A Simple Exercise to Budget Your Time
We all receive the same amount of time. Some people use their time advantageously while others consume it foolishly. However, you can make the most of your time by setting goals, priorities and preferences, learning to say no and becoming downright selfish with your time.
We are all given the same 24 hours in a day, a whopping 168 hours in every week. Even if you manage to sleep 8 hours each day, you still have 16 hours a day to accomplish the tasks and objectives that lead to your goals and desires in life.
The key to doing this successfully is break down your day into manageable segments, which may involve a combination of work, exercise, leisure, family, friends and other obligations that life brings your way. Creating a balance that you can comfortably live with is important.
A good starting point would be to sit down on Sunday evening and map out everything you want to accomplish during the week ahead. Go through the list of things that need your attention and begin to pencil them into a scheduler.
Separate your tasks into prioritized lists such as:
(2) Important, but not urgent.
(3) Not detrimental, but I would like to finish.
As you go through the ranking process, leave yourself some breathing space. These time slots can be used for unforeseen emergencies, to grab a healthy lunch, take a brief walk, run a couple of errands, read a book, take a short drive to clear your head or just about anything else that would be of benefit to you. I don’t want you constantly working or thinking about work.
Most importantly, determine a definite point that will be your cut off time for the day. For home-based entrepreneurs, this is where you’ll shut down the work computer and close the door. It’s important you do this at the same time each day so it becomes a habit.
This exercise will work for you if you allow it to, but it’s not set in stone. You can go back over your priorities and change them to better suit your schedule. Time may be constant, but your life is ever changing. Plan your days to best suit your current needs and desires.
It takes a well-disciplined entrepreneur to create a healthy balance between work and play. No matter how much additional time you wish for, you’re going to be given the same 168 hours each week. Make your days of the week work for you; your life and business may depend on it.
Save Time by Getting Organized
If it has been awhile since you could see the top of your desk, it’s time to clean the clutter. How long it takes to clean it will depend on the size of your desk, how much time has passed since your last cleaning and just how high that paper mountain was allowed to grow.
Here are five easy steps to help keep your desk organized:
1. Construct a filing system.
Throw out old magazines, newspapers, brochures, postcards and outdated catalogs. The only items to keep are current projects, important documents and up-to-date reference materials.
2. Establish a color system.
Use colors to separate your files such as green for customers, blue for vendor accounts and orange for important documents. The color change is much better on the eyes and has a greater distinction when you are searching for a particular folder item.
3. Use dividers and other organizing products.
Store previous years of paperwork into plastic containers. Shopping outlets such as Office Max or Staples carry them for about $9 each. The file boxes stack as a nice space-saving feature and will help protect important documents. Use multiple colors on the container lids to coordinate with your colored filing system to make recovery time much quicker and easier.
(a) Store office supplies (pens, pencils, erasers, ruler, etc.) inside a desk drawer. Separate your tools with a divider tray to keep them organized. If your desk doesn’t have any drawers, purchase a caddy organizer that you can place on top of your desk or a nearby credenza. This will help keep office supplies organized and easier to find when you need them.
(b) Acquire stacking paper bins and place them underneath the fax machine or printer to help divide cover sheets, letterhead, single sheets and purchase orders.
(c) Set up an IN basket for your incoming projects and an OUT basket for outgoing projects. Try to be as efficient as possible and empty each basket by the end of the workday. If your desk is limited for space, purchase a group of plastic wall pockets and mount them nearby for easy access.
(d) Stash smaller file cabinets underneath tables. This provides more room inside the office and helps make the area look spacious. For those work-at-home entrepreneurs with limited room, this is a great way to utilize space.
4. Clean your workstation daily.
Get into the habit of cleaning your desk at the end of each workday. The following morning will be much more inviting with a clean desk. Schedule at least 20 minutes at the end of your workday to tidy up your work area and don’t leave the office until you do.
5. Follow a routine.
Staying organized is much easier once you’ve established a system and strive to follow it as part of a daily routine. Allowing yourself to deviate from an organized approach will result in cluttered chaos and the inability to function at your optimum level.
Establishing an organized system is essential to your success. Becoming organized saves you time, alleviates mistakes and increase productivity. Time is money – use it wisely.
Time Can Improve Your Income
If you want to earn more money, you’re like most middle-class Americans. Of course, with this desire comes the thought of an extra income-generating project. The downside is not many people seem to be able to juggle two jobs into their time schedule.
Yes, you’re busy – most people are, but could you rearrange your schedule for the sake of making extra money? You’ll probably have to sacrifice your television watching during the week, but it will be worth it.
Here’s what you should do first:
Grab a pen and paper or keyboard. Find somewhere quiet and detail your current schedule. Itemize everything you do on a daily basis. Start from the moment you wake up until you rest your head down on the pillow at night. What you’ll find is you already have a few hours within your time schedule that could be applied more productively.
Using your time in the most conceivable way boils down to making a plan on what you’ll do and then following the plan! If it’s hard to create a list for the entire week, create it for one day. The idea is to create a plan that will be easy for you to stick to.
Next, consider the following options to help gain time:
Outside the home, errands can be scheduled to overlap with one another. For example: you need to go to the ATM machine and pick up groceries. To cut down on the amount of time to visit each locality, find a grocery store that has a bank inside the facility and use their ATM machine. You can make bank deposits and shop for food in one convenient trip!
Do you play chauffer to the kiddies? Are you constantly waiting in the car to drive them home from an afterschool activity? You can use this time constructively by reading a book, making out your to-do lists or writing in your journal. Instead of sitting idle – do something productive!
Around the home, follow a chore list. The men of the home can organize the garage or clean out the attic on the same day the trash goes out to the curb. The lady of the home can combine spring cleaning with laundry chores. This allows her to freshen up the house before summer rolls around, which doesn’t require a special day to wash items like draperies, throw rugs, doilies or bedspreads. This saves more than you realize!
When chores need be done around the house, devote a specific time and day for them and stick to the schedule. If you have time-consuming chores like mowing the lawn or weeding the garden, break the chore into one-hour intervals that span across two days. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
Time is your most valued asset – organize it wisely. Overlap mundane chores or what you prefer to do and do those first. Choose an arrangement that is more advantageous for you to help save time.
Improving your income can be realized by prioritizing tasks and keeping on a tight schedule. It’s a matter of becoming more efficient in your daily activities. Obviously, organization is your key to success, but if you truly want to juggle two jobs – time is of the utmost importance.
Highly Effective Time Management Techniques
You can effectively increase productivity and alleviate unnecessary stress by adopting sound time management skills. If you’re feeling overwhelmed while working, it’s time to make some changes.
The following highly effective time management techniques can help you settle into a productive routine and reduce stress from your daily activities. Try them all to see what works best for you.
Keep a journal. You’re more apt to uncover time-wasting activities when they’re written down. Keep a daily work flow journal to evaluate how you’re spending your time.
Schedule your day. At the end of each workday, write out a list of tasks to complete for the next day. Spend adequate time rearranging the tasks from the most to least important. Some projects are more important than others; apply your efforts to gain the best outcome.
Set a time limit. Set a time frame for portions of the work. For example, if you need to input figures into a PC and file the paperwork, perform the data entry today and save the filing for tomorrow.
Reduce distractions. Close the office door, shut off the cell phone and close down the browser. Every second you spend away from your planned day means less work is getting done.
Say no and stick to your plan. Don’t take on any new clients until you’ve taken care of existing customers. Politely decline and relate why it’s impossible to deviate from your plan.
Take necessary breaks, often. Sitting hunched over a desk, staring at a computer screen can take a toll on anybody. Learn to get up and walk away as needed. Grab a drink, stretch, or step outside for some fresh air. These simple activities will counteract stiffness and neck strain.
Challenge your abilities. Use a timer set for short spurts of time (about 10-15 minutes) and work feverishly to beat the clock. Sometimes all we need is a little challenge to get us motivated and keep on track.
Break bigger tasks into smaller jobs. Plan out a weekly schedule where bigger tasks are divided into smaller jobs. Delegate a portion of the work to a virtual assistant. This allows you to chip away at larger projects.
Outsource the work. It’s not imperative that you do everything. Share the workload with others. Internet markets often outsource to-do lists to a third party; learn to do the same.
Enroll in a time management course. Time management skills are a result of great organization and implementation skills. If you need lack in one or the other, seek outside training. A time management class can make a big difference.
You can easily reduce stress and build productivity with these highly effective time management techniques. Some may work better than others, but you can neglect the ones you don’t care for and rearrange the rest to suit your daily needs.