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How to Schedule Your Success

Dec 7, 2007
Many people would love to own their own home-based business. They want to work their own hours and choose whom they work with at what times. The reality is that not many of these people take the time to make sure they have the right tools to set up a successful home-based business. They aren't sure exactly what to do or how to plan their time accordingly. They think it will be far easier than it will be and don't think about the groundwork.

The first problem facing most new home-based business entrepreneurs is a lack of discipline when it comes to scheduling. They don't plan out their work days properly and can end up either under-working or overworking.

Under-working is easy to do. You might intend to add to your new website or put auction listings on ebay but you think you'll have a browse first or send some emails. Something else might catch your attention online and you'll have a look at that too. Before you know it, you've spend the whole day wasting your time on the internet and you have not done any work. This is not good news for your business or your bank account and it is easy to do because you don't have a supervisor standing over you or anyone to tell you to do your job.

Overworking is the opposite end of this problem but just as bad for business. People working a 9 to 5 job tend to begin and 9AM and leave at 5PM, more or less. A lot of people working from home think they should work until they drop and have no concept of planning their time properly. If you spend all your time working, it is easy to become exhausted and then you start to make mistakes because of tiredness and resent your business.

The solution is to plan your day. Be disciplined when doing this. You should write down what you have to accomplish every day and how long you will work on each task. Include downtime in this list - time for your family, exercise, relaxation and anything else you want to fit into the day. You are building a home-based business to improve your lifestyle, not become the richest person in the cemetery!

You must be specific when making your daily plans and goals. Don't just put "work on project x" - what does that mean? How do you "work on" something? You need to be more definite, such as "write an article on desk lamps for project x", then you know exactly what you have to do. You can "work on project x" for years and feel like you will never finish. You can write the article and then it's done. You can tick that item off your list and feel good that you have accomplished something.

If you are working in marketing, try to farm out as much as the non-marketing work as you can afford to. If you are selling products or services, you might want to hire someone to build and maintain your website. You can also outsource mailing, bookkeeping and more. The money you spend should free up a lot of your time.

Try to be realistic when planning your day. If you are still working your day job, you should schedule that from the time you wake up in the morning until the time you get home. Include commute time. Plan your evening too. Don't schedule a four hour task in one hour. It won't work and will just leave you feeling frustrated. If you have large tasks, break them up into smaller ones and schedule your time accurately. This will make you feel you have accomplished more in the long run and encourage you to keep going.

Multi-tasking might be the latest buzzword but it can kill productivity. Aim to do one thing at once. You can work on more than one thing in the day but try to just work on one project at once. It can be very difficult if you work on more than one task. You can't divide your attention equally between everything. When you have completed one task, move on to the next.

You need to be a bit flexible when scheduling. There are going to be interruptions, more so at home. You might be engrossed in working on a new project when the phone rings or the baby starts to cry. Make allowances for this. There will be things you can't plan for.

It is a good idea to plan how long you think a task will take and then add on about 10% to give you an extra time cushion. Then if you have time left at the end of the day, you can do some work on tomorrow's tasks. If not, it doesn't matter. It is a kind of bonus.

Sometimes you won't finish your schedule, no matter how well you plan it. This happens to everybody and what you do then is just revise the following day's schedule to include anything you missed today. Don't worry about things not getting done. Just keep moving forward. If you keep missing deadlines, you will need to look at your scheduling because you are probably not being realistic about what you can do in a certain amount of time.

With some planning and effort, it will be easy to balance your new business with your home life and schedule your way to success. It might take a little practice in the beginning but will become second nature very soon.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of Be Successful News , a site that provides information and articles on how to succeed in your own home or small business.
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