. Have you got a large number of emails, blog posts or favorite pages which you never access and don’t know what they are? Be ruthless–plan to devote a portion of every day reading them and deleting them or putting them into a clearly marked folder so you can see them easily later on.
Once you are up to date, read each piece of information as you receive it and then either act upon it, file it or delete it–don’t let your computer, your desk or your mind become clogged up with useless trivia. If you’re unsure of whether to maintain something, ask yourself what the worst thing that could happen if you never had access to it? If you can’t consider anythingget rid of it!
OK, so now you’ve managed to eliminate the elements that you had been wasting your time on, but how do you proceed to the next phase of actually ensuring that your time is spent productively?
Just as you need to have planned the future, you need to plan each day. At the end of every day, take five minutes to record the things you need to do the following day. Then prioritise each product. Ask yourself – will doing this help me achieve my goal? Is this something that I can get someone else to do (delegate)?
Once that’s out of the way, the remainder of your day will seem to go faster and smoother than if you’re worrying all day about having to do it!
During the day learn to say no to people. Don’t let other people inflict on you and use you to use their time better!