Last week I asked my Facebook followers for their biggest home business or blogging obstacle. The number one answer was time management. Let's be honest, productivity can sometimes go out the window when you are not clocking in and out like a traditional job. This leaves many home business owners feeling “time poor” and like all they ever do is work. It doesn't have to be that way. You are likely wasting a lot more time than you realize.
Turn Off Notifications – There are three things than can blow my day before I realize it; inbox notifications, social media notifications, blog comment notifications. You like to think it will only take a moment to open and read the message. Before you know it, 30 minutes has passed. And this could go on all day! We do not need to be as present as we have come to believe. If someone expects a response from you instantaneously, they do not respect your time. Recondition yourself to check email, social media and blog comments every few hours when you are on the clock.
Set Time Limits – Now that you are only checking for updates periodically, set a time limit for your responses. This will help prevent “wandering.” If you have only 15 minutes to respond to Facebook messages, you are far less likely to hit up the Newsfeed, start clicking through links, start clicking through more links… The same goes for breaks. If you are stepping away from your desk to change the laundry and use the restroom, give yourself 10 minutes. This is plenty of time to do what you need to do but not enough to start a household project.
Work with Your Internal Clock – We all have times of the day when we are naturally “in the zone.” I get up early, do most of my communicating, networking and small blog updates in the morning, zone out on client work mid-morning to late afternoon and then I write longer posts until I’m ready to call it a day. That’s what is working for me. Lately. You may even find your productive times change with the seasons. Whatever they are, work with them not against them.
Smart Outsourcing – There are times when it is simply smarter to outsource, regardless of your budget. If you are spending 3 days trying to learn something you will do once, that is a poor use of your time. If you despise a task so much that the very thought of it makes you avoid your home office, give it to someone else so you can get back to making money. You should always be cognizant of your profit margin. If you can make more money on something else than the time it takes to do that nasty task, outsource it. That’s good business sense.
Make Use of Apps – I recently installed Any.do on my browser and phone. This app allows me to manage my personal and work To Do lists anywhere and at anytime. I can also set it to send me notifications of priority tasks and mark things off as they are completed. Calendar, Memo and Mail features are coming soon.
Embrace “Delete” – Stop saving everything! I know you have dozens of things in your computer folders, inbox, etc that you are saving for someday. It’s subconsciously stressing you out. Make it an end-of-week priority to delete nonessentials that didn’t get taken to the next step, completed, responded to, made plans for, etc. Get it out of your way!