On Mondays, I share my thoughts on Working @ Home. Today's guest post was written by Rosamunde Bott.
In many ways time is far more precious than money. While money circulates and flows in and out of your life, time, once spent, never returns. There is no limit to how much money you could potentially earn, but time always has a limit. There is usually a monetary value on the way time is spent, hence the saying: "time is money". If you are an employee, often get paid an hourly rate. The time you spend on your online home business however, is rather different. Time spent now may not bring in immediate riches, but it does have a direct effect on the money you will receive in the future, so it is important to get organized and spend your time well. The time management strategies below will make sure you do.
There are so many different tasks and distractions that all vie for your attention in internet marketing that it is very easy to be tempted into time wasting activities if you are not careful. By focusing on three main time-management strategies, goal-setting, to-do lists and delegation, you will ensure that your precious time is spent effectively.
Most of us know about goal-setting, but not everyone sets goals in the most effective ways. Before you set a goal for your business you must be very clear about why you want to achieve it. If you goal is to make a certain amount of money, then having a vision of what this money will be used for is far more motivating than the money itself. Ultimately, you need to get in touch with what success will mean to you, and how it will make you feel. What will it mean for your loved ones, or for the world? Having a powerful vision for you goal will help you have the commitment to keep to it.
Once you are clear about your "why" and your vision, you can then set long term, medium term and short term goals that all fit in with your mission. You goals should be specific, stated in the present tense and with a positive focus, not a negative one (e.g. "I now earn $100,000 a year", rather than "I am now out of debt") Once you have defined your goals, you will then write a series of mini-goals which will serve as stepping stones to the larger ones. Visualize your goals every day, and don't forget that they can be flexible. Review them regularly and make changes if necessary.
Your goal plan will clarify the steps you need to take and these need to be organized into to-do lists. These are essential to help the busy person stay on track and not get distracted by things that come up arbitrarily. How you organize your to-do list is up to you, and you might need to experiment until you find a system that works for you. The important thing is that you have one and that it is in line with your goals and vision.
To be effective, your to-do list should be prioritized and organized into categories according to urgency. My own to-do list is separated into daily, urgent and non-urgent. I make sure the daily tasks are done first, then the urgent tasks and then the non-urgent tasks, if there is time.
Anything that does not contribute to your ultimate goals should be dropped. Also, get into the habit of allocating anything that comes up during the day to one of your to-do lists so you are not distracted by it and taken away from a more important task. It is a good idea to set aside half an hour or so a day for dealing with emails or post, deleting anything unnecessary, dealing with anything urgent and allocating to to-do lists if they are not, so the rest of your time is spent doing prioritized work.
So many of us like to feel in control by trying to do everything ourselves, but in fact by doing this we are not in control of our precious time. By delegating of your more time-consuming tasks you are then able to concentrate on essential productive work and keep control of what is important.
With an online business, this might mean outsourcing some of your tasks such as website design, article writing and article submission and so on. There are also many online tools that will automatically send out regular emails to your list and submit your websites and articles to directories and ezines. Although most of these will require a small financial investment, it will leave you free to carry out the tasks that are more enjoyable and productive.
These three time-management strategies will help you to get organized, focus on what is important and reduce time wasting activities. In turn this will enable you to achieve your goals quicker and build your business smoothly to ultimate success.