If twenty dogs chase after one cat, what time is it?
Twenty after one!
Okay, okay. You’re right. That joke is a little corny, but it has two things going for it:
- It’s kinda cute (For kids, it’s probably funny… at least until fifth grade. For adults, it might work as a pickup line in a bar or club… with someone who’s not as smart as a fifth grader.) blacktopcomedy
- It perfectly describes the way entrepreneurs and work at home professionals feel on a daily basis.
If you’re like me and spend time working out of a home office, often you feel like the cat in the joke, sprinting and clawing your way from task to task. All the while the things you need to get done (huge, slobbering, snarling dogs) give constant chase and nip at your heels. aquasafe
Here are three quick and easy to implement time management tips that will allow you to manage your time more effectively. If you put just one of these time management tips into practice, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on things that will make you more money.
1. Only check your e-mail at specified intervals throughout the day.
I struggled with this one. I run several online businesses and I handle everything through e-mail. I answer inquiries, take orders and manage contractors through e-mail. E-mail is the lifeblood of my online businesses.
I’ve spent the better parts of entire days stuck inside my Inbox. And on most of those days, pressurewashingtreasurevalley I felt unproductive and reactionary. That’s the exact opposite feeling an effective entrepreneur or successful work at home professional wants.
I moved from unproductive and reactionary to productive and proactive by checking my e-mail four times a day: 7am, 11am, 3pm, 6pm. Except for the first session at 7am, which lasts an hour, I spend no more than fifteen minutes at a time reading and writing e-mails.
2. Pick three days out of the week and spend one hour each of those days catching up on your favorite blogs, magazines and industry related websites.
I’m a voracious reader. I subscribe to over 100 blogs, discodetailing RSS feeds and magazines. They cover everything from working at home to time management, marketing trends, web copy tips, SEO, SEM, technology and business news.
I spent hours flipping through and reading all of this content. I felt like I couldn’t afford to miss anything when in fact, the opposite was true. Don’t misunderstand me, newsletters, blogs and industry websites contain valuable information and insights. Choosing to ignore them all may save you time but it’s a risky bet.
Instead, take a few minutes and prune your subscription list. Evaluate each publication. If it delivers personal or business value, keep it. If not, unsubscribe or delete it from your bookmarks and don’t look back.
3. Track the time you spend watching YouTube videos, checking social network status updates and reading and responding to forum posts.
I’d never suggest that you stop checking Facebook or your favorite forum. What I do suggest is that you track the amount of time you spend on social sites and interacting with online communities. Whether you’re on your laptop, Blackberry, Android, iPhone or tablet, varioustips write the time down and add it up at the end of a week. It might surprise you.
Physically tracking your time plucks subconscious strings. And, as you track the time you spend on various activities, you’ll automatically begin to see time as a finite, concrete substance. After a few days of tracking your time, your brain will “magically” begin regulating and managing your time.