I was going to say a Million times more productive in the title but I thought that might be exaggerating a little. Using this time management strategy is at least a Thousand times more productive though! Give it a try and you might find it to be a billion times more productive if all you currently do is browse the Internet and waste your days away 😉
For me, one of the hardest parts of being an entrepreneur and working for myself is FOCUS. My usual day was to turn on the computer and just start with whatever took my fancy. I would continue this strategy throughout the day and then discover that I really didn’t get very much done at all, even if it seemed like I was busy all day.
That was until I started taking time management more seriously. Having a plan and sticking to it has made my working days so much more productive.
The concept is so simple that I put off implementing it for weeks because I didn’t think it would make much difference. But oh how wrong I was!
It’s like a hired 5 new workers and it’s all because I got focused and now keep my focus throughout the day. I’ve tried “to do lists” but would always feel crap at the end of the day when I saw how many actual jobs were left undone.
This new method I now use is all about time. So as long as I put the time in I succeed and feel great at the end of the day. Even if I don’t finish a particular job for the day I know I did my best as I put the time in. The timer tells me I was successful as I was focused on that job for an hour (or whatever time you decide to give to each task).
Time Management for Internet Entrepreneurs
Here’s my supercharged time management strategy in 3 easy steps.
- Divide your tasks into 3 to 5 categories.
- Decide how much time you will spend on it each day.
- Record it and stick to it religiously, everyday.
One | Get very clear about what your most important tasks are and divide them into at least 3 categories. Make them specific enough so that you know exactly what you’re focusing on but don’t make them so specific that you end up with more than 5 categories.
Define each category and write down what you will and won’t do while working on it. If Social Media Marketing is one of your categories then obviously updating your family Facebook account is NOT a part of this task.
You could even create a category that does include time wasting tasks like personal social media and watching Youtube videos that are not educational. That way you can stick to the time allotted and then stop once it’s up.
Your categories will change over time with your business but make sure that most of your tasks grow and improve your business. At least one category will make you uncomfortable as growth is never comfortable. Just keep slaying it everyday!
Two | This will depend on the amount of hours you can give to your business each day but don’t max it out. So if you work full time at your business and you decide that 8 hours of focused work each day is what you do then only use up 6 of those hours. Whatever the number is it HAS to be achievable every day without fail, no excuses and you don’t sleep until you finish every single second!
This has to be a habit that rewards you on all levels and it’s not going to be rewarding if you continually fail to achieve your objective.
If you decide that 6 hours of focused work is comfortable for you and you finish them early it doesn’t mean you have to stop for the day. Just keep rotating back through your task categories until you’ve had enough for the day. The important thing is that you have completed the focused 6 hours of work.
Three | This is the part where you keep track of it all. Be very honest about what you do or don’t do and keep a journal to show your progress over time.
The best way I have found to keep track of my progress throughout the day is with the online timer over at Time and Date dot com.
At the start of each day I will create a timer for my Five categories. Four of them are 1 hour each and one of them is 2 hours, totaling 6 hours of focused work everyday.
Go over to their Free online timer here to have a look.
I label each new timer and put in the time for each task. Then in the top right hand corner you’ll see a drop down menu, just change it to Manual. This allows you to stop and start each individual timer whenever you want.
So when you start working on a task, press start on the timer and get to work! I set a Beep x 2 alarm to go off when the timer is up.
Once your time is up, make sure you move onto your next task, even if you’re half way through a job. One, it’ll keep you on track to finish all of your tasks and two, it’ll develop discipline. If it’s something really important then come back to it AFTER you have finished all of your other categories.
I’ve never paid time management much attention as the topic bored me to tears. I’m an artist by nature and don’t like restrictions of any kind.
But since I started this method a month or so ago I have seen my focus and productivity skyrocket! Just try it for a week and see how much more you get done each day.
Don’t complicate it and don’t set your hours too high. Make it very do-able and make sure every minute is focused on that category when you click play on the timer.
If you get a phone call or you get a visitor then stop the timer immediately.
Choose your categories wisely and focus, focus focus. These new focused hours will be worth 10 of your old unfocused hours! Try it, I dare you! Start today.
Update: I ended up going into more detail with the categories and tasks that I use at the moment. See more at my Time Management Tips article here.