It is a constant battle to learn time management, as it is something that one cannot get back, so it is left up to the individual to learn time management skills.
Here are a few guidelines I learned in my 30+ year quest to perfect time management while running a business, family and some sort of social life.
Working from Home
Working from Home is Gaining in Popularity, how we Earn an Income has Changed with Time & Technology.
Traditional businesses such as Service, Repair and Manufacturing can also be conducted from home depending on the size of premises needed.
Some of us still work for big Firms but only have to go to the office for certain admin functions, the bulk of our duties are performed at home using a computer with internet connections. here comes the big issue, how do we manage our time (24 Little hours per day).
What Follows are 10+ time management recommendations and is not necessarily exhaustive, it could be adapted where relevance is found.
- Work Ethic
- Family & Friends
- Set Work Times (SWT’s)
- Set Leisure Times (SLTs)
- Work Area/Office Layout
- Assign Time Frames
- Fine System
- Socializing during Set Work Times (SWT’s)
- Manage Break Times
- Delegate Duties
- Running Errands
- Manage Appointments Efficiently
It is not uncommon for home based business owners to adopt an attitude that they are not governed by a structure and therefore do things in their own time, or manner.
This is a mistake as we now have to be our own Watchdog.
It is a well-known fact that working for ourselves requires much more effort and dedication than working for a Boss, but the rewards are much bigger.
Our clients are our new “Bosses”, they come 1st.
To earn our client’s trust and Confidence we have to be on schedule if not ahead of time.
(We Have to Keep our Promises)
Consider this, you make timeframe promises to a client, your client coordinates their schedule based on your promises, you do not deliver on time, your client now has a problem, which you created.
Do you think your client will continue using you in the future?
Family & Friends
We all have family, friends and acquaintances, we know how demanding it can be to nurture such relationships,
We have to lay down ground rules, inform them of our set work times and schedules, accommodate them in our leisure times, but make it clear that you will not tolerate interruptions, barring emergencies.
You have to be strict with this as we all have those overbearing, inconsiderate and intrusive family members and friends who could cost us valuable time.
Work has to come 1st if you want to build a successful enterprise.
Being diplomatic but firm works here.
We do not want to have a thriving home business with no social life, balance is key.
Set Work Times. (SWT’s)
- We should start our day with a to-do list and time frames in which to complete these listed tasks, this is key to staying on track with our day.
- Set Start times, Lunchtimes and End times to your working day and stick to it.
- Install a clock and/or schedule boards in strategic locations around your work area to aide in progress monitoring.
- You do not have to get out of bed too early.
- You do not need to commute.
- Instead of: Eg., up at 5 am, you can get out of bed at 7 am, after a leisurely breakfast start at 8 am.
- Break for Lunch 1 hour,
- End your working day at 5 or 6 pm, then it is Family and/or friends time. (something about Rome and a day……I forget!!!!).
- Remember no commute, eight to nine-hour workdays you can accomplish oodles.
- Just learn to stick to your set daily scheduled times.
- I have seen home-based businesses get this very wrong with dire consequences…
Set Leisure Times. (SLT’s)
- We all have to unwind, I find that 80% of weekends I choose not to work because my SWT’s are managed strictly and efficiently.
- I can pursue my leisure activities then, I slot i
n my social circle over this period too.
- Now when we are comfortable with managing our SWT’s our SLT’s become so much easier to manage, by applying the same principles, no more wasted time, ever work or play.
Work Area/Office Layout
Workspace dynamics is important for production, the position of office furniture, layout of workshops and storage areas are all too important.
Take the time to do the layout efficiently, it only has to be done once, only expansion should warrant rearranging of this dynamics.
Organised storage of tools and equipment is very important, no wasted time looking for such items when needed, return it to its rightful place to find it easily for next use.
Strategic Entry and Exit points should allow smooth flow of Staff and Visitor traffic.
A few minutes wasted in walking or working around badly placed obstacles add up to non-productive hours in a week and even days in a month, the same applies to looking for tools or equipment that has not been returned to its rightful place of storage.
Imagine injuries sustained by us or our staff bumping into, tripping over or slipping on badly positioned or placed obstacles, resulting in downtime in the form of recovery or doctors visits, lost time in any business relates to profit loss.
Assign Time Frames.
Set a time frame for each task to be performed.
I have adopted this principle while working on my online business, I set a countdown timer alarm on my mobile device for each task, this helps me manage my time more efficiently.
Example (adjust times as you see fit)
- 1 hour for working on posts,
- 1 and a half hours for working on creating content for new pages
- 1 hour for interacting with my online community,
- 1 hour on my social media sites
- 1 hour for Blogging
- Etc. in this way, I get so much more done in my day and cut off when my day’s quota is reached.
I have gone as far as to impose monetary fines in my work day for time infringements and other negative activities.
It is approached in a fun but strict manner by management and staff alike.
The funds accumulated from these fines I put into a special fund for supporting my favourite charities.
This fine system has reduced our time wastage by 25%.
Socializing during Set Work Times (SWT’s)
Refrain from socialising during your work time, thinking that you will make up the lost time, we all know that lost time is exactly that Lost.
Time has a way of going by so fast, after entertaining demanding and good time buddies/friends, we try to make up that time.
Who or what do we neglect?, our Family, our Regular Social Circle, our SLT’s ?, this is the kind of thing that leads to Stress, overextending ourselves.
I personally experienced this but put an end to it in time, others in my then Social Circle continued with dire consequence…
A courteous but firm No or a Rain Cheque will suffice, if our friends do not understand, then they are not friends, to begin with.
Manage Break Times.
It is important to take Lunch and other breaks during our SWT’s, this helps to keep us sustained nutritionally and mentally. We just have to stick to the time allotted to these planned breaks.
When not taken we can and will lose focus during critical times where focus and concentration are required causing us to lose valuable time at the end because now we are forced to take an unscheduled break due to fatigue.This normally takes a while to recover from.
Burn-Out comes to mind, sometimes requiring Hospitalization.
The delegation of duties is very important as taking on too much yourself could lead to other time wasting issues.
The duplication of tasks is time wasting.
Staff Members within Teams must be delegated duties based on their skill and efficiency and be monitored periodically.
Having too much staff for limited tasks is bad time management.
A streamlined operation is much more efficient than a bloated enterprise with time-consuming staff.
Assign set duties to specific staff members and hold them accountable with regular feedbacks during the day, instead of one long feedback session near the end of the day. I find this works very well, much time saved with this system.
Consider what can be accomplished in an hour, when using that hour efficiently
Consider that same hour when wasting time by horsing around and/or being counterproductive, now calculate the wasted hours in a week, it is phenomenal how much time can be wasted and how much can be saved with the correct application of an efficient time management system.
The simple and easy ones are normally the most efficient.
It is necessary to leave our place of work to perform errands from time to time.
Errands such as:
- Acquiring Spare Parts or
- Stock and Consumable replenishment
- Dropping off Clients, the list is endless.
Say you need to perform any 3 of the above errands, then factors such as:
- Furthest to the closest in distance,
- Considering the time of day,
- Will it be lunch time or peak hour traffic,
- Night or day,
- What mode of transport will be used?
All these simple factors will help determine the most efficient way to perform these errands, including the best route to take.
Planning this efficiently with the “Kill Two Birds with One Stone” philosophy will save you more precious time,
It is amazing how creative we can become with this seemingly menial tasks, I surprise myself constantly with my creativity by shaving off precious minutes with each task performed.
I apply this philosophy to my work as well.
Saving time, saving money growing your profits, just by simple forward planning, no Wizardry or Rocket Science.
It is sometimes necessary for businesses to entertain Clients and Supplier’s Representatives. It is also sometimes necessary to go out and meet with our Clients. This must be managed efficiently.
Assign limited times to each appointment in accordance with your objectives per appointment and do not exceed these times. Schedule a follow-up appointment as new ideas or a fresh approach will present itself during the elapsed time.
Brainstorming there and then is time-consuming, besides a good Rep.will come prepared, and so you should be well prepared for your Client when visiting to and fro.
I hope you could benefit from the above, you may have brilliant time-saving strategies which you have successfully implemented thus far in your enterprise, sharing it will be highly appreciated.
What are your thoughts, do you have any good time management tips?
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Until Next Time “Safe Motoring” – Gary