Home Business Time Management is nothing to be ignored. As a home business owner you have different challenges than if you had your office way from home. Your Time Management skills and habits will make a big difference in your bottom line.
Earlier this week, I wrote a post about Goal Setting, and a big part of reaching your business goals is good time management. Poor Time Management , especially if you are running a home business and you also have a family, may be your greatest obstacle between reaching or not reaching your goals. Here are 7 Home Business Time Management Tips you can use to be more productive in your business even with your kids, dog, and spouse trying to get your attention.
7 Home Business Time Management Tips
1. Run Your Business like a Business
Have set hours or times that you work your business, and don’t deviate from them. Don’t show up late just because you own the business, especially when your business is in the red. It’s really easy to think doing a few loads of laundry, sleeping in, or allowing your friends or family to pull you away is a perk of being the owner. Maybe, technically, you can set your own hours, but until you are in the black and on solid ground, your finances are going backwards.
Knowing you are going to work Mon-Fri from 9-5 with a one hour lunch (hey, this is when your short commute allows you to get the laundry in) then have family time after gives you and your family boundaries. If your business starts feeling like it’s 24/7 (which it really is :-)) with no up side, your mood, motivation, and family life will take a hit.
When you are your own boss, it can be far too easy to put your family’s needs before the business needs. Remind yourself and your family that you can only be home if your business makes money. Give yourself an honest performance review each day to see where there is room for improvement.
2. Don’t Waste Time Figuring Out What to Work On, Already Know
A huge drag on your time is sitting down to work and not having a plan.
Take a few minutes at the end of each day to figure out your To Do list for the next day. Make sure marketing is on it every day. If you make a list most to least urgent then start on the top and work your way down, you can carry over the undone items to the next day reprioritizing and adding, as needed.
If an item is too big, chunk it down into a sub list within your list and tackle each item in time chunks. For example, work 25-45 minutes then take a two or three minute break to stretch, use the rest room, etc., then get back to it. By taking a break, you will stay more focused and have less body fatigue from sitting at your computer for long stretches without breaks. Having a To Do list ready so you can sit down and start working on the first item is a great way to manage your time more effectively while working on building your home business.
3. Stop Multitasking-It’s a time Suck
Believe it or not, our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. Consider these quotes from an article on Monster.com
Multitasking can slow down your brainIf your brain is trying to manage several tasks at once, it may affect the way you work even when you’re attempting to complete a single task. A study by Stanford researchers found the brains of people who multitask work less efficiently even when they’re not multitasking…
According to research summarized by the American Psychological Association, shifting between tasks can cost you up to 40 percent of productive time. You may feel like you’re getting more done, but you probably aren’t. You’re just getting it done in a different way — and probably not the best one.
From the same Monster.com article, here are a few suggestions to fight the urge to multitask…
To fight the urge to multitask, redirect your focus, Slaughter says. “Try maximizing your computer windows to hide distractions, putting on headphones (even with no music, just to communicate to others to leave you alone), turning off email pop-ups and setting your phone to do-not disturb. And when you really need to focus, leave your desk and head for a conference room.”
4. Minimize Distractions by Planning Interruptions at the Beginning of the Day
If you know you have a doctor’s appointment coming up, try to schedule it for the first time slot in the morning before you start your office hours or for minimum distraction. Every time you are interrupted and have to figure out where you left off, you lose time.
Even scheduling appointments with clients, try to be earlier in the day if possible. Your clients run late sometime, which will put you behind, as well.
5. Don’t Wear All Hats if You Can Hire Help
As a home business owner, time is money. And since time is money, you may find out using a Virtual Assistant or accountant frees you up to focus on selling more of your product or service rather than worrying about administrative tasks. In other words, outsourcing may be a great time management strategy for your home business.
For me, if there is a task that feels like a real chore to me, it’s often distracting me from a more income producing task that will help me reach a goal faster. Focus on what you do best and outsource the rest. Make up the additional expense by selling more because you have more time to be laser focused on the activities that bring the money in.
6. Have a Clutter Free and Organized Work Area
If your work area is a mess, you are going to waste time looking for things you can’t find. It’s distracting to think about the mess and how you should clean it up. In your mind, it may become an undone thing on your all ready overcrowded To Do list. If your work space is a corner of a bed room, living room, dinning room or another area of your home, it’s already harder to focus than if you have a private area where shut the door to keep down family distractions while you work. Don’t give yourself the added distraction of a disorganized desk. This may not seem like a time management strategy for your home business, but a distracted mind does not get as much done. For most of us, a nice work space makes a difference.
7. Involve Your Family-It’s Bring Your Family to Work Every Day with a Home Office
Have a family meeting …
Explain to your family why you need to have office hours in a way they can see a benefit for leaving you alone and letting you get your work done. In discussing home business time management with your kids, you can even share how they can use time management with their school work and activities.
- you will have time to play or spend time with your kids after work hours
- you have time Saturday to make your spouse their favorite mean or do the shopping, catch up on house work.
- because they are helping you build your business it will mean more money and fun times later
If your kids are older, let them help you with tasks. They may be better at social media than you are. Ask them questions and ask for their help. You can even ask your accountant about any tax advantages of paying them to do work for you. You’ll be teaching them to think like an entrepreneur, which is awesome.
Stay focused, and don’t get overwhelmed by all you have to do and you will make more progress on your goals. Take big tasks and break them into smaller pieces that can be completed in one or two chunks of time and move on. Don’t jump around from one task to another. It’s better to get one thing done then move to the next. It takes practice to get good at time management. Try incorporating the above 7 tips for home business time management to get more done in less time with better results.