Email, sales letters, email, phone calls, J.O.B., email, kids,
conference calls, mentoring and sponsoring, errands,
personal time, email, website updating, writing articles,
email, search engine positioning, ezine publishing, advertising,
email. Oh, and sleep. And did I mention email? Sounds like
your day, right? Yours and everyone else's who runs a
business part-time around their REAL life.
There's always so much to do and so little time. Or so it
seems. But is that really true? You may be surprised to find
what you can really accomplish in a day if you were to take
the time to get organized. What do I mean by organized?
Simply knowing how many hours a day you have available
and allocating that time efficiently.
How many hours a day do you have available to you? Well,
let's say you sleep for 8 hours. That leaves 16, right? OK,
how do you make the best use of those 16 hours? By
managing your time effectively. Here's how.
This is your Sunday night activity. Start with a grid (for
those of you who are computer nerds, by all means use an
Excel spreadsheet). Your grid is eight columns across and
30 rows down. Label your eight columns like this:
Time Mon. Tues. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
Then, in the rows under the "Time" heading, enter half
hour blocks of time starting at 6:00 am and ending at
10:00 pm (or whatever your "awake" time is). Your grid
should look like this:
Time Mon. Tues. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
6:00 - 6:30 am
6:30 - 7:00 am
9:00 - 9:30 pm
9:30 - 10:00 pm
Decide on a code for your grid - whether color-coding,
letters, whatever, so you can see at a glance where your
time is going.
Now, using your code, block off unavailable, non-discretionary
time. This is the time you spend working at your J.O.B., the
time you spend getting ready for work in the morning,
commuting in the morning and evening, taking the kids to and
from school/daycare, participating in conference calls hosted
by your network marketing company, etc. This is any time
that you have *no choice* about. Although you have to run
errands, for example, you do have a choice about when to do
them so this doesn't go in here.
All the white space is time that you have available to you
for discretionary activities. By "discretionary" I don't
necessarily mean stuff you don't have to do at all if you
don't want to, I mean stuff that you can schedule for a
time of your choosing. For example, we must all shop for
groceries and put gas in our cars once a week, but we have
a choice when we do so.
Make a list of your discretionary activities. This includes
weekly errands and chores, the time you need to spend
keeping your web site up to date, writing articles, search
engine positioning, reading and responding to email, mentoring
and sponsoring your downline, publishing your ezine, writing
ads, etc. And don't forget to schedule recreation/family time
and time for yourself to do what you want (even if that's
OK, now that you know what you have to do, and the time
you have available to do it in, when is your peak concentration
time? Are you an early morning person or a night owl?
Schedule the activities that require the most concentration
for these periods. Enter them into your grid. For most
people, this will be things like writing articles and salesletters
- activities that require thought, concentration and a
reasonable amount of *uninterrupted* time.
On the other hand, reading and responding to email,
monitoring and tweaking your search engine positioning and
web site updating don't usually require peak concentration
to be effective, nor do they require a continuous block of
time to accomplish. So schedule these activities for time
other than your peak concentration time.
As a general rule, try and get as much done as possible in
one sitting during your peak concentration time. The other
stuff that doesn't require much in the way of concentration
can be squeezed in during your spare half hours here and
there between other things.
The first step in managing your time is understanding it.
Understanding where it is and how best to utilize it. By
taking the time to work up a weekly grid every Sunday
night and allocating your discretionary activities for the
week to your discretionary time in a way that takes maximum
advantage of your peak concentration time, you can't help
but work more efficiently and, therefore, more productively.
If you don't have a plan for your time, what's the first
thing you're going to do at 6:00 am on Monday morning
in that precious hour of peak concentration time you have
to work on your business before you have to start getting
ready for work? Yep, that's right. You'll download and
read your email. What *should* you be doing with that
hour? Writing an article for this week's ezine.
You can read and respond to email any time during the day.
It doesn't require peak concentration! So you've just blown
that hour. And in the evening when you're tired and your
concentration's shot, think you're going to write that article
then? Hardly. What you're going to do is turn on the TV
right? And not even remember what it was you watched
when you wake up at 6:00 again the next morning and do
the same thing all over again.
And then, of course, when the weekend rolls around and
you still haven't written that article and you have to send
your ezine out on Sunday night, you're spending your
weekend writing your article (in between running errands)
and before you know it, Sunday night's here, it's time to
send out your ezine again and the *weekend's over*
already and you don't know where it went and tomorrow's
Monday and you're so behind and frazzled that you don't
work up your grid for next week and so Monday rolls
around and you get up at 6:00 and you don't have a plan
so what do you do? Yep, you download and read your
"To know what has to be done, then do it, comprises the
whole philosophy of practical life." Sir William Osler
Stop the spiral. Be smart. Take CONTROL of your time.
Don't let it control you. Time can be your greatest
friend or your greatest enemy. Don't let it slip through
your fingers with nothing to show for it. Schedule time
every Sunday night to work up a time grid for the
coming week. Who knows, you may even be able to
enjoy next weekend!
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical ideas, resources and strategies for your home-based or online business. http://www.ahbbo.com
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