Today I’m talking about time and how to use it for your business.
Time management is essential for business, but it’s also a very personal thing, so before we talk about what you’re going to do with the time, let’s find the time you’re going to work with.
Get a notebook or a new document on your computer and think about wach day of the week and your commitments (don’t forget to leave time for house chores, walking your dog, hobbies and anything else you do every day without really thinking about it).
Now have a serious think about how you could create extra time in your day. Could you get up an hour earlier, take half an hour rather than an hour for lunch, spend an hour working in the evening?
Knowing how much time you really have to work in is vitally important, because it helps you work out how much work you can take on and how much to charge.
Block off your time in a diary (paper or electronic), so you get a picture of what that time looks like. now you can start to assign time to projects.
First, if you have small windows of time, assign those to quick projects (scheduling tweets, reading blog posts).
Think about when you’re at your most productive/creative and schedule important work for that time (this may be a completely different time to everyone you know, but when you’re the boss, you make the rules!).
Give yourself enough time to finish a task; start it, get your head down and do it ’til it’s done. Don’t be tempted to multi-task, discipline yourself to focus.
Make a ‘to do’ list
Personally I write mine on paper, but do whatever works for you.
Spend the last half hour of every work day making a ‘To Do’ list for the next day. On your last working day of the week make a master list for the next week.
Each day, as you complete tasks, tick them off the daily list – it’s a great feeling to look at how much you actually achieve when you focus!
Review your daily lists first thing each morning and keep your weekly list so that you know if there are tasks that you need to move to the following week.
The whole point of being your own boss is the flexibility it offers. I wrote here about not having to ask for days off. I’m extremely lucky to have a job were as long as I finish projects fir clients by an agreed date, I can actually work when it suits me!
You worked out how many working hours you had each week, so only take in the amount of work you can manage in that time. It’s far better to do a fantastic job for two clients than to make a complete dog’s dinner of work for four, because you’ve simply taken on too much.
Stick by your decisions
Now and again you might choose to take on extra work which means you’ll be busier. Always remember though that you chose to take on the extra work, nobody forced you to, so don’t be a grouch when you’re working like a busy bee!
You have a life too!
I love my job and I enjoy the work I do, but it’s not the be all and end all of my world. I have a husband, a son, a cat and hobbies. I also have a house to clean, washing to do and food to prepare. Never forget that there are other calls on your time.
Personally I never begrudge thinking ‘sod work, I’ll go and spend time with J’, I might end up having to work ’til midnight after he’s gone to bed, but time with my son is precious!
There is no mystery
to time management, it’s just that, management. You have to make a clear and simple plan, do it, review it and do it again.
Do you need some help making the best use of your time? Have a look at "Eat That Frog" by Brian Tracy.
I’m a Communications Consultant working with writers and coaches to help them get their key messages to their niche markets in a more targeted and creative way, so I understand the pressures you’re working under and the quality of work and type of support you’re looking for.
I have experience of working in the higher education, arts administration, social housing, primary education, retail and media sectors. All my work experience has brought me in to contact with people as their first port of call to meet their customer service or administration needs.
I live in Lancashire, England with my husband and our son and spend my free (?) time walking, knitting and reading.