14 Steps to Managing Your Time

14 Steps to Manage Your Time
All of us have 168 hours a week. Of course, with some of that time we need to eat and sleep and take care of other personal business. In this article I would like to look at 14 steps to managing your time for your business.
Diary Planning
A diary either on paper or electronic can help you to effectively manage your time. Your diary can be much more than a way to record your appointments. I personally like to use a Google Calendar. This allows me to use the calendar to also add tasks (or to do list) and set reminders. The reminders and tasks then appear on the calendar. You are then able to check them off when completed.
This allows you to add phone calls and other tasks that you have to complete which may or may not be time specific. There will be things that you need to do and in your diary I suggest that you block out time for the these and set a reminder so that you will be notified when you have to do them. (See also Concentrate on one task).
Your diary can be one of the best ways that you can plan and with Google Calendar having a task system will help you and be your To Do List (please read the section To Do List to see how you can make this system work for you)
To Do List
A to do list is vital if you are going to manage your time wisely. I find that during the day as things arise that can’t be dealt with straight away I add them to my to do list. At the end of the day review your list and then prioritise the next day’s task.
A top tip that worked well for me is to take the task that you dislike the most and do that at the beginning of the day. If you don’t, you will keep looking at it and sub-consciously it will affect what you do. It’s quite likely that you will slow down in order not to get to the task, waste time on non-essential things and feel a little miserable in the process. Therefore number your tasks in order of importance with the least liked at or very near to the top if there really is something else that has to be done first.
Any tasks that are not important today can be rolled over but look closely now to see if they will become a priority tomorrow when you prepare your list. If a task can only be partially completed do make sure that you keep it on your to do list for the future.
Email management
We all get hundreds of emails and managing them can be a problem. Please don’t allow email to take over your life. It’s best to have several email addresses. Have a private one which you never use for business and only check this once a day outside of business time. Other email addresses can be such as Sales@; Info: Enquiries@ Newsletters@  and use this to subscribe to newsletters or other things which are not going to be important. Make sure that if you no longer read newsletters use the unsubscribe button.
I recommend that you use Gmail to manage your email accounts. Gmail has a very good spam filter and frees you up from much of the pure junk that is emailed. You can also segment your email into sections to make managing email much simpler and save time. Urgent emails can then be seen more easily. Many people set aside specific times of the day to check their email rather than react to each one as it comes arrives in your inbox. Turn off your email notifications so that you are not disturbed or tempted to see each email as it arrives.
Whenever you can, delegate tasks to others. Train and trust your staff to handle tasks that will free you up to concentrate on your core work. If don’t employ people that you could delegate to, you should look to outsource to those that can assist you.
Learn to say “No”
There are many demands on our time and even the most caring and generous of us will have to learn to know when to say “no”. Of course you also need to know how to say no in a way that will not cause any undue upset or offence.
Get enough sleep
There are those people that think sleeping is a waste of time! The truth is we need a reasonable amount of sleep. Sleep deprivation will actually slow you down and reduce your productivity and creativity and you will achieve less in more time if you are tired. You want to achieve more in less time!
Concentrate on one task
Despite what is often said about multi-tasking you can really only concentrate on one task at a time. That’s why it’s stupid to text and drive (and use other phone functions). Set aside time to concentrate on one task at a time and you will complete it quicker and more accurately and produce better results.
Avoid distractions
If you can, stop the things that can interrupt and are not essential. If you’re working on a computer those pop up messages for email, Twitter and Facebook are a menace. Turn them off because the action of looking at them will focus your mind on their message and probably cause you to click on them to see more. Some people like to work with background noise such as a radio on. However again this can cause you to focus on things being said rather than your work.
Schedule time to a complete a task
You are more likely to get something done and on time if you set aside a set time to do it. Use your diary to do this.
Assign break time
Your brain and body need a rest! Allow break times so that you can be refreshed. The practice of working at a desk and eating might seem efficient but ultimately it is bad for you health. Get up, take some exercise and fresh air. You will be more relaxed and have more energy to work.
Keep it simple
With most things there is a simple way and a complicated one. Don’t over complicate your life.
Use management systems that work for you 
There are many systems that you can use. It is easy to end up becoming a slave to the system rather than it being a tool for your business. Ask yourself, “What do I actually need to record?” Collating loads of data just because a system asks you too can be a serious waste of time.
Work mobile when you can
If you’re travelling by train or sat in a waiting area can you use that time to make phone calls, write email, or some other task that can be done away from your office? Plan to use those moments productively but not whilst you are driving! Get a chauffeur if you want to work in the car.
Enjoy what you do
If you hate what you do then you will find it incredibly difficult to manage your time beneficially. Change your career as soon as you can or learn to love your job. Strangely enough many people that hate their jobs have a job that is OK and it’s their viewpoint that needs changing. Have a good think about the positive aspects to your work and write them down. Do they outweigh the negatives? You will be surprised how a change of viewpoint and appreciation for what you have can make your work so much better.
I hope that you have found these 14 tips for managing your time helpful. I would like to invite your comments and experiences in time management so please use the box below to leave a comment.


Multi-tasking – Time Management Tips

Regardless of the modern age, people have been multi-tasking for a very long time. Multi-tasking is a form or juggling, whether you are an experienced entrepreneur, a beginner or even an elderly grandmother, more than likely, you do some form of juggling tasks.

Mothers are actually some of the oldest known and most experienced when it comes to multi-tasking. Mothers are experienced in doing more than one thing at a time, which is the essence of multi-tasking. If you do not believe it, you may need to take a closer look at some mothers and the things they manage to do throughout their day.

For instance, a mother can fix a wonderful dinner and have it ready just in time to eat, while she takes care of however many children she may have as well as any other children in the neighborhood that seem to drop in and out of the house while her children are home. Some mothers are known for the ability to nurse a baby while typing with one hand to meet a deadline as well as watching the news to keep up with current affairs and any pending bad weather conditions, while she is fixing a meal for others. Then again, a mother may be able to fix a dinner, clean house including the dishes and the laundry, taking random phone calls or making essential calls to others and finish her day off looking beautiful and smelling wonderful when she meets her favorite fellow at the door when he comes in from work.

How it is that, some mothers seem to be some of the most talented in multi-tasking?

The answer to this question is that of mothers who have learned or actively follows her natural instincts in the art of time management.

Time Management Tips

– Organize Your Work Area

When you organize your work area, you are more likely to do work that is more efficient since you are not distracted by clutter. When your work area is clean and organized you, will not feel as much stress or tension since the area is organized and clean. No matter where your work area is, you can organize it in various ways. For instance, having an area designated for files, books, software and other essentials will aid you in being productive in your work, since you can find what you need when you need it. It is essential however, that you do take the time to put anything you may remove and use, back in its place for future use.

– Set your Goals

When you take the time to set your goals, you can accomplish much more than you can if not. Your daily goals may be small and manageable, if they are not then you should consider breaking a large goal down into smaller goals to be able to achieve those goals.

– Managing Yourself

When you are trying to multi-task it is wise to manage yourself, by this, I mean that you should only take on as much that is comfortable to you without the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the number of things you plan to do in one day. Remember, even if you are great at multi-tasking, you are after all just one person, there is only so many hours in a day and you can only accomplish so much without overwhelming yourself into a stress headache, sick stomach and general nervousness. Be kind to yourself, as you multi-task. However, granted this is much easier to think and say than to do. Nevertheless, you should try!

– Delegate Responsibilities to Others

Since you are only one person and there are only so many hours in the day that you can use resourcefully, you need to consider delegating responsibilities to others who have the ability to do some of the tasks that you normally do. For instance, older children and teenagers can help with the laundry, dishes and simple general housekeeping duties, when you take the time to teach them how to do such tasks. Some of them can even help with the cooking duties if they know how. Of course, you should be already know that someone may not do something exactly the way you will, however, enlisting the help of others can get more done in a days time than not.

– Set Time Limits

When you take the time to set time limits you will find that you can get more done in the long run for the various things you are trying to juggle throughout your day. However, you should not necessarily sit on a clock all day, since watching the time can be distracting and a waste of time in the long run. Setting an alarm or a timer may work well for you, if you are one of those types of individuals who have no true sense of time.

– Make a To Do List

Making a to do list is one of the best measures for managing your time and working through the things you need to do. I am a big to do list maker and I find it very helpful for multi-tasking and achieving my daily goals. You may want to write up a master to do list with various sections of the different things you need to do during your day. To do lists may vary from shopping and grocery lists to lists that involve housekeeping, your online business, childcare and many other issues. When you have a to do list in hand you will always know the next thing you need to attend to while multi-tasking. Having a to do list can also assist you in measuring your progress. You can do this by simply drawing a line or placing a check mark by those things on your to do list that you have completed. This is something that can also offer you a sense of satisfaction for completing the various items on your multi-tasking to do list.

– Be Flexible

Being flexible with the various issues you need to attend to while multi-tasking is essential. It can help you get more done than you anticipated. It can help you when you unexpectedly find that you need to change your priorities of what you plan to do and when you do it. Be willing to change your daily habits if and when the time comes for such a change.

– Limit Distractions

When you are able to limit distractions, you will find you are better able to manage your time. For instance, while you are multi-tasking, you will be able to accomplish more by limiting distractions such as answering unnecessary phone calls; you may want to consider the use of an answering machine or a caller id so you can get back in touch with others later when you have more time to spare. Some individuals may consider reducing time spent to do other things online while they are working online, such as checking email or visiting their social networks while working. For some, this may be the thing to do, however, personally, I will tell you that I do check email and occasionally visit my social networks if it fits in with my schedule, while working online and it does work well as far as time management goes.

I also work on either two or three different sites while working in a day’s time. However, some days I do focus on one at a time on different days to increase my odds of income while working at home with my computer. It does not distract me or slow me down and I get many things done that I have planned to do and that makes me smile with satisfaction.

– Learn when to say No

Many times, we get so use to doing so much at one time that we may find ourselves overwhelmed with the duties on our multi-tasking to do list. It is essential to know that there are times when you will have to put on the brakes and just say no. Anytime you are asked or intend to add something new to your list of things to do, you need to determine whether you can fit something else in comfortably or if there is just no way to fit in just one more thing. Learning to say no can be very helpful for setting your limits concerning distractions and you do have permission to say no, when it does not suit your routine or sense of accomplishing all those other things you try to juggle on a daily basis.

These are of course, just a few time management tips to consider while you are in the multi-task mode. They should be able to help you reach your goals of multi-tasking and time management.

Last but not in the least of this list is that of knowing when you need to take a break from your schedule. It is essential that you do take the time to rest when you need too, since resting is refreshing to your mind, body and soul regardless of what you may have on a to do list. Remember that you have to take care of you before you can efficiently take care of others and any task you may face.

© 2009 Sara Valor

Original article: Multi-tasking – Time Management Tips – written by Sara Valor on Factoidz


How To Set Up A Small Business Marketing Schedule That Works

It is vital to have a schedule for your online and offline marketing efforts. Small business owners wear many hats and often are not marketing geniuses! Setting up a schedule in advance and devoting focused time to doing your marketing will make a huge difference in your bottom line.

So who has time to make a marketing schedule let alone implement it? You do, if you want to have a steady stream of customers instead of working like a dog for a while and then wondering if you will ever sell your product or service again! This up and down sales cycle can drain you of your enthusiasm for your business and must be avoided at all costs.

So what does a small business-marketing schedule look like?

  • PLANNING – (Planning your marketing strategy always comes first even though it doesn’t ultimately take the most time) – three hours at least four times per year!
  • Social Networking (like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter) – fifteen minutes in the morning
  • Article Marketing – two to three hours a week (adding articles to sites like factoidz.com exposes you and your company to more people than you can generate on your own)
  • Offline Marketing (like advertising, writing personal notes, distributing flyers) – No more than an hour a week or while you are out and about anyway
  • Blogging – at least two hours a week – this is your high value time as the Internet and search engines love blog posts

So there you have it, less than ten hours per week to generate additional revenue for your business!

So what if you don’t have time to (or the inclination) to do that? Hire it out! I can guarantee that there are people out there who are willing to write your content, post your posts and in general manage your marketing.

BUT, make sure that you have a targeted plan to know what you are trying to sell before you set someone else to work. This is the biggest mistake that I see small business owners make, they are just doing “stuff” instead of formulating a clear plan and then they are asking a third party with no stake in the business to implement it.

Make sure that you are clear with what you are trying to accomplish with your marketing goals and then get out there and implement them!

Original article: How To Set Up A Small Business Marketing Schedule That Works – written by Tara Jacobsen on Factoidz