7 Steps To Building Better Business Time Management Skills
By: Nyala Phillip – nyalaphillip.com
It’s raining. Worse, you get an email first thing, saying that one of your business clients isn’t happy with the project you delivered last week. Now, you’re going to have to spend time looking at how to remedy that situation rather than focus on your next big order. “Does every day always have to be such a balancing act?” You ask yourself. “Or am I missing something? Could I actually be managing my time better to start with?”
It’s no secret that the success of women working independently online, stems at least in part from many women are naturally better multitasking and negotiation abilities. However, in the ever faster paced world of online business and eCommerce, time is literally on top of us most of the time, leading to what can often feel like crushing pressure. Here are seven practical tips to help you turn the tables on your time management problems, regardless of whatever kind of business you are in.
Tip 1: Vet The Bottom Feeders
“You’re kidding right?” You’ve just been contacted by that client again who nothing is ever good enough for. They want work valued at way more than what they are willing to pay, and are set to eat up almost all of your time by constantly changing their project brief and asking you for updates. The freelance world is full of what I call bottom feeder clients. Moreover, 90% of the time these people are actually selling work and products on for double the amount they pay you in the first place. It’s important though, to cut these people loose as quickly as possible. Yes, if you are working for yourself, you need as many clients as you can get your hands on, what you don’t want though are serial time wasters.
Tip 2: Don’t let People Project Their Schedule Or Authority Onto You
Secondly then, unless you decide to take up work as a personal or virtual assistant, never let people you work for project their schedule or their sense of individual empowerment onto you. It happens all the time, clients engage with freelancers from all kinds of professional backgrounds and communicate as if that freelancer is now their employee. As a freelancer though, you’re not. You are your own business, one which has to to manage work and orders from multiple clients all at once. This being the case, (and although it sets customer service alarm bells ringing for most people) don’t get in the habit of bending over backwards for clients. All this does after all, is increases productivity sapping stress for you and you don’t need that.
Tip 3: Structure People Who Work For You But Then Ignore Them
Working from home but feel more under pressure on some days than you did in your last real world job? Whether it’s because of “I’m your boss now,” power trippers, time wasting bottom feeder clients, or absolutely fantastic clients, just ones piling you with a huge amount of work, it’s important to establish a professional network with other freelancers. You need after all, to establish professional links with people who you can potentially outsource work to when you need to. Whatever you do though, don’t let building bridges and establishing such a network turn into hours of “hey, how are you?” Google hangouts. Yes, you need to be civil and friendly, but try and limit communication to easy to manage email.
Tip 4: Get On Top Of Your Website
Your website is down. Worse, either it or your personal email has been compromised. Many women working from home who don’t have necessary web design skills, trust their website creation to third party agencies. Moreover, although such agencies can offer fantastic services, what this means is that whenever you have a problem, you have to pay for the necessary assistance to fix that problem. In order then, to cut down on potential costs and down time, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the basics of web design. Even better, doing this isn’t anywhere as complex most people imagine.. Platforms like WordPress and Drupal are free and surprisingly easy for everyone to familiarize themselves with.
Tip 5: Treat Your Home As Your Office
Looking for the single best way to manage your time more effectively? Put to bed the idea that you can set your own work hours. Yes, we often imagine that working from home and flexing our entrepreneurial muscles will be equivocal to us doing the school run in the morning, before resting back on the sofa with a coffee and an Ipad afterwards. However, this simply isn’t the case.
In fact, if you want to be successful, you need to treat your home as your workplace. This means sticking to a strict 9-5 (or similar) work schedule. This means having a desk in the corner or ideally a dedicated office space where you work at and manage your business from. This means turning off the TV and ultimately this means you putting in a real 9-5 everyday just like you would in the real world.
Sound a little too different to how you imagined it? It shouldn’t. When you are your own business, you are your own workforce, customer service, finance and marketing department. In fact, even re-sellers of online products and services ideally need to be putting in an eight hour day, just to be able to get and keep a handle on their business. No orders today? In this case you should use today to market the hell out of your business whilst you have chance.
Tip 6: Log Your Own Time
Already have a great home office space? Great. The guilty secret of almost every good home worker though, is that we all procrastinate from time to time. In fact, there is a statistic which asserts that many people are only productive for 20% of their overall work time. Of course, that’s not to say everyone is lazy. Rather, we often simply let ourselves get so wrapped up in secondary business activities such as answering emails, that we only spend 20% of our time actually working. To tackle this, log your time. Set definite time aside for certain activities such as social media posting, and try and identify which kinds of secondary business activities are your most time consuming.
Tip 7: Make Sure To Make Time For Yourself Every Day
Impending deadlines, bottom feeders, sudden logistical problems, for many women in the home workplace, there is hardly time left in the evening for grocery shopping or taking time out with friends and family. However, making time for personal time is hugely important. Working flat out now only to burn out later, isn’t after all, going to do you or your business any favors. Even more importantly though, by putting a definite time on when your work day starts and finishes, you will find that when unforeseen situations do occur, you will have the ability to take time back from your personal time in order to fix these.
How about you though? Have you got any even better home business time management tips? If you have, think about sharing them in the comments section below.