1. Create a designated work space. If you have a separate room that you can turn into an office, great! If not, no worries, just make a space in a corner of a room that is ONLY for your business. Make sure the space is clutter free and free of any other things that will distract you. This setting will instantly put you in an efficient state of mind. When you have a designated work space, you can also figure the square footage for that area and use it as a tax write off for portions of your mortgage/rent, utilities, internet, etc. One of the many perks of having a home business.
2. Schedule your time. It is VERY easy to waste your day away. By the time you’ve made yourself a cup of coffee, checked your e-mail, returned some calls and socialized on Facebook, it’s often time for lunch. That’s why it’s important to develop a daily schedule to organize your time. How you structure your schedule doesn’t matter as long as it works for you! When you are setting this schedule you want to account for time you’ll spend speaking to potential business, for training calls, for your team members, family and personal time. When you don’t have a schedule, it is easy to get overwhelmed. What do I need to do? What do I do first? It’s very easy to get to the end of the day and not truly get anything done. The fact is, you cannot be productive when you are overwhelmed. It’s hard to implement your passion when you are in that state of mind. Take the first 15-20 minutes of every day to plan your day. You should never start your day not knowing what you want to have achieved by the end of it. Make a plan. Even a simple post it note with a few things you’d like to accomplish will work!
3. Determine what part of the day you have the most energy and feel the most productive. Then schedule the things that have to get done during that time. If you’re a morning person, for example, you may want to hit the phones first thing in the morning and start calling potential business.
4. Create a to-do list. It’s important to write down your goals for the day, week and month. Not only will you get more done, but you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment every time you check off a task on your to-do list. Prioritize your to do list. Put it in number order, or put stars next to the most important things, highlight, whatever works for you. You can list the “have to get dones” and the “like to get dones”. A to-do list sounds like such a simple idea. But it’s one that is frequently ignored and one that makes ALL the difference in the success of your day. On the days I create a to-do list and stick to it, I am unstoppable. I get so much done. And I feel proud at the end of the day!
5. Focus on what you’re doing. When you’re working on your to do list, do one thing at a time. It will increase your concentration and you will be more effective. Your value will increase and your business will grow! Focus only on what you’re doing. Don’t think about everything else you need to be doing. God knows I’ve been guilty of that. When I’m doing chores, I’m thinking I should be working, when I’m working, I’m thinking about the chores that need to get done. Schedule your time, create blocks of time that are dedicated to only completing the task at hand. So that you don’t feel guilty.
6. Stop checking your email every five minutes. This is a huge time waster and distraction. But we’re drawn to “new”, it’s human nature. It makes us feel good and important. Ignore it when you’re working on something. Every time you check your email when you’re in the middle of working on something else, it pulls your focus from what you were working on and you lose time trying to get back to that task. It will have your mind wandering here, there and everywhere. If you’re working on something important, turn off your email so the dings of new emails coming in don’t distract you. For example, as I was writing these tips, I shut my email down. Try to limit the amount of times you check your emails to 3-5 times a day. It’s very hard to stick to that especially in the smartphone world we live in these days. And I know I check my email many more times than that on some days. But make sure that the number of times you are checking your email per day is not pulling you from the task you are scheduled to be doing at that time.
7. Eliminate Distractions. The TV, Facebook, Instagram, Candy Crush, all those things that pull us away from our business and what needs to get done… eliminate them when you’re working your business. We all love those things for entertainment purposes, but there is a time and a place for that… and it doesn’t fit in to your work day!
8. Don’t take personal calls. Obviously we cannot turn off our phone while we are working because we are expecting calls from potential business. However, screen your calls during your work hours. If a friend is calling and you know it’s just to chat, let it go to voice mail and call her back after work. If you were working at a job for a boss, you wouldn’t be able to take that call. Treat your business with that kind of respect and it will respect you back with the success you want and need.
9. Shut the door. This may sound obvious, but it’s hard to screen out distractions when your spouse, kids, pets and neighbors can walk into your home office any time and strike up a conversation. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up an office in a room that has a door that you can close when you need to make an important phone call or concentrate on your work. If that’s not possible, explain to your family that there are certain hours during the day when you will be working and ask them to respect your boundaries. Of course, that’s easier said than done and make take them a little time to adjust to it and take you seriously but keep telling them! One problem I have faced is my family and friends thinking that since I “work from home” that I am just sitting at home and have tons of spare time to “hang out.” I would remind them over and over again that “Yes, I do have flexibility to do things here and there WITH notice.” However, for the majority of the time, I am working and building a business just like someone who works outside of the home and I take this very seriously. It took them a while to respect it and take me seriously but now they do.
10. Log what you do. Something great that you can do is monitor what you are doing on a daily basis. Get to know what you are spending your time on and work on improving and becoming more productive. Logging what you do will make a huge difference. It’s much more effective than just floundering around and letting hours go by without getting anything done. I’ve defintiely fallen victim to that. When I log what I do, I am much more productive. You don’t want to go through the day half unconscious and all over the place and espcecially you don’t want to get to the end of the day and not know what you did. You’ll just feel exhausted and overwhelmed. And that will not create success. Great thing about logging what you do is that you can find out where you are wasting your time, where you’re confusing activity with accomplishment. You will learn that as you log what you do, you will learn your numbers. How many ads it takes to generate the leads you need, How many presentations it takes to enroll an IBO or member, any successful person knows their numbers. If you asked any top leader within Ameriplan about their numbers, I bet they could give them to you. Log all of it. It will help you with goal setting. For example, if I wanted to have 20 enrollments during September, I could tell you how many presentations I will need to make because I track my numbers. Any successful person knows their numbers, they know what they’re passionate about, they know what they need to spend their time on on a daily basis.
11. Multi-Task. When you’re working at home and you’re talking to someone else who wants to work from home, it’s good that you can walk around your house and talk to them while you are picking up toys and things. I’ve cleaned my whole house while talking to prospects! And it’s even okay if they hear you helping your kids because THEY want to work from home and if they hear your kids in the background, you can use that to your advantage. I love to incorporate my kids into my presentation if they are around. Some people like to purchase a headset to help with multi-tasking or some are comfortable just carrying the phone around the old fashioned way like me.
12. Work in 30 minute blocks. It’s very easy to flounder around and just do whatever comes to mind at any give moment. Don’t allow yourself to operate that way. Pick an activity and give yourself a 30 minute block of time where you ONLY focus on that one activity. Turn everything else off (TV, Facebook, etc.) and just focus on that one activity. I do this with responding to emails. I will sit down and say “I am going to sit here and answer emails for 30 full minutes and not do anything else.” I keep my eye on the clock to make sure I’m staying on schedule. You could also set a timer for this. I find myself being very effective with my time and getting more done by working in these 30 minute blocks.
13. Ask someone to watch your kids. This is GREAT when you schedule your spouse or a family member to watch the kids so you can get some work done without distractions. You can also talk with some of the other moms in the neighborhood to see if they want to swap out some play days. You can have her kids over and then on another day send your kids over there so you can get some REAL good work in.
14. Ask for help. This can be a tough one for a lot of people, myself included. But you shouldn’t have to do it all… ALL the time (cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, building your business)… delegate some tasks to your family members that will free up some of your time. For example, have your teenage daughter do the dishes, have your spouse make dinner one night, carpool with a mom to your kid’s activities, etc. When we ask for help, and get it, we can be more productive, be happier and reach our goals a lot faster.
15. Use technology. One of the most beautiful things about this age we are living in now is all the technology we have at our finger tips. Texting, Instant Messaging, Facebook, phone apps… use these to help you save time with communicating with people and with your time management organization. For example, in your business, make sure all your team members know they can access you by these methods. A text to answer a quick question is much more effective than a 30 minute phone conversation. If you have a smartphone, look into getting an app that will help you with creating a schedule and to-do lists and set up reminders for things you need to get done. There are tons of them out there and most of them are free.
16. Team Calls. Attending team calls is a huge time saver for everyone. We have a VERY large team. And we all have the same questions and need to learn the same stuff. Jumping on these calls and us all learning together is a huge time saver. For example, imagine a leader on this team who has 30 team members… all 30 of them need to learn prospecting tips. But instead of that leader calling each one of them explaning 30 minutes of prospecting tips, all 30 of those team members can jump on a team call about prospecting tips. Then after, contact their enroller with quick questions. This is not only a huge time saver for the leader but also for the 30 team members so they can focus on getting into action. Also, on our team site at www.careerandfreedom.homestead.com, there are recorded calls for every topic pertaining to this business on the Weekly Calls page. Use that. Bookmark it. Listen to the calls yourself and direct your team members there when they have a question about a specific topic.
17. Our team’s Facebook page and Group. Another time saver. We are all there asking and answering questions all day everyday. You can get your questions answered there and your team members can as well. If you are not a member of our private Facebook Group, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you an email invite to join the group. We also have a team page at www.facebook.com/careerandfreedom.
18. Wake up 15 minutes earlier than you need to every morning. This is such a simple tip that will make ALL the difference in the tone of your day. You can take 15 minutes each morning to enjoy the peace and quiet before your busy day starts. I personally like to take this time to have coffee and listen to personal development. It starts my day off in a great way. Give it a try, you’ll notice a difference in your days.
19. Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy and exercise regularly. This will make a huge overall difference in your energy level, attitude, ability to learn new things, how you treat people and how you handle obstacles.
20. Give yourself time to create an efficient routine. Good time management requires discipline and commitment. It’s truly an artform that takes time and energy to master. But it’s an amazing process. You will find that you will think better, work better, you will develop a higher self esteem.
A successful business all starts with good time management. Make it your goal to become a master of your time and everything around you will grow!!