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There's Never Enough Time!

May 19, 2008
Home business owners often complain that there's never enough time to get their work done.

The fact is, there are 24 hours in each day, and that's just the way it is. That is something we cannot change. What we can change is our attitude to the time we have available.

Time really only exists in our own mind. It was man who created seconds, minutes, hours, days etc. Time is a subjective thing; and our own personal feelings about it change depending on our mood. It can be swift, slow, boring, stressful or valuable; we talk about the best of times, the worst times, the good old times.

If time is man-made and subjective, then we can control the way we experience it. In order to manage time effectively you need to be in control.

Creating your own time management system will produce results. Why not finish the day feeling satisfied, rather than with lots of unfinished tasks that leave you frustrated.

Here are a few tips on setting up a time management system to suit you.

1. Analyse Your Current Situation

What's working at the moment? What are the things that are getting done? What's not working? What are you putting off? What are you struggling with? Make a list of everything that works well and a list of things that could be improved.

2. Visualize

Visualize yourself getting all those things done that are currently a problem. Who are you being when you are efficient? What is happening that enables you to get those tasks done? What is in place that is missing in your current situation?

3. Prioritize

Now, make a list of all those tasks that are swirling around in your head. Sort them into those that need to be done daily, weekly or monthly, so you have three separate lists.

Give each task a number between 1 and 10 according to its urgency. There should now only be a few tasks that need to be done immediately. These are the things you will do first in your next work session.

Once you have written down your tasks, you will find that you mind is more at ease because they are no longer swimming around in your head.

4. Focus

Do you leap from one thing to another without really completing anything? You are not alone. However, this does not lead to a happy work experience and will leave you feeling exhausted and dissatisfied.

When you write your daily to-do list, give yourself a realistic time schedule for each task. Then carry out each task within that schedule, and do not think about anything else while you are doing it.

If you find you are not getting the task done within your set time, you just need to adjust the time you need for that task. It's not good trying to do it faster, you'll just feel stressed and unhappy, which in the end is counter-productive.

5. Be decisive

When you are aware that you have a decision to make, allocate a time to think about it, and use an online forum to share your ideas and ask questions. Do not let it interfere with your current task. Once you have made your decision you need to make sure that you write down any action required in your to-do list, within its appropriate category and given its priority number.

6. Eliminate Distractions

Distractions can be the worst enemy of good time management. Being at home means you are vulnerable to non-business interruptions, such as the telephone, the neighbors, the children, pets, housework, cooking etc. We have all experienced these when we are trying to get work done at home.

You are in control, not your telephone, your friends, your family or your dog. If too many of your phone calls are not business, take charge. Explain to your callers, your friends and family that between certain hours you are Working. They need to understand that although you are at home, you are still unavailable. Even pets can learn the times when they can call on your attention and when they can't. Set up a routine and a dog or cat will get to know the times when you are ready to feed them, walk them or play.

7. Evaluate

Constantly keep track of how you are doing. If there are still tasks that are not getting done by their deadlines, you need to re-evaluate and see what can be improved. It may be just a matter of being more realistic about your working speed. Or perhaps you could get up half an hour earlier. Are you checking your emails too often and getting distracted by answering them straight away?

How we spend and experience the hours we have in our day is ultimately our choice. Every second goes to make up our lifetime experience, so make sure that each is a happy one. Ask yourself constantly, am I doing something I am passionate about? Do my goals fit in with my values? Do I believe in what I am doing?

After all, it is your life and your time. Don't waste it in frustration and fear, or telling yourself there's never enough time. There is always enough time. Enjoy each moment while you work towards your goals.
About the Author
Ros Bott is a writer, life coach and home business owner.

For Ros's life coaching service, go to Career & Confidence Coaching
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