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Time Management Tips for Home Based Business Owners

Updated on August 13, 2008

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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    • profile image

      Paul Cooley 

      10 years ago

      Great post! All very true! It's so easy to get distracted from what's really important. Keep up the great work!

    • StompSearch profile image

      StompSearch 

      10 years ago from Kauai Hawaii

      Great info. Very informative. Thanks.

    • Veronica Robbins profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Robbins 

      10 years ago from Woodland, CA

      Pat--

      I'm glad it was helpful for you! I like your perspective on using the log as a way to be encouraged by how much you accomplished. I typically think of it as a way to stay on track. Both perspectives are useful. Thanks for that!

    • profile image

      Pat Fenner 

      10 years ago

      You got getting dressed right! It makes ALL the diff! The log is a great idea, too. I already implemented it ~ it's encouraging to see all I accomplished during the day. Especially on days when I wondered if I did anything!!! That kinda stuff helps keep me going....

    • Veronica Robbins profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Robbins 

      10 years ago from Woodland, CA

      I'll look for you on Twitter, too! Thanks, Angela!

    • angbrook profile image

      angbrook 

      10 years ago from Kentucky

      Great posture ! Go Girl Go ! I am going to look for you on Twitter.

      Find me there. http://twitter.com/angelabrooks

    • glycodoc profile image

      glycodoc 

      10 years ago

      Veronica: Appreciate the info on your hub - time management is my weak area - I think I need to re-read this several times!

    • profile image

      Rallie 

      10 years ago

      Great article, and the key to success is focusing on income producing attivities everyday.

    • Veronica Robbins profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Robbins 

      10 years ago from Woodland, CA

      Thanks for the positive comments. After reading your comments, I re-read the hub myself....there were some great reminders for me!

    • profile image

      Anthony Arnasalam 

      10 years ago

      Just in time Veronica, I needed to hear this today. Thank you so much.

    • profile image

      VLADIMIR MIKHAYLOV 

      10 years ago

      Veronica, this is a great article! Very useful information and gets right to the point. I felt like you were describing me after having spied out what is going on in my home. Time management and activity management are very crucial for a home-based business, and I thank you for helping me focus on the things I have to change. And I will thanks you. Keep up the good work and I will expect more of your valuable tips. Have a blessed time of the day!

    • michellemoseley profile image

      michellemoseley 

      10 years ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Veronica,

      I tried to leave a comment earlier. Guess it didn't work. Either that or you are going to hear from me twice.

      I was saying that I really appreciate your tips concering time management. I know for myself how distracting the Internet can be. I try to not waste time, but I do have a tendency toward chatting.

      I like your tip about getting dressed. I think it could be very tempting to just lounge around in your pj's, but it's amazing how that all comes across when you speak with someone. You may sound sleepy and not end up coming across as a professional. Dress like a pro and it will come across even on the phone.

      Michelle Moseley

    working

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