Time Management Tips for Home Based Business Owners
When you're working from home, it's easy to get distracted. Almost everywhere you look, something is screaming for your attention - dishes in the sink, an unmowed lawn, children, a husband or wife (not necessarily in that order of importance, of course). Staying focused at home is much harder than staying focused in an office setting. Here are some tips to help you manage your time:
1. Treat your home based business like a job. Establish a work schedule and stick to it as best you can. Having the flexibility to change your schedule is one of the perks of being self-employed, but establish a schedule that works for you and your family on most days, and do you best to stick to it. Also, get fully dressed for business at the start of each workday (that means shoes, too). Believe it or not, you really will get more done, and you'll sound more professional on the phone, too.
2. Focus on income generating activities. Income generating activities are activities that have a direct link to income like those related to marketing, sales, prospecting, filling customer orders, etc. Administrative activities are things like record keeping, etc. There is a place for administrative activities in your work day, but it is easy to let administrative tasks suck up most of your day. Don't do it. If you have a choice between an activity that makes money and one that doesn't, pick the one that generates income.
3. Schedule time each day for administrative tasks. Time management experts recommend spending only a limited period of time each morning and each afternoon on administrative tasks.
4. Start each day with a plan. Make a list of 5-8 income generating tasks that you are going to accomplish on this day - no matter what. Then go for it! Do not make this list the long and tedious dumping ground for everything you need to do. That can be a separate list. I am talking right now about your A-list activities.
5. Set goals each week. You should have established both long and short term goals for your business. Your weekly goals should not be focused on activities, but on outcomes. For example, your goal should not be to make 30 prospecting contacts, but to sign up 3 new recruits. Your goal should not be to tell 20 people about your product, but to make $2,000 in sales. Your plan (see above) will define the activities you need to reach those goals.
6. Keep a daily activity log. Most new business owners overestimate how much of their time they devote to income generating tasks. By keeping a log, you can have an objective tool to review later. If you are involved in a network marketing business, your company may already have an activity log or checklist you can use or modify. If not, start by making a list of the daily activities you think you need to focus on to make money. Then log your activity as you go. When you look back at the end of each week, if you have not met your goals, you can easily see how you spent your time and make adjustments for the following week.
7. Write your weekly goals on paper or sticky notes and post them throughout your home office and house, so you can see them regularly. It is much easier to stay focused if your goals are ever-present in your mind. The further your thinking is from you goals, the more your activity will drift from those activities that will lead directly to achieving your goals.
The key is focus. The more you stay focused on your goals and the income generating activities necessary to meet your goals, the more income you will have.
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