Time Management: Can you manage time? You cannot. You can only manage yourself and your use of time.
I can see you now. You’re shaking your head and saying that’s not true. Each of us CAN manage time by being judicious with our use of time!
And I would agree with you on the latter part of that thought. How WE use our time is the critical factor.
Time Management Is Really Life Management
Each of us gets the same 168 hours each week, yet some people seem to get an inordinate amount of work done in those hours, without working 18 hours per day. On the other hand, there are others who always seem to be working but get a lot less done.
What creates the vast difference in results? Do those who accomplish what they set out to do, and more, have a secret formula? Do they have certain strategies they implement that make it easier to produce results?
While I would prefer to refer to this as “YOU Management”, for the sake of clarity I’ll continue to use the term Time Management in this article and the series to follow as it makes it easier for everyone to connect with that phrase.
Brian Tracy said, “The starting point of developing good time management skills is for you to realize that time management is really life management. It is the way you take care of your most precious gift. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff that life is made of.”
Has this ever happened to you? Think back to your days in school, college, and more recently your working life – whether you work for yourself or someone else. You have a project to complete, which you knew about for three months, six weeks, a month. You keep putting it off, even though it would make sense to take advantage of a longer time frame to complete it. Now, it’s two or three days before the project is due and you realize if you don’t start NOW, it cannot possibly get done.
To your own surprise, and to the surprise of those close to you, you get it done just in time. How did that happen?
You gave it focused attention. Focus is one of the key ingredients to achieving inordinate results in a short time. What are some other factors?
We will cover several of those in this series. The main focus of these articles will be around entrepreneurs and small business owners who work online. The tips and strategies can be applied to every niche, as well as for those who work offline. Working online brings additional challenges as there are multiple distractions at the click of a mouse, or just the click of a button. It’s very easy to go off track.
In these articles, we’ll consider several ways you can start managing yourself in your use of the time you schedule for marketing on the internet. There is a direct correlation between marketing and income for internet marketers, whether you’re marketing your website, selling your service, or selling products – digital and physical.
You may not consider yourself an Internet Marketer. However, even if your main business is based offline, yet you’re trying to get people from or through the internet to your business, you are marketing online.
Step #1: Take Time to Brainstorm
If you’re just starting your business, take time to brainstorm and create a list of tasks that will help you achieve the most results in a given time.
Even if you’ve been online for a while, it may be time to step back and make this assessment. Determine what are the most important activities you should be engaging in, on a regular basis.
Remember that brainstorming includes planning, which has been described as ‘a pivotal role in time management.’
Decide on tasks: Imagine that this is a small sample of a list you created after you ask yourself how you’d like to market today:
- Update my website or blog. Fill in gaps that offer better customer service
- Submit my latest blog post to various sites online like LinkedIn and Medium
- Schedule and deliver a Facebook Live
- Purchase some ads on Facebook or Google to drive more visitors to my free webinar
Once you’ve written that list, you’ve only just begun.
Set priorities: Next, you’ll want to create a to-do list or a detailed schedule. To get started, prioritize. If working for yourself, as opposed to a client, you have more freedom. It’s best to start with the tasks you know will work. For example, will submitting your blog to sites like LinkedIn and Medium be more effective in your case than using Twitter to generate traffic to your website?
Set time limits: When creating your schedule, use blocks of time. For example, 9 am to 10 am can be used for writing and submitting one blog post. This gives you one hour to do the task. Yes, it does apply pressure, but a time limit can also serve as a source of motivation. Do this with each of the tasks you need to accomplish. Be reasonable about your limits. The goal is to make them achievable, not to overwork yourself and create undue stress. That will only slow down your progress.
Stay organized: When you’re unorganized you get less done. To improve the use of your time, it’s important to get and stay organized. Make sure you’re working in a clean and professional environment, even if only working from a laptop at your kitchen table.
If you’re brand new to marketing, and marketing on the internet, you may not have all the answers, although it would be fair to assume that you’ve done some research. This is why the next step is so important. In fact, it’s a challenge to decide whether this should, in fact, be your first step.
How Highly Successful People Manage Their Time
Say no to everything that doesn’t support your immediate goals…
Fact: “41% of items that people put on their to-do list are never done”.
Step #2: Set Business Goals
In order to get your new business off to a great start, you must be very clear about your goals. Or, if you’ve been in business for a while yet have not achieved the results you’ve worked towards, it could be that there has been some lack of clarity around your goals and the vision you have for your business.
Mindset: One of the things that negatively impact entrepreneurs and small business owners is negative beliefs such as, lack of self-confidence, poor self-esteem, and a lack of self-worth.
All of these can hold you back from taking the empowering steps you need to take to achieve your goals. They also cause you to spend time second-guessing yourself rather than taking action. If you fail to control or stop your internal negative dialogue, you could have business goals, that are achievable, yet you sometimes end up talking yourself out of them. At times, these very things would be successful if you stuck with them.
Self-improvement goal: Consider having a self-improvement goal as part of your business goals. Self-improvement will strengthen the other areas of your goal setting. Get a mentor or a coach who has the experience in the areas of self-confidence, self-esteem or creating a new mindset around achieving success in business.
Income goal: You must set income goals and keep track of everything. The most basic is having monthly, quarterly and annual income goals. If you want to be a high functioning, successful entrepreneur, think about tracking everything daily in a special spreadsheet. You could have a daily income goal and keep track of every dollar that comes in and what you spend on your business daily.
Know When to Outsource
Outsourcing isn’t always an easy option when it comes to internet marketing, as it does cost money.
This is especially true when you’re just getting started and you may be bootstrapping.
Here’s the thing. You could waste a lot of time trying to do something yourself that ends up being the proverbial ‘penny wise and pound foolish.’
When I first started my online business in the fall of 2008, I knew nothing about landing pages, or as they’re sometimes called – opt-in pages, but I was told I needed to create one. I got a sample of one, worked diligently on it, using skills from the design course I took in college, spent hours on it, and it still looked homemade. In addition, I knew nothing about FTP, so even after spending hours creating my homemade looking landing page, I did not know how to get it up on the web for the world to have access.
Fortunately, my new mentor had someone who created these pages in HTML and he did a beautiful job. My investment was $50 for each but it was well worth it because I now had a beautiful landing page (and later pages) to invite people to become my subscribers.
You may feel that you do not have the money to hire others, and I totally get it. You may also find, however, that by outsourcing something you do not know how to do or do not enjoy doing, you’re freeing yourself to spend time doing the things that bring you joy, and may even make you more money.
Avoid Wasting Time
How tragic it is to find that an entire lifetime is wasted in pursuit of distractions while purpose is neglected.
― Sunday Adelaja
The biggest time waster when it comes to internet marketing is the internet. Yes, this seems ironic, but it’s true. There are lots of things to do on the computer and online.
Therefore, it’s easy to get distracted and waste time.
Set rules for yourself and if you have to, pretend that you’re working for a very strict boss who watches everything you do and will deduct money from your salary for any infraction. Not too far-fetched either, because in essence, when you allow distractions to get the better of you, it cuts down on your productivity time and results, including your income.
Here are some examples of things to avoid. Decide that you will not check your personal email, chat with friends on Facebook, not play games, and no surfing for funny videos on YouTube while you’re working. The internet is a great source of entertainment, but not when you should be working.
Another strategy you may need to work on as much as I have had to is to have specific times when you check your emails. It’s very easy to open your emails with the thought that you’re just going to scan your inbox to see if there’s anything urgent and get caught up with checking out a catchy title from one of your favorite people you like to hear from.
According to a University of California-Irvine Study every time you get interrupted by the sound of a new email in your inbox and you take just a couple of seconds to look at it, it takes you 20 minutes to become absorbed again in what you were doing.
Even more startling is an article, “Emails hurt IQ more than pot,” which suggests that checking email frequently results in a drop of 10 points in your IQ.
While I have no way of verifying how scientific this latter research is, the overarching theme is emails are distractions that should be kept under control so that you manage your time more effectively.
In this post we covered two steps you can take to manage how you use time:
Step #1: Take time to brainstorm what needs to be done and have systems and a structure in place to manage those activities.
Step #2: Set business goals that include personal development and income goals.
We also discussed times-wasters like trying to do everything yourself when it may be more cost-effective to outsource certain tasks. Also covered were other distractions like non-essential activities online during the time allocated for work and frequency of checking emails.
Which of these resonated with you most? Did you see any area where you could begin to manage your use of time more effectively? If so, please take action to start managing your use of time.
Yvonne A Jones is a Personal Business Coach/Relationship Marketing Strategist who works with highly motivated entrepreneurs and professionals 50 and Wiser. She helps them eliminate limiting beliefs so they create a business they love or fall in love again with the business they created, make more money, and have FUN in their business.
Claim your copy of “Fifty and Wiser: 5 Common Reasons Passion to Profit Business Fail and What to Do Instead” at https://50andwisercoaching.com/commonreasons.html