Cracking the Whip: 4 Free Tips for Effective Time-Taming
1999, by Harmony Major

Ever get the "bogged down" blues? Running a successful home business will definitely take its toll on your lifestyle if you let it. Marketing and promoting your business and website can be daunting tasks when you're burnt out. Keep the pace with your day-to-day routine and you're headed straight for success! But, let your business overrun you and you'll never make it off the ground.

All you need to do is perform your daily tasks with a twist -- an unconventional way of tackling your to-do's. Take these quick and easy steps to start reigning in your home business!

1) Keep a TIME-SCHEDULED, Four-Column To-Do List

Write out a list of daily activities, just like you would any other to-do list. Only this time, create one column for the activity, one column for the check mark (to show you've completed a task), one column for the time you estimate the task will take, and the last column to write in the time the task actually took. It should look something like this:

Done? Name of Task Time Allotted Time Taken
x Check e-mail 30 minutes 45 minutes
  Update website 60 minutes 50 minutes

And, so on. The "Done" field will contain a pencilled-in check mark instead of an "x," but there's no "check-mark" key on my keyboard. ;-) The purpose of this column is so that you're able to remember tasks that haven't yet been completed, and transfer them to your to-do list for the next day (or week).

The "Name of Task" column is obvious, except you'll probably need to make it a "Description of Task" field so you'll know EXACTLY what needs to be done. I used the title above for lack of space.

The "Time Allotted" column is how much time you anticipate the task will take. More important details on this column later.

The "Time Taken" column is so you'll be able to contrast how much time you estimated a task would take, versus how much time it actually took. This is one of the most important aspects of effective time-taming.

2) Oh, puleez ... Let's be realistic, here! Can you REALLY check your email in four minutes flat?

Don't set unrealistic goals or time increments for the "Time Allotted" column. Although you think you can be finished with a task item in three minutes, NEVER put anything under five minutes. You'll have a greater sense of accomplishment when you finish your list with time to spare! And, a strong sense of accomplishment is important to stay motivated in maintaining your home business.

And, likewise, NEVER set a time over two hours for any task -- this sets too leisurely of a pace. Plus, if you need more than two hours to complete a job, it needs to be put on your weekly to-do list. Don't try to finish it in only one day! When you do things for longer than two hours, most people become very unproductive and even more easily distracted.

3) Done! Now, to maximize your efficiency...

After you've done all of the things on your list, you'll then want to compare the "Time Taken" and "Time Allotted" columns to eliminate any discrepancies, and to tighten your schedule. If this is your first time working by a time-scheduled to-do list, you've more than likely taken more time for each activity than you'd planned.

That's okay!

The point of evaluating your time is to gain a more accurate sense of the time it takes to do certain activities, and to eventually DECREASE that time. If you took longer than you expected for a certain task, make sure you understand why. Was it more work than you thought it would be? Were you interrupted? Were your time standards just a little too strict?

Remember, don't be hard on yourself, and give yourself time enough to finish an activity completely AND effectively. If you completed a task with time to spare, why was that? Were you just faster than you thought? Did you get help from an outside source? Did you allow too much time for that activity?

The best way to judge whether or not your time estimations were accurate is to put the actual time that it took you to complete a task one day, in your "Time Allotted" column for the very NEXT day.

4) Why the heck should I care EXACTLY how much time I take per activity?

Well, that's an easy one. Your main goal when working on a time-scheduled to-do list is to DECREASE the time it takes you to complete your daily routine. The less time it takes you to complete scheduled tasks, the more time you have to build your business ... or spend time with family!

The key to effective time management is to recognize where you need improvement, and build on that. By keeping track of how long it takes to complete each individual activity, you'll soon be able to use your time more efficiently, and become much faster finishing your daily duties.


Excerpted from 'Simply, eBusiness', Harmony Major's online business and marketing startup guide. Learn how to start an online business, acquire money-making online marketing techniques, and profit like never before! Get the guide at http://SimplyeBusiness.NET

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