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Time Is On My Mind August 21, 2009

Posted by gsbusinessresources in GS Business Resources, time management.
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Time seems to be a recurring theme in my life lately. After my post on Monday, the theme of time kept coming up this week. For instance:

I was speaking to a potential client yesterday. While he wants to begin sending an electronic newsletter to his clients, and is interested in talking about ways he can use social media he said, “I just don’t have time right now to work on this. Maybe in a week or two.”

Schedules change, and he may be right that in a week or so the will have time to deal with this. But I also think that by spending time now,  he will save himself a lot more time in the future . I reassured him that I saw my role as getting this set up and running with as little time from him as possible, then taking over as much as I could to keep the projects running smoothly without a huge time commitment from him..

The concept of time cropped up again in the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur blog. In a post about why now is the right time to begin your own business, 81 people gave their reason for this. (Including one by yours truly – I’m #72!) Read through them and you’ll see a central theme emerge – taking control of one’s life/work, and ultimately, taking control of how one’s time is spent. Unless a way is discovered to travel through time, we only get to go through this life once: make sure you spend your time in ways that matter to you.

And how is my time management system going after four days? In spite of quite a few bumps in the road, it is going well. The worksheet is helping keep me on track, and I am actually focusing on what has to be done each day, and getting it done. I am discovering, however, that I need a lot of adaptability to my schedule. I may plan to work for a two hour period, and I may know what I’m want to work on, but “stuff” keeps coming up that delays it. However, because I am so focused on what must be done that day, I can shift things around and accommodate it all. I know there will be more adapting and tweaking involved, but so far I am very pleased.

And now, I believe it is time for me to close! If you have any thoughts on time – how to manage it, how quickly it is passing, even how to keep track of it for billing, please leave a comment.

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Focusing on Time August 17, 2009

Posted by gsbusinessresources in Biz Resources, GS Business Resources, time management.
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If you check this blog with any regularity, you noticed that I never got a post up last week.

Bad, very bad.

One of my goals is  to make regular posts, and I am pleased that I have been getting up 1-2 each week. I even drafted a post to go up early last week, but I never got back to it.

Now, I can blame my schedule, but I knew what was coming, so it wasn’t any surprise; I just never planned for it. Instead of editing the post last weekend, I did client work, got my son ready to go back to school, and took it easy. Taking a break was a very good thing, but I believe I could have done that AND gotten the blog post done, if I had managed my time better.

Time management is one of my issues, or perhaps it is the lack of time management. It is an area I need to focus on to grow my business, and as of last Thursday, I need to focus harder than ever.

Thursday morning I received word that funding for my position was a bit iffy for 2010. This did not surprise me, but having it told to me made it very real. I’ve been looking at taking GS Business Resources full-time, and this might be just the opportunity. I spent the next several hours rolling that around in my head, thinking how I’d spend the next 4 1/2 months growing my business, saving money, etc.

Then, mid-afternoon I got another phone call. The funding that was expected for the rest of this year had been sent in 2008 – and spent then. So, the money isn’t coming, and the organization doesn’t have any extra to cover it.

Wow.

While this is certainly scary, it may actually be the kick that I need to go after my dreams. And in order to do that, I HAVE to get myself organized and manage my time much better.So where do I begin? First, I went to Christine Kane’s Uplevel Your Business blog and watched the video and downloaded the daily schedule worksheet. Just watching the video gave me enthusiasm to start planning each and every day. I’ve started using the worksheet for each day this week, and while I like the structure it gives me, I know I’m going to have to tweak it some.

There is a part of me that resists being told to do something at a certain time; I want to have flexibility in my schedule. But I know that I need more structure as well. The more I hear about time management, the more I believe that giving myself an outline to my day is actually going to free up my creativity. I know when something is going to be worked on, so I don’t have to think or worry about it. And since I am setting my daily schedule, I can adjust it as needed (as I’ve already done several times on my first day – my printer stopped talking to my desktop computer this afternoon, so I’ve spent 3 hours trying to make them work together. Will need to schedule time tomorrow to go buy another printer.)

Next, I am going to order Time Management In An Instant by Karen Leland and Keith Bailey. I was part of the blog tour for the book’s launch, and in reading through various articles and blog posts Karen has written on time management, I know she understands the issues I face, and has practical solutions to meet them.

With each day, I believe I’m going to get a better sense of how to plan my day – what time of day I do some things better than others, where I tend to get off track, and where I need to allow more time. Look for an update in the next week or two to see what is working for me.

I am curious to know what tips and tricks you use to manage your time. Everyone thinks and works differently, but you never know when a method you developed can benefit someone else. Please post a comment and share your secrets!

Multi-Tasking August 7, 2009

Posted by gsbusinessresources in Biz Resources, Motivation.
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Who out there multi-tasks? I confess that I do – or at least I try to. Even in light of information (such as this article I read today) that show multi-tasking to be inefficient, I still believe I can do multiple things at once.

In looking over a typical day, however, I have discovered that there are ways I can get two things done at once without actually doing them both. While these won’t work for everyone’s situation, see if they may at least inspire you to accomplish more.

1) Wash laundry/dishes while working. Yes, I know this works only if you work from home (and works better if you have a washer and dryer in your home so you aren’t schlepping your work along with dirty clothes), but if you do, this is a great way to get multiple things done at once. Put the laundry on or start the dishwasher, then go to work. If you are really organized, pick items on your to-do list that you should be able to finish about the time the wash is.

2) Cook dinner in a slow cooker. This works whether you work at home or not. Put dinner in the slow cooker first thing in the morning, then forget about it until time to eat. I love not having to stop work to prepare dinner (since late afternoon seems to be a very productive time for me), and my home smells great all day. Need recipes? I’ve tried several from A Year of Slow Cooking, and haven’t been disappointed yet.

3) On the phone and on hold? How much time do we spend doing this? What can you do with this time? How about clean out your inbox? Don’t try to tackle any email that you have to think about and answer, but see how many can be deleted or archived. Go through and find the 2 or 3 most urgent to work on after you get off the phone. Likewise, take a paper folder or two and clean them out.  Anything you instantly know can be thrown out, do it! If you’re not sure, save it for another time when you can give it your full attention.

4) If you’re trying to sort out some complex answer and the ideas just aren’t coming, take a break from work and go outside and do some physical activity. Doesn’t have to be strenuous and it doesn’t have to be for a long period of time, but I find that going for a walk or a swim while taking my mind completely off the problem will at the least put me in a better frame of mind when I go back to it. And sometimes, solutions appear I hadn’t even thought of.

Those are some ways I’ve found to be a more efficient multi-tasker, but I’d love to have more ideas. How do you get two things done without having to work on both of them at once?

Edited 8-13-2009 – I found this article, and found it had some great tips in it. I really like the way it  looks at multi-tasking certain tasks and mono-tasking others.

Time Management In An Instant Book Review July 23, 2009

Posted by gsbusinessresources in Biz Resources.
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Time – is there ever enough of it? No matter how well I think I’ve planned my day, obstacles come up, plans have to be changed, and I have to adapt. If you work from home, you have to be even more aware of how your time is spent. A quick trip to put the laundry in the washer can become a time drain if you then proceed to unload the dishwasher, make the bed, and pick up the bathroom.

But there is help! Time Management In An Instant: 60 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Day offers expert advice and tips to help you manage your time and get more out of your days. Written by Karen Leland and Keith Bailey, the book offers (as the subtitle says!) 60 ways to help you get manage your time.

So, do they know what they are talking about? Yes, they do! Below is a video of an interview Karen did on telecommuting. For the last 6 years, I’ve telecommuted for my full-time job at least three days each week. The tips and advice Karen offers are spot on! Take a look:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Time Management In An Instant Blog Tour“, posted with vodpod

The ideas for telecommuters also apply to those who run a business from home. You have to be professional, you have to manage your time to get your work done, and sometimes, you have to prove to your client that you really do work even if you are at home.

Want some more suggestions: Karen has also written an article on The Art of Telecommuting, which offers some additional ideas for those looking for a way to work from home, and for those already there. Read through it and see what tips would help you work form home.

Special Offer: Buy a copy of Time Management In An Instant the week of July 20th and receive a free license to view the Essential Email online course. To buy the book and claim your bonus, or just to buy the book go to: http://www.quality-service.com/timemanagementinaninstant

About the authors: Karen Leland and Keith Bailey are the bestselling authors of six books including Time Management In An Instant: 60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day. They are the co-founders of Sterling Consulting Group, which helps organizations and individuals learn how to fight distraction and find their focus in a wired world. For more information please contact: kleland@scgtraining.com.

To read more reviews of the book, visit here.

For those of you who telecommute/work from home, what tips and suggestions can you offer? What has worked for you…and what hasn’t? Please leave a comment to let us know.