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
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:
||Name of Task
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
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
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
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
4) Why the heck should I care EXACTLY how much time I take per
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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