7 Steps to Managing Your Time Effectively
When you work a 9-5 job, your boss tells you what to do and when to do it. But when you have your own business, you're the boss! You have to decide what to do and when to do it. Here's a simple 7-step formula for making a schedule you can live with while making sure you accomplish all the tasks you need to run your business successfully.
- List all the tasks that you need to do this week to manage and promote your business. If you're an auction seller, you might need to buy merchandise, write descriptions, take photos, list your auctions, and make shipments. If you're a net marketer, you might need to make pay-per-click bids, post to your favorite forums, research your new ebook, and write your weekly ezine. These are just short lists, but they show the kind of tasks you might put on yours.
- Look at your list of tasks and see if any need to be broken down further. For example, if you make forum postings one day, you will want to check back later to see if there are any responses. These are really two separate tasks. Auction sellers need to buy merchandise. To do this, you might need to visit garage sales, attend an auction, and check the discount stores for closeouts. Make sure that your list doesn't have two or more jobs lumped together as one.
- Now take your task list and check any items that need to be done more than once. Then write down how often you need to do that task. Auction sellers might list auctions on Thursday and Sunday. That is two jobs, not one. Net marketers might write an ebook chapter each day. In that case, each chapter is another task for your list.
- Next, mark down any tasks that have to be done on a particular day. Many auction sellers go to garage sales and auctions to find merchandise. These are often on Saturdays. Many ezine writers like to send their ezines out on Fridays. The more jobs like this you have, the less flexibility you have in making your final schedule.
- Here's the fun part. Take your calendar or schedule and write in the tasks that have to be done on certain days. Then look at the rest of your list and divide the jobs up as evenly as you can among the days that you plan to work. Make sure you take into account the amount of time and the amount of effort each job takes. If you know that putting together your ezine wipes you out, don't try to do another tough job that day. If you want to schedule another task or two that day, make it something that's easier for you, such as website maintenance.
- The next step is to look over the schedule you've made and ask yourself some questions. First, is everything included? Having your whole week's schedule in front of you may remind you of something you forgot. If you think of something, plug it in. Second, is any one day really tough or really easy? If you're a full time business person, you may want to even your days out. Part-timers, on the other hand, will probably want to make sure to have your easy days on workdays and hard days when you're off from your regular job. If you don't give your full time job your best effort, you may become a full time home business person sooner than you expected or wanted to. Third, is it realistic? Do you have the time and energy to accomplish all this? Don't be too easy on yourself, but, if you know you really can't do everything you scheduled, don't set yourself up for failure. Scale back your schedule to what you know you can get done.
- The final step is to work your plan. After all, this is what you say you need to do to make your business a success. So do it. The Home Business Persons Hall of Shame is filled with people who made big plans but never carried them out. Don't be one of them.
Do I have to do this every week, you ask? Well, yes, you do, but the more you do it, the easier and faster it becomes. Soon you'll come up with a basic schedule that you just add to and subtract from each week. After a while, your new problem will to keep from getting stuck in a rut and just doing the same old things over and over. But that's a subject for a different article.
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