Thursday Time Management Tip: Get One of These

To Manage Time Well – You Need a Hobby

“What?!?!?  A hobby?

“I don’t have time to get all the stuff I need done completed, how am I going to find time for a hobby?”

Well, I hear you, but I am convinced that if you say the above, then you are NOT implementing my advice carefully enough :)!

And, even if you are implementing it and getting stuff done, you may still feel like you don’t have time to take up knitting, basket-weaving or raising organic chickens.

But wait, I didn’t say your hobby needed to be anything really time consuming or labor intensive.

We just need something that is enjoyable and puts us in another frame of mind for short periods of time.

Having a hobby will do several things for you:

  • Your energy is increased when you take time to relax
  • When your focus is off of current problems, your subconscious takes over and often solves them in the meantime
  • You need other perspectives.  When you take the time to learn new skills, you increase brainpower
  • Reading outside of your current market will give you ideas you have never thought of that can be implemented in your business

So, take time to decide what you would enjoy.  You may even want to make it something way out there – that you haven’t thought of in a long time or that you never thought you would have the time for.  Then, start by picking up a book or magazine.  See if you can find a class.

You don’t have to jump whole hog into it – just research a little and see if it sounds interesting and begin sticking a toe in.

But, have something that you enjoy that is NOT your business or your family (though they may want to join you!).

It doesn’t sound like it will save time – but I assure you, it will in the long run.

Thursday Time Management Tip – Use Cheap Labor

One of the most difficult things about running your own business – whether you work from home or at a brick and mortar – is getting the little stuff done.

We KNOW we need to save money.  We NEED it done quickly.  We WANT it done our way.  So WE just do it.

Bad idea.

Those little things can eat time like crazy.

Business tasks such as Email, filing, organizing a rolodex, opening mail, stocking shelves…etc, all take time.  Then we get home and face the monster list of home organizing tasks such as laundry, dusting, picking up, creating a grocery list, putting up the groceries…etc.

So, if you are running your own business and YOU are the one doing any or ALL of these things, then exactly how much time do you have to do the most important 3 things?

NOTE: Those most important 3 things are:

  • 1.  Getting New Clients/Customers
  • 2.  Selling to Those Clients/Customers
  • 3.  Giving them Opportunity to Buy More

But it must be done and you don’t have a huge staff to do it!

So, get some cheap labor.

Give up your perfectionist tendencies and hire your kids to do the tasks (ok, MOST of the home tasks they should be doing anyway because they LIVE there – but hire them for business tasks!)

Or find some older neighborhood kids who can work for a few hours a week and pay them to do the small and odd tasks for you.

Think outside the box.

YOU do NOT need to be doing these small things – YOU need to focus on what makes you more money and will ultimately give you more time.

Find another way to get it done – and then use your time wisely.

How to Keep Email From Leaking Your Productivity

Have you ever kept track of the amount of time you spend on email?

Is your time leaking away through your inbox?

Ever said “I’ll just pop in and see what’s in there” and then found yourself lost in email never, never land over an hour later?

We’ve all been there.

We answer this one from work, this one from mom, look at the video Hank sent, check out the notification from Facebook, read the one that has been sent around the world 2 dozen times but is still funny….

Yeah, we’ve all done it.

What was once hailed as “able to bring about the end of all paper communication” and “speed up communication in a way never before seen” – is now a number one time leak!

Oh, not that all emails are useless or that our inbox hasn’t saved trees and helped productivity.

But, that same tool that was miraculously going to cure us of our need for paper has also enabled us to receive and send many times more information than we likely would have had we needed to use paper.

And, we are using it for things that are more likely enabling us to waste time rather than save it!

So, how do you keep your productivity from leaking?

E-mail Time Management

You determine how IT fits into YOUR life, and how you will use it as a tool. When you define the boundaries and stick to them, then you are in control, not the other way around.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. What is this email inbox for?

Is this primarily for work or for play?

Don’t make the mistake of using it for both! I have made that mistake and am still regretting it and trying to fix it.

Have one inbox for work and one for play. And if you receive a lot of informational emails, then have one specifically set up for those.

This way you are not tempted by the one when you are working on the other!

If you have an employer provided email, then don’t give that one out to friends and family unless you are sure they will only use it with care (no forwards, no confidential information, no conversations you wouldn’t want your boss to see).


2. How will you receive communication?

If you are alerted every time you get an email, then there is no way you are very productive – you must constantly be hoping to check/answer them!

This may sound silly, but when I say take control, I mean of all aspects.

Ask yourself these kinds of questions:

  • What time of day will I look at and respond to email? Set up specific time or times that you will look at and answer the email in your box.
  • Do you want to do it first thing in the morning or will that be too distracting and get you off track so it would be better to do it at the end of the day? Or, would two times a day suffice – noon and 4:30?
  • How do I want people to communicate with me so I will know what the email is about at a glance?

If you are working with a group of people on a project, you might train them to email you with a specific subject line naming the project.

You can also set up a system of numbers (e.g. 1=Priority, 2=Within a Few Days, 3=Within the Week, 4=When You Can Get to It) then train people to use that system to automatically tell you what kind of answer they need.


3. How will you send communication?

This one may also have sounded silly, but you should have the idea from question number 2!

Just like above, if every time the computer tells you “Ding, you’ve got mail” you jump to respond, can you really be productive?

You want to train people how to send emails so you will respond properly, but you also want to train them about when to expect your response.

Will you answer all of them by the end of the day or by the start of the next day?

Do you answer every email or just the ones with questions in them? We waste a ton of time just by responding “Thanks” or “Sure, I’ll get to it” (and opening to read those responses) when we don’t have to.

If they know that you have a system and will respond according to it, then they don’t need the superfluous niceties.

Determine your own system. Then train others and yourself in using it. You must be diligent because fixing your email nightmares won’t happen overnight!

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